Vulnerability of cloud forest reserves in Mexico to climate change

Ponce-Reyes, Rocio, Reynoso-Rosales, Victor-Hugo, Watson, James E.M., VanDerWal, Jeremy, Fuller, Richard A., Pressey, Robert L., and Possingham, Hugh P. (2012) Vulnerability of cloud forest reserves in Mexico to climate change. Nature Climate Change, 2 (6). pp. 448-452.

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Tropical montane cloud forests are among the most vulnerable terrestrial ecosystems to climate change(1-3) owing to their restricted climatic requirements and their narrow and fragmented distribution(4). Although 12% of Mexican cloud forest is protected, it is not known whether reserves will ensure the persistence of the ecosystem and its endemic species under climate change. Here, we show that 68% of Mexico's cloud forest could vanish by 2080 because of climate change and more than 90% of cloud forest that is protected at present will not be climatically suitable for that ecosystem in 2080. Moreover, if we assume unprotected forests are cleared, 99% of the entire ecosystem could be lost through a combination of climate change and habitat loss, resulting in the extinction of about 70% of endemic cloud forest vertebrate species. Immediate action is required to minimize this loss-expansion of the protected-area estate in areas of low climate vulnerability is an urgent priority. Our analysis indicates that one key area for immediate protection is the Sierra de Juarez in Oaxaca. This area supports many endemic species and is expected to retain relatively large fragments of cloud forest despite rapid climate change.

Item ID: 22291
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1758-6798
Keywords: biodiversity and ecosystems, biological sciences, biology, conservation, decision making, ecology, forestry, policy
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2012 09:33
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 100%
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