New Audubon Research Reveals Discrepancies in Conservation Planning Strategies

NEW YORK (November 2, 2022) – Researchers on the Nationwide Audubon Society printed a examine that evaluated completely different approaches to climate-informed chicken conservation in the US. Utilizing knowledge from Audubon’s Survival by Levels report, researchers in contrast two extensively used conservation planning strategies and decided that they establish completely different precedence areas, with solely 40 p.c consensus on common throughout species teams. Revealed in Ecography, the examine affords vital insights on the right way to strategically preserve extra pure habitats that may assist birds adapt to a altering local weather now and sooner or later.

“Birds inform us that they want extra protected areas to assist them survive, and it’s important that these pure habitats help a range of species with a wide selection of wants and shifting ranges over time,” stated Lotem Taylor, major creator of the examine and GIS and knowledge science specialist at Audubon. “We all know that pure areas can assist defend birds and other people alike from the dangerous results of local weather change. By understanding that completely different planning approaches establish completely different precedence areas, we will be sure that the strategies used higher match conservation objectives.”

The researchers used chicken distributions and land cowl projections to check precedence areas derived from two extensively used conservation planning strategies: in situ macrorefugia, recognized as areas of excessive predicted species retention, and complementarity-based optimizations, recognized utilizing conservation planning software program. The examine checked out 557 chicken species throughout 17 biogeographical teams within the continental U.S., and planning strategies had been in contrast based mostly on 16 metrics regarding biodiversity worth, local weather change publicity, habitat traits, panorama configuration and safety standing. 

Outcomes confirmed that:

  • Spatial distributions of precedence areas differed by biogeographical group and methodology, with solely 40.5% consensus on common throughout teams.
  • Optimizations represented species extra effectively than macrorefugia, particularly for forest teams, and had better general biodiversity worth and higher habitat situation.
  • Macrorefugia encompassed greater elevations and bigger contiguous patches and had been anticipated to expertise much less winter-season warming.

Based mostly on the outcomes, researchers advocate utilizing optimizations to establish conservation areas the place potential as a result of this network-based strategy can assist make sure that all at-risk chicken species are represented. In geographies the place sources are restricted or consensus between completely different prioritization approaches is excessive, they advocate defending the consensus areas since methodology settlement supplies elevated confidence of their capacity to guard birds below local weather change. This deeper understanding of conservation planning can assist make sure that the precedence areas recognized to attain area-based targets just like the 30×30 initiative can truly meet conservation objectives. 

In accordance with Audubon’s 2019 report Survival By Levels: 389 Species on the Brink, local weather change threatens greater than two-thirds of North America’s chicken species with extinction. Nonetheless, the identical science means that by limiting international warming to 1.5 levels Celsius, greater than three-quarters of susceptible species may be protected. Audubon’s 2021 Pure Local weather Options Report offered a scientific framework to assist deal with this existential risk and confirmed that habitats which can be vital for birds now and sooner or later are additionally important to lowering greenhouse emissions given their capacity to naturally retailer and sequester carbon.

The brand new examine is obtainable right here:

About Audubon
The Nationwide Audubon Society protects birds and the locations they want, immediately and tomorrow. Audubon works all through the Americas utilizing science, advocacy, schooling, and on-the-ground conservation. State packages, nature facilities, chapters, and companions give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches tens of millions of individuals annually to tell, encourage, and unite various communities in conservation motion. A nonprofit conservation group since 1905, Audubon believes in a world by which individuals and wildlife thrive. Be taught extra at and on Fb, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

Media Contact:
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