Species‐level correlates of land‐use responses and climate‐change sensitivity in terrestrial vertebrates

Etard, A. & Newbold, T. (2023). Species‐level correlates of land‐use responses and climate‐change sensitivity in terrestrial vertebrates. Conservation Biology e14208. 10.1111/cobi.14208.

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Land-use and climate change are two major pressures on terrestrial biodiversity. Species’ extinction risk and responses to human pressures have been shown to relate to ecological traits and other characteristics in some clades. However, we lack large-scale comparative assessments of the associations between traits and responses to multiple human pressures, across multiple clades. Here, we investigated whether a set of ecological characteristics that are commonly measured across terrestrial vertebrates (ecological traits and geographical range area) are associated with: (1) species’ responses to different land-use types; and (2) species’ likely sensitivity to climate change (based on properties of their realized climatic niche). Our aim was to test whether generalisable patterns in response to these pressures arise across both pressures and across vertebrate clades, which could help to assess the global signature of human pressures on vertebrate biodiversity, and to guide conservation efforts. Among the characteristics we considered, only three were consistently associated with strong land-use responses and high climate-change sensitivity across terrestrial vertebrate classes: narrow geographical range area, narrow habitat breadth and specialisation on natural habitats. The associations of other traits with species’ land-use responses and with climate-change sensitivity often depended on class and land-use type, highlighting an important degree of context dependency. In all classes, invertebrate eaters and fruit/nectar eaters tended to be negatively affected in disturbed land uses, while invertebrate- and plant/seed-eating birds were estimated to be more sensitive to climate change, raising concerns about the continuation of ecological processes sustained by these species under global changes. Our work highlights a consistently higher sensitivity for narrowly distributed species and habitat specialists under land-use and climate change, which provides support for capturing such characteristics in large-scale vulnerability assessments.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation (BEC)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2024 13:01
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2024 12:47
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/19404

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