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Predicting range shifts of African apes under global change scenarios

Carvalho, JS; Graham, B; Bocksberger, G; Maisels, F; Williamson, EA; Wich, S; Sop, T; ... Kuehl, HS; + view all (2021) Predicting range shifts of African apes under global change scenarios. Diversity and Distributions 10.1111/ddi.13358. Green open access

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Aim: Modelling African great ape distribution has until now focused on current or past conditions, while future scenarios remain scarcely explored. Using an ensemble forecasting approach, we predicted changes in taxon-specific distribution under future scenarios of climate, land use and human populations for (1) areas outside protected areas (PAs) only (assuming complete management effectiveness of PAs), (2) the entire study region and (3) interspecies range overlap. Location: Tropical Africa. Methods: We compiled occurrence data (n = 5,203) on African apes from the IUCN A.P.E.S. database and extracted relevant climate-, habitat- and human-related predictors representing current and future (2050) conditions to predict taxon-specific range change under a best- and a worst-case scenario, using ensemble forecasting. Results The predictive performance of the models varied across taxa. Synergistic interactions between predictors are shaping African ape distribution, particularly human-related variables. On average across taxa, a range decline of 50% is expected outside PAs under the best scenario if no dispersal occurs (61% in worst scenario). Otherwise, an 85% range reduction is predicted to occur across study regions (94% worst). However, range gains are predicted outside PAs if dispersal occurs (52% best, 21% worst), with a slight increase in gains expected across study regions (66% best, 24% worst). Moreover, more than half of range losses and gains are predicted to occur outside PAs where interspecific ranges overlap. Main Conclusions: Massive range decline is expected by 2050, but range gain is uncertain as African apes will not be able to occupy these new areas immediately due to their limited dispersal capacity, migration lag and ecological constraints. Given that most future range changes are predicted outside PAs, Africa's current PA network is likely to be insufficient for preserving suitable habitats and maintaining connected ape populations. Thus, conservation planners urgently need to integrate land use planning and climate change mitigation measures at all decision-making levels both in range countries and abroad.

Type: Article
Title: Predicting range shifts of African apes under global change scenarios
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/ddi.13358
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13358
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Authors. Diversity and Distributions published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: bonobo, chimpanzee, climate change, gorilla, great ape, human population scenarios, IUCN SSC A, P, E, S, database, land use change, protected areas, species distribution modelling, SPECIES DISTRIBUTION MODELS, CLIMATE-CHANGE, SAMPLING BIAS, LAND, DISTRIBUTIONS, PREVALENCE, ENSEMBLES, DECLINE
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10129805
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