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Vertebrate population trends are influenced by interactions between land use, climatic position, habitat loss and climate change

Williams, J; Freeman, R; Spooner, F; Newbold, T; (2022) Vertebrate population trends are influenced by interactions between land use, climatic position, habitat loss and climate change. Global Change Biology , 28 (3) pp. 797-815. 10.1111/gcb.15978. Green open access

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Abstract

Rapid human-driven environmental changes are impacting animal populations around the world. Currently, land-use and climate change are two of the biggest pressures facing biodiversity. However, studies investigating the impacts of these pressures on population trends often do not consider potential interactions between climate and land-use change. Further, a population's climatic position (how close the ambient temperature and precipitation conditions are to the species’ climatic tolerance limits) is known to influence responses to climate change but has yet to be investigated with regard to its influence on land-use change responses over time. Consequently, important variations across species’ ranges in responses to environmental changes may be being overlooked. Here, we combine data from the Living Planet and BioTIME databases to carry out a global analysis exploring the impacts of land use, habitat loss, climatic position, climate change and the interactions between these variables, on vertebrate population trends. By bringing these datasets together, we analyse over 7,000 populations across 42 countries. We find that land-use change is interacting with climate change and a population's climatic position to influence rates of population change. Moreover, features of a population's local landscape (such as surrounding land cover) play important roles in these interactions. For example, populations in agricultural land uses where maximum temperatures were closer to their hot thermal limit, declined at faster rates when there had also been rapid losses in surrounding semi-natural habitat. The complex interactions between these variables on populations highlight the importance of taking intraspecific variation and interactions between local and global pressures into account. Understanding how drivers of change are interacting and impacting populations, and how this varies spatially, is critical if we are to identify populations at risk, predict species’ responses to future environmental changes and produce suitable conservation strategies.

Type: Article
Title: Vertebrate population trends are influenced by interactions between land use, climatic position, habitat loss and climate change
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15978
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15978
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: biodiversity; BioTIME; global; land-use change; Living Planet database; population trends; precipitation; temperature; time-series vertebrates
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137948
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