The future representativeness of Madagascar's protected area network in the face of climate change

Peer Reviewed
3 November 2020

Kevin M. Coldrey, Jane K. Turpie

With many species predicted to respond to a changing climate by shifting their distribution to climatically suitable areas, the effectiveness of static protected areas (PAs) is in question. The Madagascan PA network area has quadrupled over the past 15 years, and, although conservation planning techniques were employed to prioritise suitable areas for protection during this process, climate change impacts were not considered. We make use of species distribution models for 750 Madagascan vertebrate species to assess the potential impacts of climate change on (1) species richness across Madagascar, (2) species gain, loss and turnover in Madagascar's PAs and (3) PA network representativeness. Results indicate that Madagascar is predicted to experience substantial shifts in species richness, with most PAs predicted to experience high rates of species turnover. Provided there are no barriers to species movements, the representativeness of the current PA network will remain high for the species that are predicted to survive changes in climate by 2070, suggesting that little benefit will be gained from establishing new PAs. However, this rests on the assumption of mobility through areas currently characterised by fragmentation and anthropogenic activity, something that will require considerable expansion in conservation efforts in order to achieve.

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Sustainable Development Goals
Publication reference
Coldrey, K. M., & Turpie, J. K. (2020). The future representativeness of Madagascar’s protected area network in the face of climate change. African Journal of Ecology. doi:10.1111/aje.12819

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Publication | 16 March 2021