Improving rainforest connectivity for facilitating range shifts

Jane K Hill (1), Sarah A. Scriven (2), Jenny A. Hodgson (3), Colin J. McClean (4)

1 Department of Biology, University of York, Wentworth Way, York YO10 5DD,  jane.hill@york.ac.uk, @JaneHillYork

2 Department of Biology, University of York, Wentworth Way, York, YO10 5DD,  sas550@york.ac.uk,

3 Department of Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour, Biosciences Building, Crown St, University of Liverpool, L69 7ZB, jenny.Hodgson@liverpool.ac.uk

4 Environment Department, University of York, Wentworth Way, York YO10 5DD, colin.mcclean@york.ac.uk

Distributions of many tropical rainforest species are shifting uphill under climate change, but forest areas are becoming increasingly isolated within agricultural landscapes, potentially preventing range shifting. Protected areas (PAs) are key for conserving species in agricultural landscapes and we use simulation models to examine the connectivity of PAs along elevation gradients on Borneo. A large proportion of PAs are likely to become climatically unsuitable in future for the species they currently support (based on temperature predictions for 2061-2080), and we examine the connectivity of these PAs, based on the assumption that species will need to shift to cooler PAs to track climate. For over half of all PAs on Borneo, our models suggest that poor dispersers (<1 km per generation) will fail to reach cooler PAs. Low elevation PAs are likely to be particularly vulnerable to climate change, and their isolation within inhospitable human- dominated landscapes may prevent range shifting in future. We also explore ways in which remaining non- protected areas of rainforest can be prioritised for protection in order to prevent further erosion of PA connectivity.

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