Ecology and Evolution
Climate change and land-use change are projected to be the two greatest drivers of biodiversity loss over the coming century. Land-use change has resulted in extensive habitat loss for many species. Likewise, climate change has affected many species resulting in range shifts, changes in phenology, and altered interactions. We used a spatially explicit, individual-based model to explore the effects of land-use change and climate change on a population of the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW; Picoides borealis). We modeled the effects of land-use change using multiple scenarios representing different spatial arrangements of new training areas for troops across Fort Benning. We used projected climate-driven changes in habitat and changes in reproductive output to explore the potential effects of climate change. We summarized potential changes in habitat based on the output of the dynamic vegetation model LPJ-GUESS, run for multiple climate change scenarios through the year 2100. We projected potential changes in reproduction based on an empirical relationship between spring precipitation and the mean number of successful fledglings produced per nest attempt. As modeled in our study, climate change had virtually no effect on the RCW population. Conversely, simulated effects of land-use change resulted in the loss of up to 28 breeding pairs by 2100. However, the simulated impacts of development depended on where the development occurred and could be completely avoided if the new training areas were placed in poor-quality habitat. Our results demonstrate the flexibility inherent in many systems that allows seemingly incompatible human land uses, such as development, and conservation actions to exist side by side.
development, environmental stress, habitat change, habitat loss, HexSim, Picoides borealis, population model, precipitation, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, spatially explicity individual-based model
Bancroft, B.A., Lawler, J.J. and Schumaker, N.H. (2016), Weighing the relative potential impacts of climate change and land-use change on an endangered bird. Ecol Evol, 6: 4468-4477. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2204
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