Their maps, combined with climate models, will project how climate change will alter biodiversity and help to shape policy for setting aside conservation easements.
Wildlife, people and livestock have weathered past variation in climate by shifting their seasonal migration patterns though the varied of ecological zones in the Great Rift Valley, which runs through the center of Kenya and Tanzania.
“When you go from the bottom of the rift, it’s almost desert. By the time you get up to the top, no more than 15-20 km away, it’s rainforest,” said David Western, adjunct professor of biology at UCSD, director of the African Conservation Centre in Nairobi and former director of Kenya Wildlife Service. “Previously this was communal land where people moved with the seasons and they moved with changing climates.”
Now, as climate change is expected to shift the balance between habitats in this region, increased farming has fragmented the landscape, Western said. “It’s removed the highland grazing for both livestock and wildlife. The crop residues can keep the livestock going, but it’s a complete lockout for wildlife.”
The project will identify areas that, if protected, would allow both wildlife and pastoralists to move to more favorable conditions as climate shifts. “What we want to do is identify key pathways where, working with landowners, you can actually keep the land open, through a conservation easement,” Western said.
To determine how the centers of biological richness are likely to shift, UCSD biology assistant professor Walter Jetz and Daniel Kissling, a postdoctoral fellow, have mapped the ranges of 2,700 species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles across all of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
For each species, they have plotted an ‘ecological envelope.’ “Within those boundaries, we are likely to encounter those species,” Jetz said. “With the distribution map, we can determine the species’ climatic niche.”
The next step, Jetz said, is to revise their maps using satellite images and field notes, to a finer scale. Their current maps are drawn to a 100 kilometer resolution. “You need some refinement if you want to be able to make predictions, so we are taking global maps and refining them to the scale of actual conservation decision-making: to a 10 or 20 km resolution,” Jetz said.
Jetz’s group’s maps of animal diversity will be combined with those for plants and human land use to gain a fuller picture of how ranges and interactions between species are likely to shift under different climate changes. A plant and an animal may respond differently to the same climate shift, for example, causing their ranges to diverge until the two species no longer co-exist.
At a recent meeting at the University of York in the UK, participants in the project agreed to join their completed distribution maps in a single database, and to combine that multilayered map with two climate models – one based on the minimum expected change and another that anticipates larger climate shifts – to develop six future ecological scenarios for East Africa: two each for the years 2025, 2055 and 2085. These scenarios will inform decisions about setting aside additional reserves in Kenya and Tanzania.
“The organization David Western represents has close ties to the stakeholders in Kenya, and therefore there is hope that some of the findings will actually be implemented,” Jetz said. “We sense a clear willingness in Kenya and Tanzania to put more reserves in place to mitigate the impacts of global change. For that they are looking to scientists for guidance. So we have a situation where good science can lead to significant basic insights and also make a difference for the people and their wildlife. We are very excited to be involved.
The project is funded by the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation. Other participating institutions include the Missouri Botanical Garden; the University of York, UK; and Clark University.Contact:
Susan Brown | Newswise Science News
When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences