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Universidade do Porto (2020)

Future impacts of fire-smart landscape management on biodiversity under rural abandoment and climate change scenarios

Alves Cordeiro Rodrigues Sara Filipa

Titre : Future impacts of fire-smart landscape management on biodiversity under rural abandoment and climate change scenarios

Auteur : Alves Cordeiro Rodrigues Sara Filipa

Université de soutenance : Universidade do Porto

Grade : Mestrado em Ecologia e Ambiente 2020

Résumé
Climate change has been influencing climatic patterns globally and an increase of its magnitude is predicted. Also, at more regional scales, several socio-economic factors have encouraged land-use and land cover (LULC) changes in the past few decades, such as land abandonment largely documented in many mountain regions of the Iberian Peninsula. To take advantage of this current trend, rewilding, a natural succession process of natural regeneration aided by passive management, has been suggested as an opportunity for nature conservation. However, the landscape composition and structure changes triggered by land abandonment increased the severity of the fire regime, fostering the need for fire-smart land management, which intends to sustainably increase landscape fire-resilience and fire-resistance through fuel control. Studies considering both factors in biodiversity scenarios are still lacking, despite their potential complex and interacting effects. In this study, we aimed to explore the impact of fire-smart management on biodiversity under rural abandonment and climate change scenarios in the Meseta Ibérica Transboundary Biosphere Reserve. Our results suggest a negative impact of climate change for approximately 53% (RCP 4.5) and 58% (RCP 8.5) of the species, and of the combined factors for approximately 59% (RCP 4.5) and 63% (RCP 8.5), which suggests synergic effects. Additionally, we found different responses according to bioclimatic affinities and we predict that for bird species, those under legal protection should suffer the greatest losses when considering climate change and the combined effects. The rewilding scenarios would support the best outcomes for biodiversity conservation overall, although fire-smart management also seems to benefit some groups of species, such as some endemic reptiles and near-threatened forest bird species without legal protection. Alternative management scenarios, that reconcile agriculture and agroforestry expansion with rewilding initiatives should also be explored. Our results highlight the need to consider the combined effect of multiple drivers of change to accurately predict species distribution trends.

Mots clés  : Climate Change, Land Abandonment, Rewilding, Fire-smart Landscape Management, Landscape Scenarios, InVEST, Species Distribution Models, Meseta Ibérica Transboundary Biosphere Reserve, Biodiversity, Conservation.

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