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Universidade do Porto (2016)

Biodiversity Conservation in Arid Environments under Climate Change

Cândida Maria Gomes Vale

Titre : Biodiversity Conservation in Arid Environments under Climate Change

Auteur : Cândida Maria Gomes Vale

Université de soutenance : Universidade do Porto

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2016

Résumé partiel
The synergetic effects of human activities and climate change come in the current biodiversity crisis. The major aim of Biodiversity Conservation is to halt biodiversity loss by defining priority areas for conservation that maximize species representation and enable persistence. The overlooked arid environments are important areas for conservation where the goals of representativeness and persistence can be achieved while promoting sustainable resource use. This thesis contributes to biodiversity conservation by suggesting good practices to accurate identify suitable areas and by improving current knowledge on biodiversity patterns in arid environments, particularly the Sahara-Sahel. The main objective of the thesis is to address biodiversity conservation in arid environments, focusing on the Sahara-Sahel, a region where biodiversity is under strong climatic control and is vulnerable to climate change. Four specific goals were defined : 1) compare the performance of ecological niche models built at different scales to predict species distribution at range margins and the distribution of ecologically plastic species ; 2) evaluate the conservation status of mountain restricted species ; 3) identify local hotspots of biodiversity ; and 4) identify functional groups vulnerable to future climate change. The implications of the study area extent, resolution and threshold selection in the performance of ecological niche models to predict species distributions at range margins were analysed. Additionally, scale-related effects were assessed for ecologically plastic species. For local conservation planning under present conditions, fine-resolution regional models should be used, as they were more accurate in predicting current species distributions at range margins located in abrupt transition zones, and in defining suitable areas for the occurrence of ecologically plastic species. Conservative thresholds applied to regional models improve the definition of suitable areas to effectively design protected areas at the edge of species distributions.

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Page publiée le 11 décembre 2016, mise à jour le 2 novembre 2017