Poster Presentation Australian Society for Limnology Congress 2013

Planning for the Future: Mobile Targets Under Climate Change (#209)

Alex Bush 1
  1. Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Australia

Climate change represents a major challenge to conservation in the future, and undermines protection within reserve boundaries. We tested the likely benefits of including predicted species distributions in reserve design for rivers under climate change, and the impact of varying connectivity requirements on future representation. We used the modeled distribution of 126 dragonflies to identify reserve networks that remained representative under future climates, and compared the effect of connectivity penalties that emphasised either longitudinal riverine connections or connections to all neighbouring subcatchments. Solutions that did not include future distributions in the planning stages were 16-30% less likely to protect the same species by 2055 and 2085 and less efficient in the longer term. In addition, solely targeting longitudinal connectivity was significantly less likely to protect current species in the future than if cross-catchment connections were included. Where protected areas can be expanded to assist species adapt to climate change, significant gains in efficiency are possible if longer-term goals are considered when selecting sites. Furthermore, to improve the representation of species under future climates reserve selection should consider inter-catchment connectivity, although the nature of optimal solutions will depend heavily on the range of taxa included, their dispersal capacity, and the availability of climatic refugia.