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Identifying refugia and corridors under climate change conditions for the Sichuan snub-nosed monkey ( Rhinopithecus roxellana ) in Hubei Province, China

  • Zhang, Yu
  • Clauzel, Céline
  • Li, Jia
  • Xue, Yadong
  • Zhang, Yuguang
  • Wu, Gongsheng
  • Giraudoux, Patrick
  • Li, Li
  • Li, Diqiang
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
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Using a case study of an isolated management unit of Sichuan snub‐nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana), we assess the extent that climate change will impact the species’ habitat distribution in the current period and projected into the 2050s. We identify refugia that could maintain the population under climate change and determine dispersal paths for movement of the population to future suitable habitats. Hubei Province, China. We identified climate refugia and potential movements by integrating bioclimatic models with circuit theory and least‐cost model for the current period (1960–1990) and the 2050s (2041–2060). We coupled a maximum entropy algorithm to predict suitable habitat for the current and projected future periods. Suitable habitat areas that were identified during both time periods and that also satisfied home range and dispersal distance conditions were delineated as refugia. We mapped potential movements measured as current flow and linked current and future habitats using least‐cost corridors. Our results indicate up to 1,119 km2 of currently suitable habitat within the study range. Based on our projections, a habitat loss of 67.2% due to climate change may occur by the 2050s, resulting in a reduced suitable habitat area of 406 km2 and very little new habitat. The refugia areas amounted to 286 km2 and were located in Shennongjia National Park and Badong Natural Reserve. Several connecting corridors between the current and future habitats, which are important for potential movements, were identified. Our assessment of the species predicted a trajectory of habitat loss following anticipated future climate change. We believe conservation efforts should focus on refugia and corridors when planning for future species management. This study will assist conservationists in determining high‐priority regions for effective maintenance of the endangered population under climate change and will encourage increased habitat connectivity.

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