Connectivity for species on the move: supporting climate-driven range shifts


Littlefield, C.E., Krosby, M., Michalak, J., and J. Lawler. 2019. Connectivity for species on the move: supporting climate-driven range shifts. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. doi:10.1002/fee.2043


Many species are already responding to global climate change by shifting their ranges to track suitable climatic conditions. However, habitat loss and fragmentation, coupled with the rapidity of climate change, make it difficult for species to keep pace. It is therefore unsurprising that enhancing landscape connectivity is the most frequently cited climate‐adaptation strategy for conserving biodiversity. Yet most connectivity planning, even if intended to address climate change, does not directly take climate change and climate‐driven range shifts into account. Nonetheless, several approaches that do explicitly address the unique challenges posed by climate change have recently emerged. We review these connectivity modeling approaches: specifically, how they incorporate species’ responses, identify movement routes, and address uncertainties. Despite this proliferation of approaches, conceptual and analytical hurdles remain, and meeting these challenges will be critical to achieving effective landscape connectivity for species in the face of climate change.