Cambridge University Press
School of Science
Translocation of species to areas of former habitat after threats have been mitigated is a common conservation action. However, the long-term success of reintroduction relies on identification of currently available habitat and areas that will remain, or become, habitat in the future. Commonly, a short-term view is taken, focusing on obvious and assumed threats such as predators and habitat degradation. However, in areas subject to significant climate change, challenges include correctly identifying variables that define habitat, and considering probable changes over time. This poses challenges with species such as the western ground parrot Pezoporus flaviventris, which was once relatively common in near-coastal south-western Australia, an area subject to major climate change. This species has declined to one small population, estimated to comprise < 150 individuals. Reasons for the decline include altered fire regimes, introduced predators and habitat clearing. The establishment of new populations is a high priority, but the extent to which a rapidly changing climate has affected, and will continue to affect, this species remains largely conjecture, and understanding probable climate change impacts is essential to the prioritization of potential reintroduction sites. We developed high-resolution species distribution models and used these to investigate climate change impacts on current and historical distributions, and identify locations that will remain, or become, bioclimatically suitable habitat in the future. This information has been given to an expert panel to identify and prioritize areas suitable for site-specific management and/or translocation.
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