Análisis del impacto del cambio climático en el hábitat de la vida silvestre

For wildlife managers, conserving species in the face of climate change can be a complex endeavor. As conditions change on the ground, the landscapes that species use now may be different from the ones are available or they choose in the future. Exploratory analysis for habitat suitability in the future is essential to inform management and conservation strategies of wildlife species today. We used the ecological niche modeling algorithm Maximum Entropy (Maxent) to examine present climatic niche and potential distribution of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) populations in Mexico and climate change effects on its potential future habitat suitability and distribution. Maxent was built with 1,158 georeferenced occurrence records and uncertainty of climate change was addressed by exploring possible scenarios under four Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) (2.6, 4.5, 6.0 and 8.5) and four different General Circulation Models (GCM) in a time span of 20 years (2041-2060).

The results showed that current protection strategies on public and private lands are inadequate for the conservation of target taxa given projected climate impacts. Therefore, exploratory analysis may be most useful in supporting resilient management strategies by directing attention toward locations that may be suitable for wildlife management under future conditions. This analysis can be extended by considering multiple species, exploring strategies that employ an array of environmental policy options, and potential for learning that ease the reframing and refocusing of goals with which the wildlife management community may need to engage in the face of climate change.