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Deep Sea Res
Catano, C. P., Romanach, S. S., Beerens, J. M., Pearlstine, L. G., Brandt, L. A., Hart, K. M., et al. (2015). Using Scenario Planning to Evaluate the Impacts of Climate Change on Wildlife Populations and Communities in the Florida Everglades.
It is uncertain how climate change will impact hydrologic drivers of wildlife population dynamics in freshwater wetlands of the Florida Everglades, or how to accommodate this uncertainty in restoration decisions. Using projections of climate scenarios for the year 2060, we evaluated how several possible futures could affect wildlife populations (wading birds, fish, alligators, native apple snails, amphibians, threatened and invasive species) across the Everglades landscape and inform planning already underway. We used data collected from prior research and monitoring to parameterize our wildlife population models. Hydrologic data were simulated using a spatially explicit, regional-scale model. Our scenario evaluations show that expected changes in temperature, precipitation, and sea level could significantly alter important ecological functions. All of our wildlife indicators were negatively affected by scenarios with less rainfall and more evapotranspiration. Under such scenarios, habitat suitability was substantially reduced for iconic animals such as wading birds and alligators. Conversely, the increased rainfall scenario benefited aquatic prey productivity and apex predators. Cascading impacts on non-native species is speculative, but increasing temperatures could increase the time between cold events that currently limit expansion and abundance of non-native fishes, amphibians, and reptiles with natural ranges in the tropics. This scenario planning framework underscored the benefits of proceeding with Everglades restoration plans that capture and clean more freshwater with the potential to mitigate rainfall loss and postpone impacts of sea level rise.
Habitat suitability models
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Stys, B., Foster, T., Fuentes, M. M. P. B., Glazer, B., Karish, K., Montero, N., et al. (2017). Climate change impacts on Florida's biodiversity and ecology. In E. P. Chassignet, J. W. Jones, V. Misra, & J. Obeysekera (Eds.),
Florida's climate: Changes, variations, & impacts
(pp. 339–389). Florida Climate Institute.
Florida’s rich biodiversity is the product of climatic conditions, geographic position, and underlying geology. Interactions of these factors over time have led to the state’s unique biota, with Florida ranking fourth in the nation for total number of endemic species. The ability of Florida’s ecosystems to support plants and animals is intimately tied to its geographic location, climatic and hydrologic variables, including timing and amount of precipitation, the frequency and intensity of storms, the range and duration of temperature extremes, and water chemistry. The ecosystems and species of Florida have adapted to past periods of climatic change. However, these ecosystems are now under stress and less resilient due to past and existing human-caused alterations and impacts, affecting their ability to withstand and adapt to additional stressors such as climate change. The overall vulnerability of some systems and species is primarily driven by the severity and extent of these non-climate stressors. Florida’s biodiversity may be very different in the future, with some species and ecosystems affected to a greater extent than others. Community-level changes will occur as plant and animal species move and adapt at different rates. There are tools available to assist in determining relative vulnerability (vulnerability assessments) and potential impacts (scenario planning) that can aid in developing adaptation strategies. Awareness that change is likely to happen is critical to planning for the future and allowing for adaptation in management practices that will maximize Florida’s biodiversity for future generations.
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