New Maps Highlight Tropical Corridors Important to Wildlife As Climate Changes

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A new set of maps highlights the importance of habitat corridors in helping wildlife deal with the effects of climate change and deforestation. The series of maps shows more than 16,000 habitat corridors — swaths of land that connect forests or protected areas and allow animals to move between them — in tropical regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America.

High-resolution data on biodiversity, endemism, and vegetation density allowed the researchers, led by Patrick Jantz of the Woods Hole Research Center, to determine which corridors are most important for maintaining biodiversity under changing climate conditions. The maps also highlight which corridors are most important for sequestering carbon and averting carbon emissions associated with deforestation.

Researchers hope the findings will help guide wildlife protection plans and serve as a framework prioritizing the conservation of habitat corridors. Maintaining forest connectivity provides “room for ecosystems to reorganize in response to climate change and protect[s]ecosystem services that people depend on,” said Jantz.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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