Potential Impacts Of Climate Change On Forest Shrews As A Model For Extinction Risk Of A Afromontane Small Mammal In South Africa, Lesotho And Swaziland | 18607
Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change
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Climate change has been identified as one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss across the globe as it results in alteration
of the species habitats. This study investigated the potential impacts of climate change on forest shrews (
endemic to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. The study investigated the potential impacts of climatic variables (temperature
and rainfall) on the distribution of
M. cafer, M. varius, M.sclateri,M. longicaudatus and Myosorex cf. tenuis
in space and
time. Ecological niche modelling using Maxent was applied to predict current and future distribution of these species. Eight
bioclimatic variables for current and future projected scenarios together with occurrence data from South African Museums
and published data were used to build the models. Equal sensitivity and specificity threshold were used to map suitable habitat
and the number of pixels were counted to get the present and future range including percentage decrease or increase in range.
The current distributions and the future distributions for all the species were compared to determine the range shifts. The
model results for range shifts revealed contraction of current suitable habitat of the more temperate species such as
M. longicaudatus and M. varius
while those from the subtropical or coastal lowland ranges
(M. sclateri and Myosorex cf. tenuis)
will increase the range of current suitable conditions by the year 2070. The increase of suitable conditions for
M. sclateri and
Myosorex cf. tenuis
may not be realised due to their poor dispersal capability and the absence of suitable habitat such as forest
in the new range.
showed greatest contraction of suitable habitats, consequently, will experience the highest
risk of extinction, at least in some parts of its range as a result of global warming associated with climate change by the year
2070. The results showed that global warming is an important factor that results in range shifts, thus affecting the distribution
in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.
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