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Monday, January 25 • 11:40am - 12:00pm
Robust Spatial Prioritizations For Avian Conservation In The Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Regions Under A Changing Climate

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AUTHORS: Chad Wilsey*, National Audubon Society

ABSTRACT: Spatial prioritizations are a tools for guiding conservation in the face of accelerating climate change. However, uncertainty about the rate and degree of future climate change as well as species’ responses to changing climates can complicate prioritization efforts. Audubon has generated spatial prioritizations for avian conservation in the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes regions utilizing an approach robust to these inherent uncertainties. The approach builds prioritizations based on three hypotheses about species’ potential responses to climate change. These reflect a range of assumptions related to niche flexibility and colonization ability. The hypothesis-driven prioritizations are then combined in a final ‘bet-hedging’ ensemble which has been shown to minimize the chance that incorrect assumptions would lead to valuable landscapes and species being overlooked. The resulting climate prioritizations can be overlaid with current landcover to rank areas important for avian conservation today and in a future impacted by climate change. We demonstrate the application of this approach by building multi-species prioritizations for suites of grassland and forest birds and identify areas of high conservation priority in the region.

Monday January 25, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST