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Data From: Conservation planning in an uncertain climate: identifying projects that remain valuable and feasible across future scenarios

Citation

Wineland, Sean et al. (2020), Data From: Conservation planning in an uncertain climate: identifying projects that remain valuable and feasible across future scenarios, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4b8gthtb9

Abstract

Conservation actors face the challenge of allocating limited resources despite uncertainty about future climate. A key goal is to minimize the potential for negative outcomes under future scenarios. Thus, we address a global conservation challenge: how to allocate conservation investments given high uncertainty about future climate conditions. To that end, we present a method for identifying projects that remain valuable and feasible across climate scenarios and apply our framework to freshwater biodiversity conservation in the South-Central USA. We combine data from a recent high-resolution hydrologic planning tool and species distribution models to estimate the conservation feasibility and biodiversity value of river reaches below 38 major reservoirs in the Red River basin.We find that only 13% of sites have high conservation priority across all future climate scenarios and that spatial patterns of conservation priority largely reflect patterns of water availability and fish biodiversity.

Methods

This dataset is based on three separate works. First, downscaled climate projections from

Dixon K.W., A.M. Wootten, M.J. Nath, J. Lanzante,  D.J. Adams-Smith, C.E. Whitlock, C.F. Gaitán, R.A. McPherson, 2020: South Central Climate Projections Evaluation Project (C-PrEP), South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center, Norman, Oklahoma, USA. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21429/12gk-dh47 

Were used in a hydrologic planning model

Sabzi, H. Z., Rezapour, S., Fovargue, R., Moreno, H., & Neeson, T. M. (2019). Strategic allocation of water conservation incentives to balance environmental flows and societal outcomes. Ecological Engineering127, 160-169. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2018.11.005

to obtain estimates of conservation feasibility, or how likely a freshwater conservation initiative would be implemented based on estimated tradeoffs between societal (i.e., municipal and agricultural uses), and environmental (i.e., environmental flow releases) water goals.

Finally, the downscaled climate projections from Dixon et al. (2020) above were used to create species distribution models for a suite of fish in the Red River basin in:

Gill, K. C., Fovargue, R. E., & Neeson, T. M. (2020). Hotspots of species loss do not vary across future climate scenarios in a drought‐prone river basin. Ecology and Evolution10(17), 9200-9213. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6597

These species distribution models, combined with IUCN and NatureServe risk of endangerment categories were used to create a Biodiversity Value Index.

Usage Notes

BVI_ConservationFeasibility.csv - Contains reservoir and climate scenario specific estimates of the Biodiversity Value Index and Conservation Feasibility and can be used to replicate Figures 5 & 6 from the manuscript.

BVI_rawdata_rinput.csv - Contains reservoir, species, and climate scenario specific estimates of fish species probability of occurrence from Gill et al. (2020) and the associated weights from IUCN and NatureServe risk of endangerment categories. This file is used for input in the BVI_calculation.R file to calculate the Biodiversity Value Index and replicate Figure 4a from the manuscript.

BVI_Calculation.R - Used to calculate the Biodiversity Value Index described in the manuscript. Uses BVI_rawdata_rinput.csv as an input dataset.

Funding

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service