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Effects of future climate change on the forests of Madagascar

Citation

Hending, Daniel; Holderied, Marc; McCabe, Grainne; Cotton, Sam (2022), Effects of future climate change on the forests of Madagascar, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.dv41ns20n

Abstract

Global climate change is continuing to occur at an alarming rate. In addition to increases in global weather extremes, melting of polar ice caps and subsequent sea level-rises, climate change is known to directly impact the life-cycles and ecologies of many animals and plants. Whilst climate change is projected to result in substantial geographic range and habitat contractions for many species in the future, the effects of climate change on many habitats of conservation-concern remain poorly understood. In this study, we investigated how future climate change is projected to impact the occurrence and distribution of four major forest types of Madagascar, a global biodiversity hotspot and conservation priority, over the next 60 years. We also compared how climate change effects vary among the four forest types under a “mitigation” climate forecast, and under a “business-as-usual” trajectory. As expected, our models suggest that future climate change will affect the distribution of the four forest types under both trajectories, and forest occurrence is likely to decrease if mean temperatures, temperature seasonality, and precipitation rates increase as predicted. The exception being that forest gain is predicted to occur in the north-west of Madagascar, resulting in a small increase in transitional forest area under the “business-as-usual” climate change trajectory. Our study highlights that unmitigated climate change will have a negative impact on Madagascar’s forests during the period up to the year 2080, and climate change therefore needs to be mitigated. Madagascar remains a global conservation priority, and urgent conservation action and protective legislation is required to safeguard the future of its native forest.

Usage Notes

This dataset contains 1) a zip file containing all raster layers for the current and future time scenarios, and under both climate trajectories, 2) a zip file of bias files for each of the four forest types, and 3) thinned occurence point datasets (CSV) for each of the four forest types.