Canadian Forest Service Publications

Using bioclimatic envelopes to identify temporal corridors in support of conservation planning in a changing climate. 2009. Rose, N.A.; Burton, P.J. Forest Ecology and Management 258(1): S64-S74.

Year: 2009

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 30073

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2009.07.053

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Current and expected shifts in climate are threatening global biodiversity and are forcing managers to reevaluate how they plan for the protection of species and ecosystems. We propose and illustrate a methodology for identifying geographic locations where climate is expected to remain within the tolerances of conservation targets despite a generally warming climate. Using Generation 3 of the Canadian General Circulation Model and ClimateBC (a climate interpolation and downscaling tool), bioclimatic envelopes were developed for three examples of forest conservation targets. The geographic distribution of the resulting envelopes was projected for four timeslices, and then overlaid using ArcMap GIS software. The resultant intersection of points is presumed to indicate locations of persistent climate over the study’s timeframe. Next, a target’s current mapped distribution was overlaid with the distribution of climate expected to remain within its bioclimatic envelope; the intersection of these points is considered the target’s ‘‘temporal corridor.’’ Current locations with persistent climate are thus expected to provide climatic continuity over time, sufficient to sustain the conservation target. Whereas landscape corridors can provide connectivity in geographic space, temporal corridors are projected to provide continuity in climatic space and over time. The identification of such locations facilitates prioritization of sites for the acquisition or designation of protected areas, and provides guidance on where other current management policies and practices can persist. The projection and mapping of temporal corridors is conceptually simple, yet this can be a powerful tool with many potential applications to assist natural resources planners and managers in a rapidly changing environment.