Canadian Forest Service Publications
Persistent climate corridors: The identification of climate refugia in British Columbia’s Central Interior for the selection of candidate areas for conservation. 2011. Rose, N.-A.; Burton, P.J. BC Journal of Ecosystems and Management 12(1): 101-117.
Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 32616
Climate-driven change is catalyzing the global re-distribution of species and ecosystems and is threatening their persistence. These changes undermine the current conservation paradigm that has a static approach to a dynamic system. Conservation planning agencies, such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada, recognize this quandary and have started to incorporate the potential (though uncertain) impacts of climate change into its planning framework. As a component of the Conservancy’s Central Interior Ecoregional Assessment, we identified bioclimatic envelopes for 206 conservation targets (103 biogeoclimatic variants, 30 terrestrial ecological units, 73 British Columbia Conservation Data Centre plant species) using ClimateBC and ArcMap software. Using ClimateBC interpolations of current and expected future climatic conditions, locations projected to meet the 5th through 95th percentile requirements of a target’s bioclimatic envelope were identified for four timeslices. The points of coincidence between these areas were identified as a target’s projected suitable climate space; locations or areas of a target’s current distribution that coincided with its climate space were identified as the target’s persistent climate corridor (PCC). Our results projected PCCs to exist for only 10% (10/103) of the biogeoclimatic variants, 20% (6/30) of the terrestrial ecological units, and 10% (7/73) of plant species under the CGCM3 general circulation model using the A2 scenario. When comparing the projected results with those derived for three different general circulation model and scenario combinations, it is clear that the existence and locations of PCCs are subject to great uncertainty. Nevertheless, we argue that the identification of climate refugia should be an important consideration in the site selection and prioritization of candidate areas for conservation.