Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Differential Impacts of Climatic and Land Use Changes on Habitat Suitability and Protected Area Adequacy Across the Asian Elephant’s Range

Version 1 : Received: 25 February 2022 / Approved: 28 February 2022 / Online: 28 February 2022 (12:00:28 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Yang, W.; Ma, Y.; Jing, L.; Wang, S.; Sun, Z.; Tang, Y.; Li, H. Differential Impacts of Climatic and Land Use Changes on Habitat Suitability and Protected Area Adequacy across the Asian Elephant’s Range. Sustainability 2022, 14, 4933. Yang, W.; Ma, Y.; Jing, L.; Wang, S.; Sun, Z.; Tang, Y.; Li, H. Differential Impacts of Climatic and Land Use Changes on Habitat Suitability and Protected Area Adequacy across the Asian Elephant’s Range. Sustainability 2022, 14, 4933.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2022, 14, 4933
DOI: 10.3390/su14094933

Abstract

The reduction of biodiversity loss is one of the targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The protection of endangered species is critical for conserving global biodiversity. Asian elephants,as one of the last few mega-herbivores on Earth, are currently threatened by climate changes and anthropogenic modifications. The modelling of their living habitats is of top priority to the conservation of Asian elephant. In this study, we used the maximum entropy model (MaxEnt) to identify the current and potential future habitats of Asian elephants in South and Southeast Asia. We performed analyses for future projections with 17 scenarios by using the present results as baseline. To optimise the modelling results, we delineated the core habitats by using the Core Mapper Tool and compared them with existing protected areas (PAs) through gap analysis. The results showed that the current total area of core habitats is 491,455 km2 in size and will be reduced to 332,544 km2 by 2090 under SSP585 (the shared socioeconomic pathway). The projection analysis under differential scenarios suggested that most of the core habitats in the current protected areas would remain stable and suitable for elephants in the future. However, the remaining 75.17% of the core habitats lay outside the current PAs, and finally we mapped approximately 219,545 km2 of suitable habitats as priority protected areas in the future. Although our model did not perform well in some regions, our analyses and findings still could provide useful references to the planning of protected areas and conservation of Asian elephant.

Keywords

Asian elephant; MaxEnt; habitat suitability; protected area; climate change; human footprint

Subject

BIOLOGY, Ecology

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