Masters Thesis Defense Presentation

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This the presentation I gave for my thesis defense. It\'s entitled "Using bioclimatic envelope modelling to incorporate spatial and temporal dynamics of climate change into conservation planning".

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  • I’d like to thank everybody for coming today to listen to my presentation today. Your support and encouragement is greatly appreciated. The title of my presentation is …
  • As we are all aware climate change is impacting our environment in a variety of complicated and interacting processes. For my research, I focused on its impacts on biodiversity and the ability of resource managers to conserve and maintain native ecological communities in the face of climate change. More specifically, I focused on the impact of climate change on the distribution of listed plant species and ecological communities. In short, plants are expected to either
  • These changes have serious implications for biodiversity conservation. As our climate changes species are likely to migrate outside static park boundaries. Standard practice is to place static boundaries
  • This map illustrates the flaw in applying static boundaries to a dynamic system. The polygons outlined in dark blue represent B.C.’s protected areas and the coloured polygons represent the PCCs of the biogeoclimatic zones of B.C. Admittedly in is unrealistic to expect a complete restructuring of our current reserve networks but the purpose of this research is to a) demonstrate the need to improve how we manage our resources and b) provide a potential starting point towards the development of a new decision making tool.
  • To address this issue, I used NCC’s Central Interior ERA has a case study to introduce the concept of persistent climate corridors and their applicability to conservation planning. The study area shown here is 246 000 km squared and represents approximately 26% of the province.
  • The utility of this concept is demonstrated by identifying potential persistent climate corridors for each target which I will argue represent candidate areas for conservation.
  • Modelling strategy used to predict future species distribution. The figure illustrated on your right describes the bioclimatic envelope of Botrychiuum crenulatum defined by mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation and the number of frost free days. In this example, the maximum and minimum values represent the limitations of B. crenulatum’s envelope. The envelopes I developed for my research are based on the 5 th and 95 th percentiles.
  • Other important tools I used were
  • In order to develop bioclimatic envelopes
  • The first step towards identifying a target’s suitable climate space is to determine the location of its bioclimatic envelope throughout the study for each of the four timeslices. To do this I used a 1km grid of the study area where each point represented a km in the study and was represented by a latitude and longitude coordinate and an elevation. This information was run through ClimateBC to generate climate data for ech timeslice. Using SAS, I wrote a program that would check the climate data of each point fell within the 5 th and 95 th percentile of each of the 4 climate variables. If these conditions were met, that point recweived a value of 1 indicated full agreement with the envelope’s conditions, otherwise that point received a zero. This procedure was performed for each timeslice as demonstrated here. Next, these 4 timeslices were intersected and overlaid using Arcmap GIS the locations which coincided were termed suitable climate space.
  • The identification of a target’s suitable climate space and consequently its persistent climate corridor is illustrated in this figure using Neproma occultum as an example. The intersection of the locations of its bioclimatic envelope for the baseline, 2020s, 2050s and 2080s timeslices results in the identification of N. occultum’s SCS. The next step is to overlay a target’s current distribution with its SCS. The areas of coincidence between these two spatial coverages is defined as the target’s PCC and is arguably a candidate area for conservation.
  • Before I present some results, in summary
  • Current Distribution 5343 km2, SCS 36
  • In general areas with the potential to conserve multiple targets have a higher conservation value. For this reason I create a layer of PCCs for each target group and overlaid them to identify areas with more than one PCC. The only target groups to overlap were the TEU and the BGC variants, none of the PCCs belonging to the species overlapped with other target groups.
  • In summary, the ERA processes in a conservation planning exercise designed to identify priority areas for the protection of biological diversity. A system of ecoregional planning is used to create a conservation blueprint which attempts to incorporate natural processes and document a portflio of sites desired for protection. If conserved, a conservation portfolio should secure the long term survival of viable native species and community types. Conservation planners, terrestrial and aquatic ecologists, GIS analysts Government agencies, non-profit groups, industry, First Nations
  • Masters Thesis Defense Presentation

    1. 1. Using bioclimatic envelope modelling to incorporate spatial and temporal dynamics of climate change into conservation planning By Nancy-Anne Rose NRES MSc Candidate December 14, 2010
    2. 2. Introduction - Climate change impacts on biodiversity <ul><li>Expected to change the distribution of species </li></ul><ul><li>Face extinction, adapt migrate </li></ul><ul><li>Reorganization of current ecological communities into of new assemblages </li></ul>
    3. 3. The problem for biodiversity conservation planning: <ul><li>Existing parks and protected areas may no longer be able to support the species, habitats and values for which they were designated. </li></ul><ul><li>Can we use existing inventories and climate projection tools to identify candidate areas with better prospect for stability … for “connectivity” over time? </li></ul>
    4. 4. B.C. parks and protected areas network <ul><li>Alpine Tundra: 24% </li></ul><ul><li>Bunchgrass: 11% </li></ul><ul><li>Coastal Douglas Fir: 5% </li></ul><ul><li>Interior Cedar Hemlock: 36% </li></ul><ul><li>Ponderosa Pine: 0% </li></ul><ul><li>Sub-boreal Pine Spruce: 0% </li></ul><ul><li>Montane Spruce: 13% </li></ul><ul><li>Sub-boreal Willow: 67% </li></ul>
    5. 5. Nature Conservancy of Canada - Ecoregional Assessment of the Central Interior Ecoregion http://science.natureconservancy.ca/centralinterior/central.php
    6. 6. Research Objectives <ul><li>Evaluate the likely persistence (continuity) of conservation targets under climate change </li></ul><ul><li>To identify geographical priorities in the development of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Central Interior conservation plan </li></ul>
    7. 7. Bioclimatic envelope modelling <ul><li>Based on a set of suitable climate conditions defined by target-specific physiological tolerances </li></ul><ul><li>Conceptual underpinnings in Hutchinson’s niche theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A conceptual space occupied by a target </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multidimensional axes are described by environmental factors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>hypervolume </li></ul></ul>Botrychium crenulatum Crenulate Moonwort
    8. 8. Developmental Tools <ul><li>ClimateBC - climate interpolation and general circulation model (GCM) downscaling tool </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Generates 19 climate variables but to reduce collinearity only </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>MAT – mean annual temperature, ºC </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TD – continentality (seasonality), ºC </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>AH:M – annual heat moisture index (ratio) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>PAS – precipitation as snow, mm </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 rd generation of the Canadian GCM “business as usual” (CGCM3 A2) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4 timeslices (baseline, 2020s, 2050s, 2080s) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ArcMap 9.2 GIS software </li></ul>
    9. 9. Methods - Development of bioclimatic envelopes <ul><li>Compile information on current distribution (latitude, longitude, elevation) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>103 biogeoclimatic variants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>30 terrestrial ecological units </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>73 plant species </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Run through ClimateBC to generate climate data for current distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Determine the 5 th and 95 th percentiles for MAT, TD, AHM, PAS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CORE BIOCLIMATIC ENVELOPE </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Methods – Identify locations of a target’s suitable climate space SUITABLE CLIMATE SPACE
    11. 11. Overlay-Intersection  Suitable Climate Space  Persistent Climate Corridors Nephroma occultum (Cryptic Paw)
    12. 12. Bioclimatic Envelope <ul><li>Describes a target’s physiological tolerances </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Defined by its current distribution </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Environmental factors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mean annual temperature and preciptation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Growing degree days </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Excludes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Biotic interactions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to adapt </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Suitable Climate Space (SCS) <ul><li>Area(s) of coincidence between the location(s) of target-specific bioclimatic envelopes of all 4 timeslices </li></ul>
    14. 14. Persistent climate corridors (PCC) <ul><li>Area(s) of coincidence of a target’s SCS and current distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Provide climate refuge in the form of climate connectivity or persistence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintaining unique floristics of species assemblages </li></ul></ul>Engelmann Spruce-Sub-alpine Fir Wet Very Cold (ESSFwv)
    15. 15. Conservation target summary <ul><li>Of 206 conservation target groups: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>23% (47/206) - SCS 13% (26/206) - PCC </li></ul></ul><ul><li>B.C. biogeoclimatic variants: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>16% (16/103) - SCS 9% (10/103) - PCC </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Terrestrial ecological units: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>27% (8/30) - SCS 20% (6/30) – PCC </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Listed plant species: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>32% (23/73) - SCS 10% (10/73) – PCC </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. B.C. Biogeoclimatic Variants: Interior Cedar Hemlock Hazelton Moist Cold Current distribution: 5,343 km 2 SCS: 3,677 km 2 PCC: 203 km 2 Representation: 3.8%
    17. 17. Terrestrial Ecological Unit: North Pacific Interior Lodgepole Pine-Douglas Fir Woodland and Forest <ul><li>Current distribution: 11,828 km 2 SCS: 22,661 km 2 PCC: 1,131 km 2 Representation: 10% </li></ul>
    18. 18. Listed Plant Species <ul><li>Malaxis paludosa </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SCS: 178,348 km 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2/2 occurrences are PCCs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Carex tenera </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SCS: 49,081 km 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1/7 occurrences are PCCs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Juncus stygius </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SCS: 80,991 km 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1/2 occurrences are PCCs </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Areas of overlapping PCCs have a higher conservation value NB: TEU is terrestrial ecological unit
    20. 20. Application to conservation planning <ul><li>Nature Conservancy of Canada </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marxan - reserve selection software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Various outputs including wildlife, plants, aquatic features, ecosystem services, natural disturbance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Persistent climate corridors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suitability Index – with and without parks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Measures human impact i.e. density and proximity of roads </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>High impact (high cost) -> Low score -> Low value </li></ul></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Marxan Comparison – Suitability Index <ul><li>Average Marxan scores: </li></ul><ul><li>Species: 100 </li></ul><ul><li>TEU: 53 </li></ul><ul><li>Variants: 73 </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple PCC: 82 </li></ul>
    22. 22. Conclusions <ul><li>Large impacts for many plant species, communities, and ecosystems in central B.C. are expected </li></ul><ul><li>Persistent climate corridors - a conceptually simple but powerful tool </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre and post-processing stages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Help focus conservation priorities </li></ul>
    23. 23. Thanks! <ul><li>Dr. Phil Burton, Supervisor </li></ul><ul><li>Drs. Chris Johnson and Brian Menounos, Committee Members </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Sybille Haeussler, External Examiner </li></ul><ul><li>Pierre Iachetti, Nature Conservancy of Canada </li></ul><ul><li>NSERC IPS, UNBC and Forest Investment Account’s Forest Science Program </li></ul><ul><li>The Canadian Forest Service </li></ul><ul><li>Friends and fellow grad students </li></ul>
    24. 24. Questions ??
    25. 25. Ecoregional assessment process <ul><li>Conservation blueprints and portfolios </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple inputs and stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Accomplish using Marxan </li></ul><ul><li>Steps include </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify and set goals for conservation targets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refine portfolios through expert review </li></ul></ul><ul><li>My focus: site selection and prioritization </li></ul>
    26. 26. Uncertainty <ul><li>Ubiquitous, many sources </li></ul><ul><li>Error and sensitivity analyses </li></ul><ul><li>Sources should be accounted for, SOME examples include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Source data e.g. sample size </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GCM and bioclimatic envelope modelling (BEM) limitations e.g. BEM does not consider biotic interactions, adaptation </li></ul></ul>
    27. 27. Limiting Climate Variables
    28. 28. Species response according to habitat type
    29. 29. ClimateBC/PP Variables <ul><li>MAT - mean annual temperature </li></ul><ul><li>MWMT - mean warmest month temperature </li></ul><ul><li>MCMT - mean coldest month temperature </li></ul><ul><li>TD - temperature difference between MCMT and MWMT (continentality) </li></ul><ul><li>MAP - mean annual precipitation </li></ul><ul><li>MSP - mean summer precipitation </li></ul><ul><li>AH:M - annual heat moisture index </li></ul><ul><li>SH:M - summer heat moisture index </li></ul><ul><li>DD<0 - degree days below 0C </li></ul><ul><li>DD>5 - degree days above 5C </li></ul><ul><li>DD5-100 - Julian date on which DD>5 reaches 100 </li></ul><ul><li>DD<18 - degree days below 18C </li></ul><ul><li>DD>18 - degree days above 18C </li></ul><ul><li>NFFD - number of frost-free days </li></ul><ul><li>FFP - frost-free period </li></ul><ul><li>bFFP - beginning of the frost-free period (Julian date) </li></ul><ul><li>eFFP - end of the frost-free period (Julian date) </li></ul><ul><li>PAS - precipitation as snow </li></ul><ul><li>EXT - extreme minimum temperature </li></ul>
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