Vulnerability of Species to Climate Change in the Southwest: Threatened, Endangered, and At-Risk Species at the Barry M. Goldwater Range, Arizona
Posted byCakeX Site Admin
Future climate change is anticipated to result in ecosystem changes, and consequently, many species are expected to become increasingly vulnerable to extinction. This scenario is of particular concern for threatened, endangered, and at-risk species (TER-S) or other rare species. The response of species to climate change is uncertain and will be the outcome of complex interactions and processes. Nevertheless, a simple flexible strategy is needed to help integrate climate change into management planning and actions. This assessment uses SAVS, an assessment tool based on ecological principals, to rank individual species of interest within the eastern portion of the Barry M. Goldwater Range, Arizona, according to predicted climate change responses and associated population declines balanced with responses expected to incur resilience or population increases. Further, specific areas of vulnerability, research needs, and management implications are identified for each species in detailed species accounts. Based solely on predicted response to climate change, Sonoran pronghorn (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis) and desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) are the most vulnerable to population declines. Results also suggest that climate change will make management of some TER-S species more difficult. Several critical management areas are identified that can mitigate negative impacts to benefit multiple species, including fire and fuels, invasive species, natural and artificial waters, and landscape-scale planning. Management planning should be in place that will assist species impacted by extreme events such as prolonged drought, severe wildfires, and/or intense flooding. The assessment process was also used to identify areas where climate change may present opportunities, as opposed to challenges, for species management.