Species facing climate change could find help in odd place: urban environments
By Tufts University
When it comes to wildlife conservation efforts, urban environments could be far more helpful than we think, according to new research. A study published today in Ecology shows that animals move faster through ‘low quality’ habitats – evidence that could change the way conservationists think about managing landscapes to help species move in response to climate change. In light of the recent UN report indicating that 1 million species are threatened with extinction, the study provides a framework for definitive action to help preserve many species at risk. The work was carried out by researchers at Tufts University, University of Liverpool, Washington State University and the University of Ottawa.
For landscapes to facilitate range expansion, there is a balance to be struck between promoting movement with low-quality habitat (places where a species can survive, but does not have all the resources it needs to complete its life cycle) and promoting population growth with high-quality habitat. They conclude that low-quality habitats that meet a minimum standard could actually provide a benefit as conduits for movement.