Beyond predictions: Biodiversity conservation in a changing climate

Terence P. Dawson, Stephen T. Jackson, Joanna I. House, Iain Colin Prentice, Georgina M. Mace

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    1322 Citations (Scopus)


    Climate change is predicted to become a major threat to biodiversity in the 21st century, but accurate predictions and effective solutions have proved difficult to formulate. Alarming predictions have come from a rather narrow methodological base, but a new, integrated science of climate-change biodiversity assessment is emerging, based on multiple sources and approaches. Drawing on evidence from paleoecological observations, recent phenological and microevolutionary responses, experiments, and computational models, we review the insights that different approaches bring to anticipating and managing the biodiversity consequences of climate change, including the extent of species' natural resilience. We introduce a framework that uses information from different sources to identify vulnerability and to support the design of conservation responses. Although much of the information reviewed is on species, our framework and conclusions are also applicable to ecosystems, habitats, ecological communities, and genetic diversity, whether terrestrial, marine, or fresh water.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)53-58
    Number of pages6
    Issue number6025
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


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