Predicting and mitigating future biodiversity loss using long-term ecological proxies

Damien A. Fordham*, H. Resit Akçakaya, John Alroy, Frédérik Saltré, Tom M L Wigley, Barry W. Brook

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Uses of long-term ecological proxies in strategies for mitigating future biodiversity loss are too limited in scope. Recent advances in geochronological dating, palaeoclimate reconstructions and molecular techniques for inferring population dynamics offer exciting new prospects for using retrospective knowledge to better forecast and manage ecological outcomes in the face of global change. Opportunities include using fossils, genes and computational models to identify ecological traits that caused species to be differentially prone to regional and range-wide extinction, test if threatened-species assessment approaches work and locate habitats that support stable ecosystems in the face of shifting climates. These long-term retrospective analyses will improve efforts to predict the likely effects of future climate and other environmental change on biodiversity, and target conservation management resources most effectively.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)909-916
    Number of pages8
    JournalNature Climate Change
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2016


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