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Network Analysis of Terrestrial Wetlands Identifies Five Classes of Climate Risk
  • Hyeyeong Choe,
  • James Thorne,
  • Allan Hollander
Hyeyeong Choe
Kangwon National University
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James Thorne
University of California Davis
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Allan Hollander
University of California Davis
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Abstract

Climate change puts the habitat functions of wildlife conservation areas at risk. Conservation areas managed for wetlands can be considered a network, permitting the tracking of current climate conditions within the network under projected future climates. A climate classification of the nodes in such a network can help the selection among multiple conservation management strategies based on their relative climate-connectedness. We examined wetlands in 48 US National Wildlife Refuges and mapped their climate networks to permit the incorporation of climate linkages. Using four climate projections, we found five climatic classes of wetlands: three are climatically stable; four are climate hubs, becoming climatically similar to current climate conditions of many other units; three whose current climate appear in many refuges; 8-16 whose climate conditions appear in only one other unit; and 10-25 are climatically isolated. The relative isolation of wetlands makes them particularly appropriate for network-based climate assessments.