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A methodology to assess the future connectivity of protected areas by combining climatic representativeness and land-cover change simulations: the case of the Guadarrama National Park (Madrid, Spain)

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journal contribution
posted on 16.09.2020 by M. Mingarro, F. Aguilera-Benavente, J. M. Lobo

Protected areas are fundamental in conservation, but their intactness is increasingly threatened by the effects of climate and land-cover changes. Here, a methodological procedure is proposed able to determine the representative climatic conditions of a protected area in central Spain (Guadarrama National Park) pinpointing the natural areas that will host future analogous conditions, but also assessing the effects of land-cover changes on the connectivity of these areas. Future conditions provided by two 2050 IPCC climatic change scenarios and land-cover change simulations were jointly used for this purpose. According to the results obtained, climate change will produce notable effects, displacing its representative climatic conditions as well as modifying the land cover in the neighboring localities. Three areas appear as fundamental for the future maintenance of this reserve: two within the Iberian Central System (Gredos Mountains and Ayllón Mountains) and one in the Iberian System (Urbión Mountains). The proposed approach can be implemented in any protected area to examine its capacity to represent in the future the environmental conditions for which it was created.