Navigation Links
Biodiversity maps developed by UCSD scientists will help guide conservation measures in East Africa

Conservation biologists from UC San Diego are collaborating with scientists from the African Conservation Centre and other institutions to map patterns of biodiversity and land use in East Africa in unprecedented detail. Their maps, combined with climate models, will project how climate change will alter biodiversity and help to shape policy for setting aside conservation easements.

Wildlife, people and livestock have weathered past variation in climate by shifting their seasonal migration patterns though the varied of ecological zones in the Great Rift Valley, which runs through the center of Kenya and Tanzania.

"When you go from the bottom of the rift, it's almost desert. By the time you get up to the top, no more than 15-20 km away, it's rainforest," said David Western, adjunct professor of biology at UCSD, director of the African Conservation Centre in Nairobi and former director of Kenya Wildlife Service. "Previously this was communal land where people moved with the seasons and they moved with changing climates."

Now, as climate change is expected to shift the balance between habitats in this region, increased farming has fragmented the landscape, Western said. "It's removed the highland grazing for both livestock and wildlife. The crop residues can keep the livestock going, but it's a complete lockout for wildlife."

The project will identify areas that, if protected, would allow both wildlife and pastoralists to move to more favorable conditions as climate shifts. "What we want to do is identify key pathways where, working with landowners, you can actually keep the land open, through a conservation easement," Western said.

To determine how the centers of biological richness are likely to shift, UCSD biology assistant professor Walter Jetz and Daniel Kissling, a postdoctoral fellow, have mapped the ranges of 2,700 species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles across all of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

For each species, they have plotted an 'ecological envelope.' "Within those boundaries, we are likely to encounter those species," Jetz said. "With the distribution map, we can determine the species' climatic niche."

The next step, Jetz said, is to revise their maps using satellite images and field notes, to a finer scale. Their current maps are drawn to a 100 kilometer resolution. "You need some refinement if you want to be able to make predictions, so we are taking global maps and refining them to the scale of actual conservation decision-making: to a 10 or 20 km resolution," Jetz said.

Jetz's group's maps of animal diversity will be combined with those for plants and human land use to gain a fuller picture of how ranges and interactions between species are likely to shift under different climate changes. A plant and an animal may respond differently to the same climate shift, for example, causing their ranges to diverge until the two species no longer co-exist.

At a recent meeting at the University of York in the UK, participants in the project agreed to join their completed distribution maps in a single database, and to combine that multilayered map with two climate models one based on the minimum expected change and another that anticipates larger climate shifts to develop six future ecological scenarios for East Africa: two each for the years 2025, 2055 and 2085. These scenarios will inform decisions about setting aside additional reserves in Kenya and Tanzania.

"The organization David Western represents has close ties to the stakeholders in Kenya, and therefore there is hope that some of the findings will actually be implemented," Jetz said. "We sense a clear willingness in Kenya and Tanzania to put more reserves in place to mitigate the impacts of global change. For that they are looking to scientists for guidance. So we have a situation where good science can lead to significant basic insights and also make a difference for the people and their wildlife. We are very excited to be involved.


Contact: Susan Brown
University of California - San Diego

Related biology news :

1. BBVA Foundation Awards for Biodiversity Conservation
2. Smithsonian coral biodiversity survey of Panamas Pearl Islands
3. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity- TEEB
4. Biodiversity as a natural resource
5. Biodiversity -- its in the water
6. Rainfall and river networks prove accurate predictors of fish biodiversity
7. Brown scientists say biodiversity is crucial to ecosystem productivity
8. Conservation of freshwater fish biodiversity: a challenge for the countries of the South
9. Surprising discovery from first large-scale analysis of biodiversity and biogeography of viruses
10. Oil palm research in context: Identifying the need for biodiversity assessment
11. Markets of biodiversity and equity in trade: An illusion?
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Biodiversity maps developed by UCSD scientists will help guide conservation measures in East Africa
(Date:11/12/2015)... Mass. , Nov. 12, 2015  Arxspan ... Institute of MIT and Harvard for use of ... discovery information management tools. The partnership will support ... both biological and chemical research information internally and ... will be used for managing the Institute,s electronic ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... Nov. 10, 2015 About ... that helps to identify and verify the identity ... considered as the secure and accurate method of ... a particular individual because each individual,s signature is ... especially when dynamic signature of an individual is ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International has been awarded ... preclinical development services to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) ... provide scientific expertise, modern testing and support facilities, and ... pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate potential cancer prevention ... The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program is an NCI-supported ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... HOLLISTON, Mass. , Nov. 25, 2015 ... a biotechnology company developing bioengineered organ implants for life-threatening ... will present at the LD Micro "Main Event" investor ... PT. The presentation will be webcast live and posted ... also be available at the conference for one-on-one meetings ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. ... participate in a fireside chat discussion at the Piper ... York . The discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, ... .  A replay will be available for ... Stilwell  , Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications and Business ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. Bruce Clarke, of ... since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the ... of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass pathology in the department of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Copper is an essential ... bound to proteins, copper is also toxic to cells. With a $1.3 million ... (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of copper in the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa ...
Breaking Biology Technology: