Effect of Climate and Land-Use Changes on a Threatened Forest Resident Bird

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Effect of Climate and Land-Use Changes on a Threatened Forest Resident Bird


Nature reserves play an important role in habitat conservation for wild endangered species [54,55]. However, the effectiveness of nature reserves in safeguarding endangered species largely depends on the proportion of the distribution range for threatened species encompassed by these nature reserves [16,54,55]. In our study, on average, less than 15% of the suitable habitat area of Syrmaticus reevesii was covered by the National Nature Reserve Network of China (NNR). Our results further demonstrated that the area decrease ratio of Syrmaticus reevesii was significantly lower inside than outside the NNR under climate and land-use changes. Inside the NNR, Syrmaticus reevesii were predicted to lose 21.64% (for SDMWT) and 37.05% (for SDMT) of their current ranges, on average. In contrast, outside the NNR, Syrmaticus reevesii were predicted to lose more than 50% of their current distribution space on average (62.97% for SDMWT and 72.60% for SDMT). These results indicate that NNRs can effectively decrease the extinction risk of Syrmaticus reevesii under climate and land-use changes. A previous study indicated that a high portion of refugia habitats are found within existing protected areas, with NNRs being one important type of protected area [56]. Therefore, NNRs can serve as potential refugia for Syrmaticus reevesii under climate and land-use changes [57], and reduce the negative impact of climate and land-use changes on Syrmaticus reevesii. Meanwhile, climate and land-use changes will cause Syrmaticus reevesii to lose most of its original habitat. These findings suggest that it is urgent to increase and expand the nature reserve networks in China [16,58]. Additionally, given their very limited capacity for long-distance dispersal, Syrmaticus reevesii may face a high extinction risk in the future. Therefore, other conservation strategies, such as ex situ conservation, should be carried out. Taken together, future conservation management for threatened birds should take into account the potential impact of climate and land-use changes under topographical constraints. Therefore, rapidly reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases is ultimately the best solution to the impacts of climate change on threatened species like Syrmaticus reevesii. Furthermore, it is also essential to adjust and develop nature reserve networks and conservation strategies to cope with rapid global environmental change.

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