Solomon Dobrowski, an associate professor of forest landscape ecology in UM's W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation, was part of a team that used high-performance computing methods to map "climate corridors." Climate corridors form the best route between current and future climate types. Because organisms need to avoid inhospitable climates, the corridors are often circuitous. Although previous studies have mapped climate connectivity areas over smaller regions, this is the first time scientists have mapped these areas over entire continents.
The researchers found that routes funneled along north-south trending passes and valley systems and along the leeward or drier slopes of north-south trending mountain ranges. Climate connectivity areas, where many potential dispersal routes overlap, often are distinct from protected areas and poorly captured by existing conservation strategies. Many of these merit increased levels of protection due to pressures from human land use.
Record - Evidence - Plants - Animals - Distances
"The paleo-ecological record provides clear evidence of plants and animals moving large distances in response to climate changes of the past, but those changes occurred over long time periods and without the human pressures we see now," Dobrowski said.
The researchers hope results from this study...
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