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Combining expert‐based and computational approaches to design protected river networks under climate change

Abstract : Aim: Estimate the current and future distribution of brown trout and identify priority areas for conservation of the species. Location: Rhône River basin and Mediterranean streams. Methods: We first developed a spatially explicit species distribution model to es- timate the current and future distribution of brown trout for three time horizons (2030, 2055 and 2080) and two climate change scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5). We then performed a prioritization analysis to identify priority areas for brown trout conservation, accounting for: (a) spatial dependencies along the riverine system, (b) several sources of uncertainty arising from climate-related forecasts and (c) different protected area scenarios by comparing hypothetical, optimal protected networks to an actual protected network designed by regional fish experts. Results: Future projections of brown trout densities exhibited a general trend to- wards a gradual range contraction, with a significant risk of extirpation across moun- tainous regions of low to mid-elevation. Overall, the projected current and future distributions were well-covered by the existing protected network. In addition, up to 70% of the river reaches included in this expert-based protection network were also priorities in the optimal priority set (e.g. the best set of areas to maximize biodiversity protection). Finally, a large proportion of these reaches were invariably identified re- gardless of climate change scenarios and uncertainties or spatial dependencies. Main conclusions: Our analytical approach highlighted priority areas for brown trout conservation which were robust to a set of climate and connectivity assumptions. This core priority network could be further refined by taking into account key fine- scale processes like thermal refugia. Therefore, we advocate for combining computa- tional and expert-based approaches in conservation planning of riverine ecosystems to achieve a relevant consensus between regional-scale management and fine-grain ecological knowledge.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03394897
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Submitted on : Monday, June 20, 2022 - 6:58:15 AM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 10:29:53 AM

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Mathieu Floury, Laura Pollock, Laëtitia Buisson, Wilfried Thuiller, André Chandesris, et al.. Combining expert‐based and computational approaches to design protected river networks under climate change. Diversity and Distributions, Wiley, 2021, 27, pp.2428-2440. ⟨10.1111/ddi.13411⟩. ⟨hal-03394897⟩

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