Group Co-Chairs: Guin Wogan and Johannes Penner
ASG Secretariat Lead Contact: Phil Bishop (pbishop[at]amphibians.org)
Amphibian habitats and populations sufficiently robust and adaptable to adapt to current and future climate change
All key amphibian habitats and populations restored or maintained to a healthy state, encompassing ecosystem diversity and adaptability, population dynamism and genetic diversity. Amphibian population management to be informed by adaptive models incorporating climate change and populations through close cooperation between amphibian researchers and modelling researchers.
Environmental changes affecting all regions the world and influence all organisms. Amphibians are one of the most sensitive groups to change, whether that is caused by habitat loss, invasive species, disease, trade or climate change. Nearly 33% of the amphibian species of the world are categorized as threatened on the Red List. Furthermore, given their complex life cycles and other traits, amphibians are often recognized as indicators of ecosystem health.
The vulnerability of tropical forests to climate variability and change has been highlighted (Condit 1998, IPPCC 2002, CBD 2003). However, these habitats are of particular importance for amphibian conservation due to the high amphibian diversity and also many endemic species they support. Other habitats may have an overall lower amphibian diversity but may be of global evolutionary significance, or regional or local importance for biodiversity. The continued delivery of many important ecosystem services is dependent upon the maintenance of biological diversity within these ecosystems. Thus, climate change impacts need to be considered for all ecosystems supporting amphibians.
At a habitat level actions are needed to maximize the resilience of natural systems, including ensuring habitat connectivity towards potential habitats suitable in the future (Julius and West 2008). Resilience is being compromised by climate change and uncertainty over future climate makes management plans difficult. Nevertheless, management needs to be flexible and diverse approaches will be required (Millar et al. 2007). The most immediate priority is to reduce short-term threats to achieve a vision of long-term adaptation (Perez et al 2005), in many cases the most immediate issue will be habitat alteration and fragmentation. Given the scale of the problems there is a need to prioritise species and ecosystems for conservation management. In addition certain overarching research issues need to be addressed before fully robust plans can be devised. Our ability to identify priorities and actions is limited by data availability on the precise climate change threats the diverse amphibian species face and on the most effective actions that can be taken. Data are needed on key habitats, sites and populations, on individual species vulnerabilities, the nature of present threats and on likely future threats. More complex issues also need to be investigated such as the synergies between threat factors, for example habitat alteration and fragmentation may reduce climate adaptability, or climate stress may be increasing amphibians’ susceptibility to disease. These are logical interactions but largely speculative at present.
Current Priority Actions
The following are immediate priorities identified by the Climate Change Working Group. These actions are expected to change as progress is made in addressing the issues. Certain issues may not have been addressed in the current planning process and therefore some actions might be currently omitted from this list.
|Major Constraints To Effective Conservation||Mid-term Priorities (1–5 years)||Short-term Targets (6–12 months)|
|We do not know which species of amphibian are most likely to be affected by climate change||Identify climate change vulnerabilities:
i. Assess the climate change vulnerability of each amphibian species
ii. Develop global and regional lists of taxa threatened by climate change
iii. Identify Key Areas for Amphibians Conservation at regional level with local involvement in prioritization. This should identify key ecosystems, sites and amphibian populations
iv. Produce a list of sites requiring immediate protection and/or restoration
|Identify set of high priority species & model the impacts under existing scenarios and future climate change models:
i. Identify a set of characteristics which make amphibians vulnerable to climate change
iii. Superimpose these characteristics to range restricted and or already threatened species to identify priority species
|The threats amphibians face from climate change are not well understood.||i. Review the data on the threats amphibians face from climate change in order to identify data gaps.
ii. Fill the identified data gaps through facilitation of research on the priority issues by universities, NGOs and local groups and ensuring open-access data sharing of this research.
|i. Summarise direct threats
ii. Identify possible synergistic threats needing research
iii. Outline possible threats
|We don’t have evidence-based solutions to counter the effects of climate change for amphibians||Identify potential solutions to the effects of climate change||Identify any clear solutions to the effects of cimate change and outline possibilities for further investigation|
|It is likely that many amphibian-rich areas will be affected by climate change resulting in potential species extinction.||Protect and manage the identified key sites and species, addressing the vulnerabilities identified|
|Climate change is likely affecting amphibian species quicker than we can find solutions to this issue.||Establish ex-situ breeding programmes of priority species likely to lose suitable habitat before effective climate change mediation can be implemented||Develop list of most vulnerable species (see Science section above)|
|The effects of climate change need to be widely understood to gain support for action.||Communication of the issues to the amphibian community and wider pubic will be necessary to publicise the issues and the need for action through the identified solutions.||Develop communication tools to engage individuals in amphibian climate change issues|
ACAP related chapters
Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss, and Amphibian Declines (A. Pounds, A.C.O.Q. Carnaval and S. Corn).
Read the whole ACAP here.
CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity). 2003. Interlink ages between biological diversity and climate change: advice on the integration of biodiversity considerations into the implementation of the United Nations framework convention on climate change and its Kyoto Protocol. Montreal, CA.
Condit R. 1998. Ecological implications of changes in drought patterns: shifts in forest composition in Panama. Climatic Change (39) 413–427
IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 2001. Climate change 2001: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Third Assessment. In Climate Change 2001. Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Julius, S.H. y West, J.M. (eds.) 2008 Preliminary review of adaptation options for climate-sensitive ecosystems and resources. A Report by the US Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. 873p.
Millar, C.I., Stephenson, N.L. y Stephens, S.L. 2007 Climate change and forests of the future: managing in the face of uncertainty. Ecological Applications 17(8): 2145–2151.
Pérez j. Carlos, Locatelli B, Vignola R, Imbach P. 2005. Importancia de los bosques tropicales en las políticas de adaptación al cambio climático. Recursos Naturales y Ambiente/no. (51-52) 4-11pp.