Modelling Climate Change Impacts on Tropical Dry Forest Fauna

Kimberly Stephenson*, Byron Wilson, Michael Taylor, Kurt McLaren, Rick Van Veen, John Kunna, Jayaka Campbell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Tropical dry forests are among the most threatened ecosystems in the world, and those occurring in the insular Caribbean are particularly vulnerable. Climate change represents a significant threat for the Caribbean region and for small islands like Jamaica. Using the Hellshire Hills protected area in Jamaica, a simple model was developed to project future abundance of arthropods and lizards based on current sensitivities to climate variables derived from rainfall and temperature records. The abundances of 20 modelled taxa were predicted more often by rainfall variables than temperature, but both were found to have strong impacts on arthropod and lizard abundance. Most taxa were projected to decrease in abundance by the end of the century under drier and warmer conditions. Where an increase in abundance was projected under a low emissions scenario, this change was reduced or reversed under a high emissions climate change scenario. The validation process showed that, even for a small population, there was reasonable skill in predicting its annual variability. Results of this study show that this simple model can be used to identify the vulnerability of similar sites to the effects of shifting climate and, by extension, their conservation needs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4760
Number of pages24
JournalSustainability
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2022

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