Scenario studies can offer the structure and perspective needed to understand the impacts of change and help inform management and conservation decisions. We implemented a scenario-based approach to assess how two high impact drivers of landscape change influence the distributions of managed wildlife species (n = 10) in the New England region of the northeastern United States. We used expert derived species distribution models (SDM) and scenarios developed by the New England Landscape Futures Project (NELFP) to estimate species future distributions under various trajectories (n = 5) of landscape change. The NELFP scenarios were built around two primary drivers – Socio-Economic Connectedness (SEC) and Natural Resource Planning and Innovation (NRPI) – and provide plausible alternatives for how the New England region may change over fifty years (2010 to 2060). Our scenario-based distribution projections generally resulted in species occurrence and richness declines by 2060.
Our objectives were to (1) Estimate and map the future distributions of 10 wildlife species under five alternative scenarios (from the NELFP), and assess regional species richness patterns; (2) Quantify changes in species distributions under each scenario; and (3) Evaluate how social drivers of landscape change (i.e., SEC and NRPI) impact distribution change for wildlife species.
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Start date: 2016-05-01