Article

Human-driven habitat conversion is a more immediate threat to Amboseli elephants than climate change

Citation

Boult VL, Fishlock V, Quaife T, Hawkins E, Moss C, Lee PC & Sibly RM (2019) Human-driven habitat conversion is a more immediate threat to Amboseli elephants than climate change. Conservation Science and Practice. https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.87

Abstract
Global ecosystem change presents a major challenge to biodiversity conservation, which must identify and prioritize the most critical threats to species persistence given limited available funding. Mechanistic models enable robust predictions under future conditions and can consider multiple stressors in combination. Here we use an individual‐based model (IBM) to predict elephant population size in Amboseli, southern Kenya, under environmental scenarios incorporating climate change and anthropogenic habitat loss. The IBM uses projected food availability as a key driver of elephant population dynamics and relates variation in food availability to changes in vital demographic rates through an energy budget. Habitat loss, rather than climate change, represents the most significant threat to the persistence of the Amboseli elephant population in the 21st century and highlights the importance of collaborations and agreements that preserve space for Amboseli elephants to ensure the population remains resilient to environmental stochasticity.

Keywords
climate change; conservation planning; elephants; habitat loss; individual‐based model

Notes
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online

Journal
Conservation Science and Practice

StatusPublished
FundersNatural Environment Research Council
Publication date online04/07/2019
Date accepted by journal18/06/2019
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/29838
PublisherWiley
ISSN2578-4854
eISSN2578-4854