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Bioenergy cropland expansion may offset positive effects of climate change mitigation for global vertebrate diversity
Christian Hof, Alke Voskampa, Matthias F. Bibera, Katrin Böhning-Gaesea, Eva Katharina Engelhardt, Aidin Niamira, Stephen G. Willisc, and Thomas Hickler
Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), 60325 Frankfurt, Germany; bTerrestrial Ecology Research Group, Technical University of Munich, 85354 Freising, Germany; cDepartment of Biosciences, Durham University, DH1 3LE Durham, United Kingdom; dDepartment of Biological Sciences, Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt, 60438 Frankfurt, Germany; and eDepartment of Physical Geography, Geosciences, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Edited by Christopher B. Field, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, and approved November 6, 2018 (received for review May 27, 2018)
Climate and land-use change interactively affect biodiversity. Large- scale expansions of bioenergy have been suggested as an important component for climate change mitigation. Here we use harmonized climate and land-use projections to investigate their potential com- bined impacts on global vertebrate diversity under a low- and a high- level emission scenario. We combine climate-based species distribu- tion models for the world’s amphibians, birds, and mammals with land-use change simulations and identify areas threatened by both climate and land-use change in the future. The combined projected effects of climate and land-use change on vertebrate diversity are similar under the two scenarios, with land-use change effects being stronger under the low- and climate change effects under the high- emission scenario. Under the low-emission scenario, increases in bio- energy cropland may cause severe impacts in biodiversity that are not compensated by lower climate change impacts. Under this low- emission scenario, larger proportions of species distributions and a higher number of small-range species may become impacted by the combination of land-use and climate change than under the high- emission scenario, largely a result of bioenergy cropland expansion. Our findings highlight the need to carefully consider both climate and land-use change when projecting biodiversity impacts. We show that biodiversity is likely to suffer severely if bioenergy cropland expansion remains a major component of climate change mitigation strategies. Our study calls for an immediate and significant reduction in energy consumption for the benefit of both biodiversity and to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
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