Climate change threatens the most biodiverse regions of Mexico

Researchers assess climate vulnerability of 40 protected areas, finding only nine not predicted to lose all baseline climatic space

Data resources used via GBIF : 1,927,034 species occurrences
Tropidacris cristata
Tropidacris cristata observed in Holbox, Q.R., Mexico by Becky O'Neill. Photo via iNaturalist (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Climate change poses a major threat to global biodiversity, however, identifying and conserving potential stable climate refugia may help limit biodiversity losses.

Harbouring nearly 10 per cent of the world's biodiversity, Mexico is a megadiverse country. In this study, researchers focused on five bioclimatic variables to assess the vulnerability to climate change of 40 protected areas (PA) in Mexico. Using GBIF-mediated occurrences in the same areas, the authors analysed species richness and composition under current and future climates.

Their results showed temperature increases for all PAs, and for 31 PAs—habitat to more than 22,000 species—the climate will change completely by 2050. The remaining nine PAs are predicted to retain about half their baseline climatic space, and may to some degree constitute potential refugia.

Species composition varied among PAs and the most vulnerable appeared to cluster broadly in the central mountaineous regions and the tropical south-eastern Mexico. Considering all factors, the study points to los Tuxtlas as the most vulnerable and Tiburon Ballena as the least vulnerable.

Original article

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Beaumont LJ, Lenoir J, Baumgartner JB, McGowan J, Correa-Metrio A and Camac JS (2019) Climate change threatens the most biodiverse regions of Mexico. Biological Conservation. Elsevier BV 240: 108215. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108215