Recalculating route: dispersal constraints will drive the redistribution of Amazon primates in the Anthropocene

17 July 2019

Sales, Lilian; Ribeiro, Bruno; Pires, Mathias; Chapman, Colin; Loyola, Rafael

Climate change will redistribute the global biodiversity in the Anthropocene. As climates change, species might move from one place to another, due to local extinctions and colonization of new environments. However, the existence of permeable migratory routes precedes faunal migrations in fragmented landscapes. Here, we investigate how dispersal will affect the outcome of climate change on the distribution of Amazon’s primate species.

We modeled the distribution of 80 Amazon primate species, using ecological niche models, and projected their potential distribution on scenarios of climate change. Then, we imposed landscape restrictions to primate dispersal, derived from a natural biogeographical barrier to primates (the main tributaries of the Amazon river) and an anthropogenic constraint to the migration of many canopy-dependent animals (deforested areas). We also highlighted potential conflict zones, i.e. regions of high migration potential but predicted to be deforested.

Species response to climate change varied across dispersal limitation scenarios. If species could occupy all newly suitable climate, almost 70% of species could expand ranges. Including dispersal barriers (natural and anthropogenic), however, led to range expansion in only less than 20% of the studied species. When species were not allowed to migrate, all of them lost an average of 90% of the suitable area, suggesting that climate may become unsuitable within their present distributions.

All Amazon primate species may need to move as climate changes, to avoid deleterious effects of exposure to non-analog climates. The effect of climate change on the distribution of Amazon primates will ultimately depend on whether landscape permeability will allow climate-driven faunal migrations. The network of protected areas in the Amazon could work as “stepping stones” but most are outside important migratory routes. Therefore, protecting important dispersal corridors is foremost to allow effective migrations of the Amazon fauna in face of climate change and deforestation.

Doi
10.1111/ecog.04499