|•||Habitat Dynamics and Function|
|•||Species at Risk Recovery Planning|
|•||Ecological Risk Assessments|
|•||Climate Change and Biodiversity|
Effects of climate change on habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl
Cortex has recently undertaken an exploratory analysis of the risks posed to species’ habitat quality as a resulting climate change, using the Northern Spotted Owl as a case study.
Services: We first developed a conceptual model with 18 direct links between measures of vital rates and temperature and snow fall and 4 indirect links measures of vital rates and climate variables and 4 indirect links to prey density. Then, we used a quantitative, spatially explicit model (at 100m resolution for southern BC) that predicts owl habitat and population dynamics (Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Planning) as a function of broad climate regimes and landscape structure. We simulated the effect of climate change by (1) projecting one of the underlying modelled habitat attributes — biogeoclimatic sub-zone / variant through bioclimate envelope modeling, and (2) by manipulating the rate of stand replacing natural disturbance regimes.
Outcomes: Our approach identified zones of “management uncertainty” where current Northern Spotted Owl management reserves are most vulnerable to change, and highlighted how the efficacy of conservation areas may be diminished if we account for climate change over an 80 year period. Our results revealed some of the challenges in understanding species conservation management under climate change and our approach provides a forest management tool that offers potential methods to incorporate climate change assumptions into conservation planning.