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The future of terrestrial mammals in the Mediterranean basin under climate change

Luigi Maiorano, Alessandra Falcucci, Niklaus E. Zimmermann, Achilleas Psomas, Julien Pottier, Daniele Baisero, Carlo Rondinini, Antoine Guisan, Luigi Boitani
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Journal Article
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The Mediterranean basin is considered a hotspot of biological diversity with a long history of modification of natural ecosystems by human activities, and is one of the regions that will face extensive changes in climate. For 181 terrestrial mammals (68% of all Mediterranean mammals), we used an ensemble forecasting approach to model the future (approx. 2100) potential distribution under climate change considering five climate change model outputs for two climate scenarios. Overall, a substantial number of Mediterranean mammals will be severely threatened by future climate change, particularly endemic species. Moreover, we found important changes in potential species richness owing to climate change, with some areas (e.g. montane region in central Italy) gaining species, while most of the region will be losing species (mainly Spain and North Africa). Existing protected areas (PAs) will probably be strongly influenced by climate change, with most PAs in Africa, the Middle East and Spain losing a substantial number of species, and those PAs gaining species (e.g. central Italy and southern France) will experience a substantial shift in species composition.

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