BUILDING AN ARC IN THE ANTHROPOCENE: APPLYING PRINCIPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESILIENCE TO IMPROVE SINGLE-SPECIES CONSERVATION PLANNING IN AN ERA OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Bale, Shannon Lindsay
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Habitat loss and fragmentation have precipitated a mass extinction. Therefore, maintaining a functionally connected habitat network is an effective response to biodiversity loss. However, climate change poses challenges for conservation planning, as areas that are protected for unique biodiversity values may not retain those values in the face of shifting temperature and precipitation regimes. Furthermore, range shift predictions can be notoriously uncertain, and planning efforts that seek to achieve broad species representation are unlikely to confer sufficient protection to individual species. In this thesis, I addressed 2 key limitations that challenge single-species conservation planning: variable reliability of presence-only species distribution models (SDMs) and uncertainty of conservation plans developed for an era of climate change. Specifically, I performed 3 studies that investigated (1) parameterization choices in Maximum Entropy (Maxent) presence-only modeling, (2) the use of resilient topographic features as covariates in models, and (3) strategies to reduce uncertainty in conservation planning.