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Predicting the future impact of droughts on ungulate populations in arid and semi-arid environments

Duncan, Clare, Chauvenet, Aliénor L. M., McRae, Louise M. and Pettorelli, Nathalie 2012, Predicting the future impact of droughts on ungulate populations in arid and semi-arid environments, PLoS one, vol. 7, no. 12, pp. 1-9, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051490.

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Title Predicting the future impact of droughts on ungulate populations in arid and semi-arid environments
Author(s) Duncan, Clare
Chauvenet, Aliénor L. M.
McRae, Louise M.
Pettorelli, Nathalie
Journal name PLoS one
Volume number 7
Issue number 12
Article ID e51490
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2012-12-17
ISSN 1932-6203
Summary Droughts can have a severe impact on the dynamics of animal populations, particularly in semi-arid and arid environments where herbivore populations are strongly limited by resource availability. Increased drought intensity under projected climate change scenarios can be expected to reduce the viability of such populations, yet this impact has seldom been quantified. In this study, we aim to fill this gap and assess how the predicted worsening of droughts over the 21st century is likely to impact the population dynamics of twelve ungulate species occurring in arid and semi-arid habitats. Our results provide support to the hypotheses that more sedentary, grazing and mixed feeding species will be put at high risk from future increases in drought intensity, suggesting that management intervention under these conditions should be targeted towards species possessing these traits. Predictive population models for all sedentary, grazing or mixed feeding species in our study show that their probability of extinction dramatically increases under future emissions scenarios, and that this extinction risk is greater for smaller populations than larger ones. Our study highlights the importance of quantifying the current and future impacts of increasing extreme natural events on populations and species in order to improve our ability to mitigate predicted biodiversity loss under climate change.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0051490
Field of Research 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
MD Multidisciplinary
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2012, Duncan et al.
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30102925

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.