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Iberian lynx threatened by climate change
Date:7/22/2013

apture the dynamic and complex feedbacks of species interactions," says Dr Miguel Arajo, senior author and Spanish Research Council (CSIC) Senior Researcher at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid. "By developing new forecasting methods, we have managed, for the first time, to simulate demographic responses of lynx to spatial patterns of rabbit abundance conditioned by disease, climate change, and land use modification."

CSIC researcher at the Doana Biological Station in Seville, Dr Alejandro Rodrguez, says: "Habitat in the south-west of the Iberian Peninsula, where the two existing populations of lynx persist, is most likely to be inhospitable to lynx by the middle of this century." Current reintroduction plans are targeting the south of Spain and Portugal but survival of the species in the long term may require higher latitude and higher altitude regions on the Iberian Peninsula.

"That the numbers of Iberian lynx are currently increasing suggests that intensive management of habitat and rabbit populations have worked as effective short-term conservation strategies, but small population size means that the species is still threatened and susceptible to future population declines," says Professor Barry Brook, Chair of Climate Science at the University of Adelaide. "This means that the species is extremely vulnerable to shifts in habitat quality or to changes in the abundance of their rabbit prey due to climate change."

The researchers say climate-change-informed decisions should be a common part of conservation practice.


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Contact: Dr. Damien Fordham
damien.fordham@adelaide.edu.au
61-477-303-470
University of Adelaide
Source:Eurekalert

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