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Transnational conservation to anticipate future plant shifts in Europe

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To meet the COP15 biodiversity framework in the European Union (EU), one target is to protect 30% of its land by 2030 through a resilient transnational conservation network. The European Alps are a key hub of this network hosting some of the most extensive natural areas and biodiversity hotspots in Europe. Here we assess the robustness of the current European reserve network to safeguard the European Alps’ flora by 2080 using semi-mechanistic simulations. We first highlight that the current network needs strong readjustments as it does not capture biodiversity patterns as well as our conservation simulations. Overall, we predict a strong shift in conservation need through time along latitudes, and from lower to higher elevations as plants migrate upslope and shrink their distribution. While increasing species, trait and evolutionary diversity, migration could also threaten 70% of the resident flora. In the face of global changes, the future European reserve network will need to ensure strong elevation and latitudinal connections to complementarily protect multifaceted biodiversity beyond national borders.

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Published in Climate-ADAPT Jan 24 2024   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Jan 24 2024

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