WP4 - Assessment of Impacts on Biodiversity and Habitats
WP4 explores the effects of climate and land cover change on biodiversity and habitats. The speed and variability of forecast environmental change has complex implications for agricultural productivity via pollinator species, agricultural pests and their natural enemies, and thus severely challenges the adaptive capacity of rural communities. Moreover, biodiversity itself may be crucial for promoting the resilience of habitats to changes in climate and land use,and in providing vital ecosystem services such as potable water, nutrient and carbon cycling.
Addressing these issues requires integration of biological research, conservation planning and rural development, brought together by the development and application of state-of-the art modelling techniques. Regional climate projections will be generated under a range of IPCC emissions scenarios and GCM (global circulation model) boundary conditions. These data, and associated uncertainties, will be provided to other work packages so that climate change impacts on ecosystem services can be assessed.
Distributional information for flora and fauna will be collected at each CHIESA transect, and more broadly across the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot. Impacts of climate change will be assessed for key species (e.g., maize, coffee, crucifers and avocado) and their immediate trophic links (e.g., stem and berry borers). On a macro-ecological scale, predicted ecosystem shifts / habitat transitions will be assessed and reported in the context of internationally recognised frameworks. For mixed forest-crop ecosystems and specific forest crops (e.g., avocado), changes in carbon storage and sequestration rates under different climate and land use scenarios will be modelled.
In addition, WP4 will organise training courses for stakeholder partners at host institutions across East Africa, disseminating skills and tools necessary for understanding the impacts of climate change on East African montane ecosystems, and for building adaptive capacity among communities dependent on such ecosystems for their livelihoods.
The lead partner for WP4 is the York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems (KITE), based in the Environment Department at the University of York, United Kingdom.
Prof. Robert Marchant - WP Leader