Biodiversity Consequences of Global Climate Change in Mexico
Climate changes resulting from the buildup of atmostpheric CO2 are predicted to affect many facets of the Earth's environments, although the magnitude of many of these effects is unknown. This study seeks to integrate databases regarding the biodiversity of Mexico, thematic geographic data, up-to-date information from satellite imagery, and simple models of global climate change into a series of predictions of the effects of these changes on species of birds, mammals, and butterflies in the region, a first assessment of the biodiversity consequences of global climate change. Multiseasonal analysis of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) imagery will be used to produce a detailed regional vegetation map, which will be combined with existing environmental maps and data bases to characterize habitat types. Simple models of the effects of elevated CO2 and other agents of climate change will be used to mimic future shifts in the distribution and extent of vegetation types and habitats. Geographic distributions of individual species will be predicted based on characteristics of sites of known occurrence; based on the future-shift models developed from climate change projections, species' future distributions will be modeled, and extinctions and colonizations inferred. The overall result will be an assessment of the biodiversity consequences of anticipated climate change over the next several decades or centures in Mexico, as well as the development of several methods and models that will be useful to other investigators interested in similar and related issues.