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Climate change impacts on the distribution of key tree species used by endemic lion tamarins in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest: applications to conservation
The aim of this study is to understand how lion tamarins and their habitat might be affected by climate change by focusing on whether and how the distribution of their key tree species might shift. In a context where future climate conditions are likely to change, whether lion tamarins’ key fruiting and sleeping-site tree species could even encounter propitious conditions for growth is a first question, and whether this possible migration would be helped or hindered by natural processes of seed dispersal and regeneration is another. We will be using a dynamic vegetation model (DVM) called CARAIB to understand the tree species’ response to climate change. Responding to critiques of DVMs, our objective is to improve the model to include plant-animal interactions in the form of seed dispersal by tamarins, as well as overlaying the results on land-use maps to support conservation practitioners in their efforts to conserve vital areas for tamarin conservation. All four species of lion tamarins are endangered due to severe habitat loss and fragmentation. They are also subject to pressure from hunting, with their vulnerability increasing with habitat degradation, which favours human mobility. Lion tamarins are frugivores, and sleep in tree holes. Several studies show that at least two species (golden-headed lion tamarins, L. chrysomelas and golden lion tamarins, L. rosalia) are effective seed dispersers and disseminators. Modelling climate change impacts on the primates themselves is not possible, given their highly localised distribution, but it is possible to model impact on tree species constituting their habitat, which are vital for their survival.
Date:1 Sep 2013 → 20 Jun 2019