Biodiversity at tropical latitudes is notably great and increasingly threatened by habitat loss and the direct or indirect effects of climate change. Estimates vary but there is reasonably strong evidence that current rates of species extinction and local extirpations are historically high and increasing. Habitat loss and fragmentation owing to agriculture drives much of this trend and the large-scale loss of forest habitat to crops such as palm oil and soy is especially concerning. Evidence is emerging that changes in precipitation regimes at tropical latitudes may also pose a significant threat to tropical ecosystems. A trend toward more severe seasonal drought and xeric conditions is predicted for large regions of the tropics and, while data are few, this will likely challenge the viability of many animal populations and communities. Dryer conditions may be especially severe in regions where deforestation and agriculture dominant land use. These issues motivate the need for close communication and joint research agendas among conservationists, climate modelers, and agribusiness.
- climate change
- habitat fragmentation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nature and Landscape Conservation