Landscape-Scale Conservation And Management Of Montane Wildlife: Contemporary Climate May Be Changing The Rules
- Scientific Disciplines
- Biological Sciences - Terrestrial
- Evolutionary Biology
- Oregon Climate Change Research Institute
- Beever, Erik A.
- Ray, Chris
- Wilkening, Jennifer L.
- Mote, Philip W.
- Brussard, Peter F.
- Volume 17, No. 1-4
Landscape-scale conservation and management of
Montane wildlife: Contemporary climate may be
Changing the rules
Erik A. Beever,* U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, Bozeman,
Chris Ray, University of Colorado, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Boulder,
Jennifer L. Wilkening, University of Colorado, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology,
Boulder, Colorado 80309
Philip W. Mote, Oregon Climate Change Research Institute and Oregon Climate Services, College
of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331
Peter F. Brussard, University of Nevada, Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation
Biology, Reno, Nevada 89557
Both paleontological and contemporary results have suggested that montane ecosystems
to be systems of relatively rapid faunal change compared to many valley-bottom counterparts.
In addition to experiencing greater magnitudes of contemporary change in climatic parameters
than species in other ecosystems, mountain-dwelling wildlife must also accommodate often-
greater intra-annual swings in temperature and wind speeds, poorly developed soils, and
generally harsher conditions. Research on a mountain-dwelling mammal species across 15
yrs of contemporary data and historical records from 1898-1956 suggest that pace of local
extinctions and rate of upslope retraction have been markedly more rapid and governed by
markedly different dynamics in the last decade than during the 20th century. This may mean
that understanding past dynamics of species losses may not always help predict patterns of
future loss. Given the importance of clinal variability and ecotypic variation, phenotypic
plasticity, behavioral plasticity, and variation in climatic conditions, for widely-distributed
species’ geographic ranges to be determined by different factors in different portions of their
range is not uncommon. Consequently, greatest progress in understanding distributional-
change phenomena will occur with coordinated, landscape-scale research and monitoring.
Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and Climate Science Centers are newly emerging
efforts that may contribute greatly to such broad-scale investigations, e.g., climate-wildlife
relationships. Based on our empirical findings and our review of related literature, we propose
tenets that may serve as foundational starting points for mechanism-based research at broad
scales to inform management and conservation of diverse montane wildlife and the ecosystem
components with which they interact.