Research, Connect, Protect




Prioritizing Regions to Conserve a Specialist Folivore: Considering Probability of Occurrence, Food Resources, and Climate Change 

Christine Adams-Hosking1,5,6, Clive A. McAlpine1,2,6, Jonathan R. Rhodes1,2,4,6, Patrick T. Moss1, & Hedley S. Grantham2,3

1The University of Queensland, Landscape Ecology and Conservation Group, School of Geography, Planning, and Environmental Management, Brisbane, Qld, 4072, Australia

2The University of Queensland, The Ecology Centre, Brisbane, Qld, 4072, Australia

3Conservation International, 2011 Crystal Drive Suite 500, Arlington, VA, USA

4ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld, 4072, Australia

5Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld, 4072, Australia

6Environmental Decisions Group, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld, 4072, Australia


For species that are increasingly threatened by the combined impacts of habitat loss and climate change, the identification of priority regions for conservation planning efforts is urgently required. In the case of specialist folivores, consideration of the effects of climate change on the distributions of their essential food resources should be a key component of conservation planning. The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) was listed in 2012 as vulnerable under Australian Commonwealth Government law. Here, we incorporate species distribution models for the koala, an arboreal marsupial, and its specialized food resources, to identify broad-scale priority conservation regions. We demonstrate a spatial prioritization approach that informs conservation planning and that links the shifting distribution of this declining species and its critical food resources under climate change. We find that the inclusion of food plants affected the identification of priority regions for conserving koalas, and that priority regions for the conservation of this species are predicted to shift considerably, often outside the current range of this species, posing additional challenges for its conservation.

  • All
  • 2013
  • Biogeography
  • Biology
  • Chlamydia
  • Diet
  • Disease
  • Ecology
  • Ellis
  • Eucalyptus
  • Genetics
  • Habitat
  • Infection
  • Interventions
  • Koala
  • Lunney
  • Threats
  • Timms
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