Integrating past and future models to mitigate the impact of global change on biodiversity
Recent studies have predicted dramatic declines in biodiversity in the face of projected climate change and habitat destruction1. However, these studies have primarily been based on models of species’ current climatic tolerances, which disregards life’s evolving capacity. A better understanding of historical responses to the challenges and opportunities of climate and landscape changes may allow “hindcasting” life’s response to change in the past and forecasting how it may respond to future change. This project applied recently developed statistical approaches, robust time-calibrated phylogenetic trees, rich species occurrence data, and remote sensing techniques to develop a general predictive framework for biodiversity responses. Our approach (learning from the past to predict the future) was transdisciplinary and has been seldom explored. We contribute to BECC’s mission by providing empirical validation of novel methodology with potential for designing strategies for conservation and landscape planning.