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Title: Using a spatial model of geodiversity to guide conservation within mountains at the pan-tropical-scale
Author: Parks, Kate
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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Literature review and past empirical work suggests that a resource based model of geodiversity may be a useful proxy for biodiversity within tropical mountains and could provide a valuable conservation planning tool. Here, geodiversity is defined as variation in overall resource availability, along with spatial and temporal (seasonal) variation in resource availability. Using freely available pan-tropical datasets at a 1 km resolution, a spatial model of geodiversity that is informed by an understanding of ecological processes was developed and tested before being used to address three research questions: 1. Is there a quantifiable relationship between geodiversity and biodiversity? 2. Do areas included in multiple conservation prioritisation schemes include a higher proportion of geodiversity than would be expected by chance? 3. What are the likely impacts of climate change on the spatial distribution of current geodiversity classes and what might be the implications of this with respect to the suitability of current protected area configuration in tropical mountains to protect geodiversity and thus biodiversity into the future? Some support for a relationship between geodiversity and biodiversity was found across a range of spatial aggregations and a variety of taxa, however a full validation of this relationship was not possible due to a lack of suitable validation data. It was found that areas rated as valuable on a greater number of conservation prioritisation schemes do not conserve a greater proportion of geodiversity or biodiversity than would be expected by coverage alone or from a random selection. The impacts of climate change on geodiversity were evaluated in terms of change from current conditions under three SRES scenarios and based on projected temperature and precipitation as a mean of five GCM. It was found that there will be significant changes to the current state of geodiversity by the period 2040-2060 and 2080-2100, with the most severe changes occurring by the 2040-2060 period. The implications of these findings are considered in detail for protected areas within Colombia and suggestions for climate change stable conservation strategies are made. It is concluded that the model of geodiversity proposed in this thesis has potential to become a useful conservation tool when considering the effectiveness of current protected areas, and changes in geodiversity due to climate change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available