poppies 76129 1280 thumbThis paper published last week in PNAS highlights the global need to protect elevational gradients in order to protect mountain biodiversity under global change.

Mountain ranges are biodiversity hotspots, but this diversity is currently in danger as mountain species shift their ranges upwards in response to climate change. Protected areas covering elevational gradients can help maintain different dimensions of diversity and facilitate species range shifts.

In this article, the authors quantified and assessed the global protection of elevational gradients by analyzing the elevational distribution of over 40,000 protected areas in over 1,000 mountain ranges. They found the protection of elevational gradients to be generally well below optimal and uneven between continents. The authors therefore suggest strategic planning of protected areas to better cover and connect elevational gradients.

Elsen P.R., Monahan W.B., and Merenlender A.M. (2018). Global patterns of protection of elevational gradients in mountain ranges.

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