Combined speeds of climate and land-use change of the conterminous US until 2050

Alejandro Ordonez, Sebastián Martinuzzi, Volker C Radeloff, John W Williams

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48 Citations (Scopus)


High rates of climate and land-use changes threaten biodiversity and ecosystem function, creating a need for integrated assessments and planning at regional to global scales. We develop a new approach to measure multivariate estimates of climate and land-use change that builds on recently developed measures of climate velocity and apply it to assess the combined speeds of climate and land use for the conterminous US from 2001 to 2051. The combined speeds of climate and land-use change are highest in a broad north-to-south swath in the central US and in parts of the intermountain west. Climate speeds are roughly an order of magnitude higher than land-use speeds in most regions, but land-use speed is particularly high in the Appalachians and north-central forests. Joint speeds are low across much of the intermountain west. Our results highlight areas expected to be most vulnerable to changes in biodiversity and ecosystem function due to the individual or combined effects of climate and land-use change. The integration of climate and land-use scenarios suggests different conservation prioritization strategies from climate velocities and species alone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-816
JournalNature Climate Change
Issue number9
Early online date17 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


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