Article: article from journal or magazin.
European human-dominated landscapes provide ample space for the recolonization of large carnivore populations under future land change scenarios
Europe is currently being re-colonized by large carnivore species such as brown bear Ursus arctos, Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx and grey wolf Canis lupus. Approximately one-third of Europe currently hosts at least one of these large carnivore species: they show permanent occurrence in some regions and sporadic occurrence without reproduction in others. We investigated potential future range expansions of these three large carnivores using three different analyses. First, we compared niche overlap between the historical, current permanent and current sporadic occurrences using n-dimensional hypervolumes. Second, we identified the environmental variables that best explain differences between current sporadic and permanent occurrences through multi-model inference. Third, we projected permanent occurrences into the future across a range of land-use change scenarios. We also determined future refuges (i.e. sub-optimal habitat in the environmental model, good habitat in the human disturbance model) and ecological traps (i.e. good habitat in the environmental model, sub-optimal habitat in the human disturbance model). In the three large carnivore species, ecological niche overlap was higher between historical and current permanent occurrences than between historical and current sporadic occurrences, and we also found low ecological niche overlap between current permanent and sporadic occurrences. Between 20 and 24% (corresponding to 86 800 to 173 200 km(2)) of the current sporadic occurrences could result in permanent settlement of large carnivores in the year 2040, while 17-24% (corresponding to 122 200 to 104 100 km(2)) and 2.7-4.6% (corresponding to 11 800 to 28 400 km(2)) of the current sporadic occurrences are likely to become refuges and ecological traps, respectively. Factors affecting range expansion are human activities, which were negatively related to permanent occurrences of all three species. In light of our results, human-dominated European landscapes provide ample space for the future recolonization of large carnivores.
Web of science
Last modification date