Directions for integrating climate, land-use, and biodiversity change models.
Credit: Stefan Fallert

By Juliano Cabral, Alma Mendoza-Ponce, André Silva, Johannes Oberpriller, Anne Mimet, Julia Kieslinger, Thomas Berger, Jana Blechschmidt, Maximilian Broenner, Alice Classen, Stefan Fallert, Florian Hartig, Christian Hof, Markus Hoffman, Thomas Knoke, Andreas Krause, Anne Lewerentz, Perdita Pohle, Uta Raeder, Anja Rammig, Sarah Redlich, Sven Rubanschi, Christian Stetter, Wolfgang Weisser, Daniel Vedder, Peter Verburg, and Damaris Zurell.

Read the full paper here.

To realistically understand and predict climate change impacts on both land use and biodiversity at the regional scale, it is necessary to integrate modelling approaches for both land use and biodiversity that already integrate climate change effects. Based on approaches reviewed in this study, we found several opportunities for pairing models that can be attempted in future research due to the similarities of these models. Indeed, recent attempts of jointly modelling land use and biodiversity already led to novel insights into climate-land use-biodiversity relations, such as a decline in crop production when biodiversity change is explicitly considered. This exemplifies how combining both approaches is important because most current studies about effects of climate change on biodiversity still largely ignore changes in land use caused by climate change and most land-use models still ignore biodiversity aspects.

Among the research directions identified to jointly model land use and biodiversity under climate change at the regional level, we highlight: 1) making spatial and temporal resolution similar, 2) comparing direct and indirect effects of climate change on biodiversity, 3) simultaneously simulating land use and biodiversity by exchanging results during the simulation, and 4) ultimately feeding outcomes back into climate change predictions. For further integration of approaches, applications need to be developed to easily convert results of the models that differ in their properties to make the models more readily interoperable. Finally, land-use forecasts need to reach further into the future, while adequately reporting potential variation in the outcomes. Our perspectives foster the dialogue between modelling communities of both land use and biodiversity dynamics to assist this much needed development in predictive research with a holistic view.