Key findings: Monitoring the impacts of climate change on species should be built upon existing monitoring systems, but should also consider additional factors specific to climate issues. Recommendations are provided for the monitoring of species at the five transboundary pilot sites, in particular for those considered vulnerable to climate change and/or globally threatened.
Recommendations for strategies to monitor the impacts of climate change on species at the five transboundary pilot sites were developed on the basis of consultations with national and international species experts.
Information is provided on a) the methods used to identify the species most vulnerable to climate change at both the regional and site scales, b) the importance of monitoring species in the context of climate change, and c) specific recommendations for species monitoring at the five transboundary pilot sites.
The impacts of climate change on biodiversity and the societies that depend on it are likely to be predominantly negative. Species may experience the following as a result of climate change: changes to their habitats or microhabitats, changes in environmental factors beyond tolerable thresholds, disruptions to important interspecific interactions, the emergence or increase of negative interspecific interactions, the disruption of important environmental cues or triggers, and increases in the frequency of local extinctions. Species that are sensitive and exposed to such changes might be expected to respond in one of two ways: (i) to disperse to areas where the environment is more suitable, or (ii) to adapt to change in situ. Species that are unable to respond in such a way (e.g., due to low genetic variability, low reproductive output, the presence of barriers that prevent dispersal and/or a low intrinsic capacity for dispersal) are those species that are considered vulnerable to climate change.
Biodiversity monitoring is widely conducted as a means to detect changes in natural systems and to assess the requirements and effectiveness of management actions. There is now an urgent need to monitor the impacts of climate change on species, so that managers may respond to this emerging threat in the most timely and effective manner. In many cases, the monitoring of climate change impacts on species can and should be built upon existing monitoring schemes, but certain additional considerations must be taken into account when developing a monitoring strategy to specifically look at climate change impacts:
1. It is essential to monitor over a long time period;
2. In addition to monitoring biodiversity, it is important to monitor the actual climate;
3. Any monitoring effort needs to set its objectives prior to developing the sampling protocol, as the former will greatly influence the latter;
4. When selecting the species (or species groups) for monitoring, the following questions should be asked: Is there already a monitoring scheme in place? Should I monitor one, several or many species? Are there any other factors at work that may disguise the impacts of climate change? Is my focal species sufficiently observable to detect a population trend?
Specific recommendations for species monitoring at the five transboundary pilot sites are summarized below.
Sena Oura National Park (Chad) and Boubba Ndjidda (Cameroon)
It is recommended to prioritize the monitoring of amphibian species, such as the frog Afrixalus quadrivittatus, reptiles such as the blue-tailed skink Trachylepis quinquetaeniata, bats (Eidolon helvum, Hipposideros ruber and Lavia frons) and freshwater fish (ray-finned fish Brycinus nurse and freshwater sole Dagetichthys lakdoensis), in combination with monitoring of climatic factors (temperature and precipitation), along with habitat availability and quality for these species.
Carr, J. 2015. Recommandations pour le suivi des espèces pour l'aire transfrontalière du Parc National de Sena Oura (Tchad) et du Parc National de Boubba Ndjidda (Cameroun). UNEP-WCMC technical report.
Niumi National Park (The Gambia) and Delta du Saloum National Park (Senegal)
Several bird species should be monitored (such as the Eurasian oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, slender-billed gull Larus genei, and other common seabirds and waterbirds), as well as estuarine and freshwater fish communities (e.g., the African rivuline Pronothobranchius kiyawensis), amphibians, and mammal species, including the Vulnerable manatee Trichechus senegalensis and bat species (e.g., Eidolon helvum, Hipposideros ruber, Lavia frons). Climatic factors (temperature and precipitation) should also be monitored, in addition to the availability and quality of the species' habitats.
Gourma Elephant Reserve (Mali) and Sahel Partial Faunal Reserve (Burkina Faso)
A number of species should be monitored, including the Vulnerable blackcrowned crane Balearica Pavonina, the ray-finned fish Brycinus nurse and catfish Synodontis gobroni, as well as large mammals such as the elephant Loxodonta africana; and the Vulnerable Dorcas gazelle Gazella dorcas, and small mammals such as the Nigerian gerbil Gerbillus nigeriae and bat species (Eidolon helvum and Hipposideros ruber). Monitoring should also incorporate data on climatic factors (temperature and precipitation) and on habitat availability and quality.
Carr, J. 2015. Recommandations pour le suivi des espèces pour l'aire transfrontalière de la Réserve des éléphants (Mali) et de la Réserve partielle de faune du Sahel (Burkina Faso). UNEP-WCMC technical report.
Gola Rainforest National Park (Sierra Leone) and with Gola National Park (Liberia)
Amphibian species (e.g., the Critically Endangered endemic toad Amietophrynus taiensis and the Endangered frog Hylarana occidentalis) would benefit from being monitored, as well as birds species (such as the Endangered Gola Malimbe Malimbus ballmanni, the brown-cheeked hornbill Bycanistes cylindricus, white-necked picathartes Picathartes gymnocephalus, Timneh parrot Psittacus timneh and Rufous fishing owl Scotopelia ussheri, all considered Vulnerable). Other species that require monitoring include large mammal species (such as the Vulnerable Diana monkey Cercopithecus diana, Endangered Jentink's duiker Cephalophus jentinki and Ogilby's duiker Cephalophus agilbyi among others), smaller mammals (e.g., the African dormouse Graphiurus nagtglasii and the African palm civet Nandinia binotata) and bat species (e.g., Eidolon helvum, Hipposideros ruber, Miniopterus schreibersii). This should be carried out in combination with monitoring of climatic factors (temperature and precipitation), the availability and quality of essential habitats and microhabitats, species harvest by humans and other climate change-driven trends.
Oti-Kéran-Mandouri (OKM) (Togo) and the WAP ('W', Arly, Pendjari) complex (Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger)
It is recommended to favor the monitoring of bird species such as the Vulnerable black-crowned crane Balearica Pavonina, the ray-finned fish Brycinus nurse and catfish Synodontis gobroni, large mammals including the elephant Loxodonta africana; and the Vulnerable Dorcas gazelle Gazella dorcas, small mammals such as the Nigerian gerbil Gerbillus nigeriae and bat species (Eidolon helvum and Hipposideros ruber). Climatic factors (temperature and precipitation) should also be monitored, as well as the availability and quality of the habitats for these species.
Carr, J. 2015. Recommandations pour le suivi des espèces pour l'aire transfrontalière du complexe Oti-Kéran-Mandouri (Togo) et du complexe WAP ('W', Arly, Pendjari) (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Niger). UNEP-WCMC technical report.