In many cases, the designation of Protected Areas (PM) is not based on biological information, particularly in tropical regions where such information is generally lacking. Thus it is unclear whether tropical PM are well-placed for conserving biodiversity currently, or under future climate change. We used reserve-design software ('Zonation') to investigate current and future conservation value of PM of Thailand (N = 187 PM, covering similar to 20% of Thailand) in relation to forest-cover and butterfly diversity. Currently, PAs are about 2 degrees C cooler than non-PM because PM tend to occur at higher elevation (66% of land above 1000 m is protected compared with only 6% below 250 m). Temperature is predicted to increase in Thailand in future, but PM are predicted to remain similar to 2 degrees C cooler than non-PM in future. We obtained modelled distribution data for 161 butterfly species (similar to 12% of national butterfly fauna), and used Zonation to rank areas (similar to 1 km(2) grid resolution) based on species richness, complementarity, and forest cover. The conservation value of PM was approximately twice that of non-PA areas, although many highly-ranked areas are not currently protected. The species richness of PM was projected to decline by similar to 30% in future, but the relative conservation rankings of individual PM were projected to change very little. The preponderance of PM in montane regions makes them well-placed to support forest species shifting from areas at lower elevation that become climatically unsuitable in future. By contrast, the conservation value of low-elevation PM may decline in future if climate conditions become unsuitable for species. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Habitat connectivity