Climate change is considered one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in future decades. Learning about the habitat preferences and geographical distributions of endangered species is critical for conservation management and planning in the context of climate change. This study investigated the effects of climate change on suitable habitat for Arborophila rufipectus Boulton, an endangered species that is endemic to southwest China. We used the known presence records for this species and a series of environmental variable layers to develop a predictive distribution model using maximum entropy modelling; this model was then used to assess the effects of future climate change on suitable habitat for this species. Our study indicated that climate change might have significant effects on suitable habitat for this species. By 2050, under a no-dispersal hypothesis, more than four-fifths of the habitat currently assessed as suitable would be lost, and the mean latitude of suitable habitat would shift northward by more than 100 kilometres. Based on this model, climate change would also aggravate habitat fragmentation. Under a full-dispersal hypothesis, all four climate trajectories developed by the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (Ccma) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) present similar trends: the area of suitable habitat is predicted to increase substantially, and habitat fragmentation would be mitigated under the two climate trajectories developed by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). Finally, we offer some practical proposals for the future conservation of this endangered species.
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Vol. 62 • No. 4