The effects of global climate change have attracted increasing attention, especially concerning the Arctic, and Antarctic. However, montane/alpine areas are also quite sensitive to climate change. Animals endemic to these areas are distributed within restricted elevational ranges, and many of them are also reliant on the harsh climate, a change of which may affect them as disastrously as it may affect polar species. Here we used MaxEnt software to construct models and make predictions for the rare Sichuan Jay (Perisoreus internigrans), which is known only from isolated fragments of high-elevation coniferous forest on the Qinghai—Tibet plateau of west-central China. Our model suggests that potentially suitable areas are concentrated in northern Sichuan and southern Gansu provinces, and they are fragmented generally, because of the mountainous terrain. It also predicts severe risks from climate change, even more than for the other two species of the genus, P. canadensis and P. infaustus: (1) both of the extent of suitable habitat and the suitability of that habitat will decline significantly under climate change; (2) climate change will compel this bird to shift northward and upward, but areas left for such compensatory extension are quite limited, and (3) the suitable habitat will become much more fragmented, which may exacerbate the effects of climate change indirectly by slowing or halting gene flow and increasing the rate of extinction of isolated local populations.
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Vol. 114 • No. 2