Exploring interaction effects from mechanisms between climate and land-use changes and the projected consequences on biodiversity

Sarahi Nunez*, Rob Alkemade

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in climate and land use are major drivers of biodiversity loss. These drivers likely interact and their mutual effects alter biodiversity. These interaction mechanisms are rarely considered in biodiversity assessments, as only the combined individual effects are reported. In this study, we explored interaction effects from mechanisms that potentially affect biodiversity under climate change. These mechanisms entail that climate-change effects on, for example, species abundance and species’ range shifts depend on land-use change. Similarly, land-use change impacts are contingent on climate change. We explored interaction effects from four mechanisms and projected their consequences on biodiversity. These interactions arise if species adapted to modified landscapes (e.g. cropland) differ in their sensitivity to climate change from species adapted to natural landscapes. We verified these interaction effects by performing a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of 42 bioclimatic studies (with different increases in global mean temperature) on species distributions in landscapes with varying cropland levels. We used the Fraction of Remaining Species as the effect-size metric in this meta-analysis. The influence of global mean temperature increase on FRS did not significantly change with different cropland levels. This finding excluded interaction effects between climate and landscapes that are modified by other land uses than cropping. Although we only assessed coarse climate and land-use patterns, global mean temperature increase was a good, significant model predictor for biodiversity decline. This emphasizes the need to analyse interactions between land-use and climate-change effects on biodiversity simultaneously in other modified landscapes. Such analyses should also integrate other conditions, such as spatial location, adaptive capacity and time lags. Understanding all these interaction mechanisms and other conditions will help to better project future biodiversity trends and to develop coping strategies for biodiversity conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3685-3696
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number12
Early online date24 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Climate change
  • Cropland
  • Interactions
  • Land-use change
  • Modified landscapes
  • Species abundance


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