Large-scale impact of climate change vs. land-use change on future biome shifts in Latin America

Alice Boit*, Boris Sakschewski, Lena Boysen, Ana Cano-Crespo, Jan Clement, Nashieli Garcia-alaniz, Kasper Kok, Melanie Kolb, Fanny Langerwisch, Anja Rammig, René Sachse, Michiel van Eupen, Werner von Bloh, Delphine Clara Zemp, Kirsten Thonicke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change and land-use change are two major drivers of biome shifts causing habitat and biodiversity loss. What is missing is a continental-scale future projection of the estimated relative impacts of both drivers on biome shifts over the course of this century. Here, we provide such a projection for the biodiverse region of Latin America under four socio-economic development scenarios. We find that across all scenarios 5-6% of the total area will undergo biome shifts that can be attributed to climate change until 2099. The relative impact of climate change on biome shifts may overtake land-use change even under an optimistic climate scenario, if land-use expansion is halted by the mid-century. We suggest that constraining land-use change and preserving the remaining natural vegetation early during this century creates opportunities to mitigate climate-change impacts during the second half of this century. Our results may guide the evaluation of socio-economic scenarios in terms of their potential for biome conservation under global change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3689-3701
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Attribution
  • Biome shifts
  • Climate change
  • Land-use change
  • Latin America


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