Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of procbThe Royal Society PublishingProceedings BAboutBrowse by SubjectAlertsFree Trial
Proc Biol Sci. 2003 March 7; 270(1514): 467–473.
PMCID: PMC1691268

Climate change and habitat destruction: a deadly anthropogenic cocktail.


Climate change and habitat destruction are two of the greatest threats to global biodiversity. Lattice models have been used to investigate how hypothetical species with different characteristics respond to habitat loss. The main result shows that a sharp threshold in habitat availability exists below which a species rapidly becomes extinct. Here, a similar modelling approach is taken to establish what determines how species respond to climate change. A similar threshold exists for the rate of climate change as has been observed for habitat loss-patch occupancy remains high up to a critical rate of climate change, beyond which species extinction becomes likely. Habitat specialists, especially those of relatively poor colonizing ability are least able to keep pace with climate change. The interaction between climate change and habitat loss might be disastrous. During climate change, the habitat threshold occurs sooner. Similarly, species suffer more from climate change in a fragmented habitat.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (278K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Hill JK, Thomas CD, Huntley B. Climate and habitat availability determine 20th century changes in a butterfly's range margin. Proc Biol Sci. 1999 Jun 22;266(1425):1197–1197. [PMC free article]
  • Neuhauser C. Habitat Destruction and Competitive Coexistence in Spatially Explicit Models with Local Interactions. J Theor Biol. 1998 Aug 7;193(3):445–463. [PubMed]
  • Ovaskainen Otso, Sato Kazunori, Bascompte Jordi, Hanski Ilkka. Metapopulation models for extinction threshold in spatially correlated landscapes. J Theor Biol. 2002 Mar 7;215(1):95–108. [PubMed]
  • Travis JMJ, Dytham C. Habitat persistence, habitat availability and the evolution of dispersal. Proc Biol Sci. 1999 Apr 7;266(1420):723–723. [PMC free article]
  • Warren MS, Hill JK, Thomas JA, Asher J, Fox R, Huntley B, Roy DB, Telfer MG, Jeffcoate S, Harding P, et al. Rapid responses of British butterflies to opposing forces of climate and habitat change. Nature. 2001 Nov 1;414(6859):65–69. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences are provided here courtesy of The Royal Society