Protected area networks are the foundation of conservation, even in northern Canada where anthropogenic impact on the landscape is currently limited. However, the value of protected areas may be undermined by climate change in this region where the rate and magnitude is high, and shifts in vegetation communities and associated wildlife species are already underway. Key to developing responses to these changing conditions is anticipating potential impacts and the risks they pose. Capitalizing on an existing modeled dataset for Yukon from Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP), we examine projected shifts in the distribution of 18 clusters of climate parameters, and the vegetation communities currently associated with them (collectively termed ‘‘cliomes’’) across three 30-year time steps, from the present through the 2090s. By the 2090s, Yukon may lose seven cliomes and gain one. Three regional changes, if accompanied by vegetation redistribution, represent biome shifts: complete loss of climate conditions for arctic tundra in northern Yukon; emergence of climate conditions supporting grasslands in southern Yukon valleys; reduction in climates supporting alpine tundra in favor of boreal forests types across the mountains of central and northern Yukon. Projections suggest that, by the end of the 21st century, higher elevations in southern Yukon change least when compared to the turnover in cliomes exhibited by the high latitude, arctic parks to the north. This analysis can assist with: planning connectivity between protected areas; identifying novel conservation zones to maximize representation of habitats during the emerging changes; designing plans, management and monitoring for individual protected areas.
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