Predicting range shifts of pikas (Mammalia, Ochotonidae) in China under scenarios incorporating land use change, climate change and dispersal limitations

Liang Ma, Chun rong Mi, Jia peng Qu, De yan Ge, Qi sen Yang, David S. Wilcove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Aim: Two of the most important forces affecting biodiversity are land use change (LUC) and global climate change (GCC). Previous studies have modelled their impacts on species separately, and together, but few have done so for multiple species with dispersal limitations incorporated into the models. Location: Qinghai–Tibet plateau region. Methods: We integrate species distribution models plus a dispersal model to predict LUC and GCC impacts on the ranges of five species of pikas in the Qinghai–Tibet plateau region of China. Pikas are sensitive to land use and climate change and have limited dispersal abilities. Results: The predicted impacts of LUC and GCC on pikas vary between species as well as between LUC and GCC projections. Incorporation of dispersal limitations appreciably restricts the amount of colonized habitat. For all five species, the amount of habitat abandoned or colonized when LUC and GCC are modelled together is less than the sum of LUC and GCC modelled separately. Three of the five species experience a net increase in occupied habitat by 2080 relative to their current ranges under all modelled projections. However, relative to a “Dispersal Only” baseline scenario that assumes no environmental change but continued range expansion into suitable, unoccupied habitat, all five species suffer a net loss of occupied habitat by 2080 under some or all projections. Main conclusions: Predictions of future distributions of species based solely on LUC or GCC, as well as predictions assuming additive impacts, can be misleading. Inclusion of dispersal limitations in models markedly alters predicted future distributions of species. The use of a “Dispersal Only” scenario provides a different and perhaps more accurate way to gauge net impacts to species. Future work should consider incorporating all these parameters to better predict the impacts of LUC and GCC on biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2384-2396
Number of pages13
JournalDiversity and Distributions
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


  • climate change
  • dispersal
  • elevation
  • land use change
  • occupied habitat
  • pika
  • species distribution


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