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Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 42.2 (2019) Pages: 355-367

Accounting for uncertainty in assessing the impact of climate change on biodiversity hotspots in Spain

Romero, D., Olivero, J., Real, R.





Our limited understanding of the complexity of nature generates uncertainty in mathematical and cartographical models used to predict the effects of climate change on species’ distributions. We developed predictive models of distributional range shifts of threatened vertebrate species in mainland Spain, and in their accumulation in biodiversity hotspots due to climate change. We considered two relevant sources of climatological uncertainty that affect predictions of future climate: general circulation models and socio–economic scenarios. We also examined the relative importance of climate as a driver of species’ distribution and taxonomic uncertainty as additional biogeographical causes of uncertainty. Uncertainty was detected in all the forecasts derived from models in which climate was a significant explanatory factor, and in the species with taxonomic uncertainty. Uncertainty in forecasts was mainly located in areas not occupied by the species, and increased with time difference from the present. Mapping this uncertainty allowed us to assess the consistency of predictions regarding future changes in the distribution of hotspots of threatened vertebrates in Spain.


Climate change, Prediction accuracy, Taxonomic uncertainty, Threatened species, Uncertainty mapping


Romero, D., Olivero, J., Real, R., 2019. Accounting for uncertainty in assessing the impact of climate change on biodiversity hotspots in Spain. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 42: 355-367, DOI:

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