Globally downscaled climate projections
for assessing the conservation impacts of
climate change

One of Conservation International's goals is to assess the impact of climate change on conservation in terms of preserving biodiversity, promoting ecosystem health, and ensuring human well being. Identifying priority conservation areas with high biodiversity and multiple ecosystem services such as water, carbon, and agriculture is necessary to adopt the appropriate adaptation and mitigation measures in the face of climate change.Our downscaled and debiased, global, 21st-century climate scenarios accommodate the immediate demand for multiple, fine resolution climate projections and enable and enhance efforts implement adaptation and mitigation measures in response to climate change.


Evaluating the potential impact of 21st century climate change on species distributions and ecological processes requires climate scenarios with sufficient spatial resolution to represent the varying effects of climate change across heterogeneous physical, biological, and cultural landscapes. To meet the immediate demand for finer scale future climate projections, Conservation International in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) have developed 10-minute and 2.5-minute resolution, future climate datasets to provide researchers the capacity for high-resolution, global-scale, model ensemble assessments of climate change impact on biological and ecological systems.

We have downscaled temperature and precipitation projections from the World Climate Research Programme's (WCRP's) Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) multi-model dataset to 10-minute and 2.5-minute resolutions. We use the change-factor approach to downscale and debias simulations using the observational data from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) for the 10-minute downscales and from Worldclim for the 2.5-minute downscales.


New 1-km Resolution Datasets of Global
and Regional Risks of Tree Cover Loss

Despite global recognition of the social, economic and ecological impacts of deforestation, the world is losing forests at an alarming rate. Global and regional efforts by policymakers and donors to reduce deforestation need science-driven information on where forest loss is happening, and where it may happen in the future. We used spatially-explicit globally-consistent variables and global historical tree cover and loss to analyze how global- and regional-scale variables contributed to historical tree cover loss and to model future risks of tree cover loss, based on a business-as-usual scenario. Our results show that (1) some biomes have higher risk of tree cover loss than others; (2) variables related to tree cover loss at the global scale differ from those at the regional scale; and (3) variables related to tree cover loss vary by continent. By mapping both tree cover loss risk and potential future tree cover loss, we aim to provide decision makers and donors with multiple outputs to improve targeting of forest conservation investments. By making the outputs readily accessible, we anticipate they will be used in other modeling analyses, conservation planning exercises, and prioritization activities aimed at conserving forests to meet national and global climate mitigation targets and biodiversity goals.