Project: Assessing the effects of past and future climate change on Amazonian biodiversity

Acronym CLAMBIO (Reference Number: BiodivClim-485)
Duration 01/04/2021 - 31/03/2024
Project Topic Climate change affects life at all levels, from genetic structure of animal and plant populations to socio-economic organization of human communities. For Amazonia, current models project warmer and drier climates, which could make large areas unsuitable for species adapted to moist rainforest conditions and increase the susceptibility of vegetation to wildfires, thereby promoting savannization. This, in turn, would reduce biodiversity, biomass, carbon storage and productivity of the forests, as well as further reduce local rainfall and affect river water levels through impacts on water circulation. Climate has changed also in the past, which has probably caused reorganizations of the Amazonian biota. Studies on these past events can help to estimate possible impacts of climate change in the future. We will integrate data on species distributions, genomics and community phylogenetics to reconstruct the recent demographic history of populations in selected plant and animal groups, and infer how past climate changes have impacted habitat stability, dispersal and local extinctions. Present-day environmental data will be used to characterise suitable habitats and identify the most important constraints on the plant and animal species distributions, and to model how the distributions of suitable habitats may change in the future, given current climate scenarios and the likely increasing risk of forest fires. These results will be integrated to estimate the degree of both uniqueness and vulnerability of biological communities across Amazonia. Because riverine and indigenous peoples depend on the forests for their livelihoods, the studies will be made in close collaboration with indigenous peoples and their organisations in the catchment areas of two major rivers, the Xingu and Negro. The project aims simultaneously to produce new understanding of likely impacts of climate change on Amazonian biodiversity, identify possible mitigation strategies, and assist the affected peoples in recognising the trends and communicating their needs to the policymakers.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
CLAMBIO aims to clarify: • Climate–biodiversity feedback processes in Amazonia, such as the consequences of past climate changes on the evolution and distribution of Amazonian plants and animals. • How the ongoing climate change may affect the viability of Amazonian plant and animal species, and which Amazonian regions and habitat types are most vulnerable to the combined effects of climate change, deforestation and fire. • How the sources of indigenous livelihoods in major river basins have already been impacted by changes in their environment, which aspects are most vulnerable to climate change in the future, and how the communities could mitigate the adverse effects.
Website visit project website
Network BiodivClim
Call 2019-2020 Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University of Turku Coordinator Finland
2 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Partner Germany
3 National Institute of Amazonian Research Partner Brazil
4 University of Sao Paulo Partner Brazil
5 University of East Anglia Observer United Kingdom