The project is dedicated to finding the highest quality data available in each region. Datasets include:

  • Species occurrence records, particularly for plants

  • Expert-verified species ranges

  • Species’ traits and phylogeny

  • Land cover

  • Protected areas

  • Climate surfaces

Tools and Approaches

Using a combination of statistical and process-based models, SPARC will produce species range maps for more than 100,000 tropical plant and animal species, under current climate and a variety of projected future climate scenarios.

Two approaches will be used to identify priority areas for conservation under climate change. Conservation Prioritization using Network Flow (CPNF) uses a given set of conservation targets and land acquisition costs. Based on these inputs, the algorithm optimizes protected areas through time for large numbers of species, meeting conservation targets at each modeled time step.

Marginal Benefit of Protection Index (MBPI) instead evaluates the benefit of including each 1km grid cell to the protected area portfolio under climate change; cells that represent relatively rare climate or will be the destination for relatively more species will be given more weight.

Common planning tools such as Marxan and Zonation will be used as comparative tools.

Regional Assessments

The expertise of regional scientists will be used to assess loss of species and ecosystem representation, and associated restoration opportunities, for each of the three regions. Two to three focal areas will also be identified for further analyses in each region. For further information, please see each region’s page.

Synthesis and Communication

SPARC will communicate with stakeholders to create research briefs and action plans by country and by multiple countries. This will promote effective and efficient planning processes informed by changes to biodiversity and its threats induced by climate change. Outputs will include dynamic tools that help visualize and plan for protected areas under climate change. System planners will be able to understand where new protected areas should be located to maintain conservation targets. Managers of existing protected areas will see how specific species may decline in the protected areas in the future, and where specialized management may be needed.