Effects of Climatic Change on the Geographical Distribution of Caspian Snowcock (Tetraogallus caspius Gmelin, 1784) in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, Iran
Currently, there is little information on the high mountain species' response to the climate change in Iran, and it seems that these species are significantly affected by the climate change. In the current research, the spatial vulnerability of Caspian snowcock (Tetraogallus caspius) to the climate change in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province was predicted using the ensemble modelling approach, based on seven species distribution models. According to the findings, about 19.43% of the province was estimated to be the suitable habitat of Caspian snowcock. The variables of annual precipitation (23.23%), annual temperature range (21.82%), human footprints (15.77%) and slope (14.46%) had the highest contributions to the model. Findings also showed that about 12.9- 32.28% of the suitable habitats might be lost by 2050 due to the climate change, based on the two scenarios of increased greenhouse gases (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) and the HadGEM2-CC model. At the same period, it is expected that the suitable habitats of the Caspian snowcock in the low altitude areas would be lost. Additionally, due to the climate change, some populations, especially in the far southern regions of the province, will undergo local extinction or may be completely isolated. Findings of this research can be, therefore, useful for adopting more appropriate approaches in order to manage and protect the Caspian snowcock populations in the country.