Global Protected Areas as refuges for amphibians and reptiles under climate change

Chunrong Mi, Liang Ma, Mengyuan Yang, Xinhai Li, Shai Meiri, Uri Roll, Oleksandra Oskyrko, Daniel Pincheira-Donoso, Lilly P. Harvey, Daniel Jablonski, Barbod Safaei-Mahroo, Hanyeh Ghaffari, Jiri Smid, Scott Jarvie, Ronnie Mwangi Kimani, Rafaqat Masroor, Seyed Mahdi Kazemi, Lotanna Micah Nneji, Arnaud Marius Tchassem Fokoua, Geraud C. Tasse TaboueAaron Bauer, Cristiano Nogueira, Danny Meirte, David G. Chapple, Indraneil Das, Lee Grismer, Luciano Javier Avila, Marco Antônio Ribeiro Júnior, Oliver J.S. Tallowin, Omar Torres-Carvajal, Philipp Wagner, Santiago R. Ron, Yuezhao Wang, Yuval Itescu, Zoltán Tamás Nagy, David S. Wilcove, Xuan Liu, Weiguo Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Protected Areas (PAs) are the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation. Here, we collated distributional data for >14,000 (~70% of) species of amphibians and reptiles (herpetofauna) to perform a global assessment of the conservation effectiveness of PAs using species distribution models. Our analyses reveal that >91% of herpetofauna species are currently distributed in PAs, and that this proportion will remain unaltered under future climate change. Indeed, loss of species’ distributional ranges will be lower inside PAs than outside them. Therefore, the proportion of effectively protected species is predicted to increase. However, over 7.8% of species currently occur outside PAs, and large spatial conservation gaps remain, mainly across tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, and across non-high-income countries. We also predict that more than 300 amphibian and 500 reptile species may go extinct under climate change over the course of the ongoing century. Our study highlights the importance of PAs in providing herpetofauna with refuge from climate change, and suggests ways to optimize PAs to better conserve biodiversity worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1389
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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