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Conservation of butterflies in an era of global climate change
Scholarly paper completed in July 2007 for completion of an M.S. in Sustainable Development & Conservation Biology, University of Maryland


In the last few years, climate change has pushed to the forefront of threats to the natural environment. Global temperatures are predicted to increase by 1.4C to 5.8C in the next century. Scientists and environmentalists are racing to determine how these changes will affect wildlife, habitat, and our natural resources. Butterflies are an exemplary species for studying how climate change will affect populations, and numerous studies already have been conducted to record observed changes in certain species and to forecast future changes through bioclimatic modeling. The first part of this paper provides an overview of the status of butterfly populations worldwide and summarizes current strategies for conserving threatened species. A literature review follows of recent research that has improved our knowledge about how changes to the climate will affect butterflies. This paper concludes with two case studies and recommendations for future conservation.

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