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Climate change (CC) is a major threat to biodiversity, increasing species extinction risk. Assessments of its possible impacts on species are crucial for designing conservation strategies. Here, we adjusted a global trait-based approach to the national level and apply it to Uruguay (South America) to evaluate the CC vulnerability of its herpetofauna. A total of 112 species were assessed in a scenario of CC projections for 2050 with regard to three dimensions of vulnerability: sensitivity, low adaptive capacity and exposure. We conducted the assessment through an expert elicitation process based on the Delphi method. We found that most local species (64.6% amphibians; 100% reptiles) were highly sensitive to CC. Among them, seven amphibians (14.6%) and seven reptiles (10.9%) were identified as highly vulnerable to CC. Important gaps in the life-history traits of the species were found that should guide future research. The structured expert consultation process allowed us to gather more and better information than if it had only been based on published sources. Our study identified challenges associated with changing the scale from global to national that might be used for similar assessments in other countries.
In countries with emerging and developing economies the need to promote development and the lack of information on the status of the Near Threatened Eurasian otter Lutra lutra have given rise for concern about the conservation status of the species. In Albania information about the distribution of this otter dates from 1985. In 2013 we resurveyed 31 sites previously surveyed in 1985, and a further 42 sites throughout the country. At each site nine habitat variables of potential importance to otters were recorded and analysed. Overall the distribution pattern in 2013 did not differ from that recorded in 1985, although a reduction in marking intensity suggested a possible decline in otter numbers. Distribution of the otter has been influenced by land use and human density, suggesting man-induced habitat changes since the fall of communism may have affected the quality and fragmentation of otter habitats.
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