5 years ago

Likelihood of changes in forest species suitability, distribution, and diversity under future climate: The case of Southern Europe

Likelihood of changes in forest species suitability, distribution, and diversity under future climate: The case of Southern Europe
Monia Santini, Sergio Noce, Alessio Collalti
Forest conservation strategies and plans can be unsuccessful if the new habitat conditions determined by climate change are not considered. Our work aims at investigating the likelihood of future suitability, distribution and diversity for some common European forest species under the projected changes in climate, focusing on Southern Europe. We combine an Ensemble Platform for Species Distribution Models (SDMs) to five Global Circulation Models (GCMs) driven by two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), to produce maps of future climate-driven habitat suitability for ten categories of forest species and two time horizons. For each forest category and time horizon, ten maps of future distribution (5 GCMs by 2 RCPs) are thus combined in a single suitability map supplied with information about the “likelihood” adopting the IPCC terminology based on consensus among projections. Then, the statistical significance of spatially aggregated changes in forest composition at local and regional level is analyzed. Finally, we discuss the importance, among SDMs, that environmental predictors seem to have in influencing forest distribution. Future impacts of climate change appear to be diversified across forest categories. A strong change in forest regional distribution and local diversity is projected to take place, as some forest categories will find more suitable conditions in previously unsuitable locations, while for other categories the same new conditions will become less suited. A decrease in species diversity is projected in most of the area, with Alpine region showing the potentiality to become a refuge for species migration. Future likelihood suitability map for Abies: 2070 Scenario.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3427

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