The distribution shifts of Pinus armandii and its response to temperature and precipitation in China.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:The changing climate, particularly in regard to temperature and precipitation, is already affecting tree species' distributions. Pinus armandii, which dominates on the Yungui Plateau and in the Qinba Mountains in China, is of economic, cultural and ecological value. We wish to test the correlations between the distribution shift of P. armandii and changing climate, and figure out how it tracks future climate change. METHODS:We sampled the surface soil at sites throughout the distribution of P. armandii to compare the relative abundance of pollen to the current percent cover of plant species. This was used to determine possible changes in the distribution P. armandii. Given the hilly terrain, elevation was considered together with temperature and precipitation as variables correlated with distribution shifts of P. armandii. RESULTS:We show that P. armandii is undergoing change in its geographic range, including retraction, a shift to more northern areas and from the upper high part of the mountains to a lower-altitude part in hilly areas. Temperature was the strongest correlate of this distribution shift. Elevation and precipitation were also both significantly correlated with distribution change of P. armandii, but to a lesser degree than temperature. CONCLUSION:The geographic range of P. armandii has been gradually decreasing under the influence of climate change. This provides evidence of the effect of climate change on trees at the species level and suggests that at least some species will have a limited ability to track the changing climate.
Project description:Climate change impacts are non uniformly distributed over the globe. Mountains have a peculiar response to large scale variations, documented by elevation gradients of surface temperature increase observed over many mountain ranges in the last decades. Significant changes of precipitation are expected in the changing climate and orographic effects are important in determining the amount of rainfall at a given location. It thus becomes particularly important to understand how orographic precipitation responds to global warming and to anthropogenic forcing. Here, using a large rain gauge dataset over the European Alpine region, we show that the distribution of annual precipitation among the lowlands and the mountains has varied over time, with an increase of the precipitation at the high elevations compared to the low elevations starting in the mid 20 century and peaking in the 1980s. The simultaneous increase and peak of anthropogenic aerosol load is discussed as a possible source for this interdecadal change. These results provide new insights to further our understanding and improve predictions of anthropic effects on mountain precipitations, which are fundamental for water security and management.
Project description:Within the mountain altitudinal vegetation belts, the shift of forest tree lines and subalpine steppe belts to high altitudes constitutes an obvious response to global climate change. However, whether or not similar changes occur in steppe belts (low altitude) and nival belts in different areas within mountain systems remain undetermined. It is also unknown if these, responses to climate change are consistent. Here, using Landsat remote sensing images from 1989 to 2015, we obtained the spatial distribution of altitudinal vegetation belts in different periods of the Tianshan Mountains in Northwestern China. We suggest that the responses from different altitudinal vegetation belts to global climate change are different. The changes in the vegetation belts at low altitudes are spatially different. In high-altitude regions (higher than the forest belts), however, the trend of different altitudinal belts is consistent. Specifically, we focused on analyses of the impact of changes in temperature and precipitation on the nival belts, desert steppe belts, and montane steppe belts. The results demonstrated that the temperature in the study area exhibited an increasing trend, and is the main factor of altitudinal vegetation belts change in the Tianshan Mountains. In the context of a significant increase in temperature, the upper limit of the montane steppe in the eastern and central parts will shift to lower altitudes, which may limit the development of local animal husbandry. The montane steppe in the west, however, exhibits the opposite trend, which may augment the carrying capacity of pastures and promote the development of local animal husbandry. The lower limit of the nival belt will further increase in all studied areas, which may lead to an increase in surface runoff in the central and western regions.
Project description:The Adirondack Park in New York State contains a unique and limited distribution of boreal ecosystem types, providing habitat for a number of birds at the southern edge of their range. Species are projected to shift poleward in a warming climate, and the limited boreal forest of the Adirondacks is expected to undergo significant change in response to rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns. Here we expand upon a previous analysis to examine changes in occupancy patterns for eight species of boreal birds over a decade (2007-2016), and we assess the relative contribution of climate and non-climate drivers in determining colonization and extinction rates. Our analysis identifies patterns of declining occupancy for six of eight species, including some declines which appear to have become more pronounced since a prior analysis. Although non-climate drivers such as wetland area, connectivity, and human footprint continue to influence colonization and extinction rates, we find that for most species, occupancy patterns are best described by climate drivers. We modeled both average and annual temperature and precipitation characteristics and find stronger support for species' responses to average climate conditions, rather than interannual climate variability. In general, boreal birds appear most likely to colonize sites that have lower levels of precipitation and a high degree of connectivity, and they tend to persist in sites that are warmer in the breeding season and have low and less variable precipitation in the winter. It is likely that these responses reflect interactions between broader habitat conditions and temperature and precipitation variables. Indirect climate influences as mediated through altered species interactions may also be important in this context. Given climate change predictions for both temperature and precipitation, it is likely that habitat structural changes over the long term may alter these relationships in the future.
Project description:A change in climate would be expected to shift plant distribution as species expand in newly favorable areas and decline in increasingly hostile locations. We compared surveys of plant cover that were made in 1977 and 2006-2007 along a 2,314-m elevation gradient in Southern California's Santa Rosa Mountains. Southern California's climate warmed at the surface, the precipitation variability increased, and the amount of snow decreased during the 30-year period preceding the second survey. We found that the average elevation of the dominant plant species rose by approximately 65 m between the surveys. This shift cannot be attributed to changes in air pollution or fire frequency and appears to be a consequence of changes in regional climate.
Project description:The structure and function of alpine grassland ecosystems, including their extensive soil carbon stocks, are largely shaped by temperature. The Tibetan Plateau in particular has experienced significant warming over the past 50 y, and this warming trend is projected to intensify in the future. Such climate change will likely alter plant species composition and net primary production (NPP). Here we combined 32 y of observations and monitoring with a manipulative experiment of temperature and precipitation to explore the effects of changing climate on plant community structure and ecosystem function. First, long-term climate warming from 1983 to 2014, which occurred without systematic changes in precipitation, led to higher grass abundance and lower sedge abundance, but did not affect aboveground NPP. Second, an experimental warming experiment conducted over 4 y had no effects on any aspect of NPP, whereas drought manipulation (reducing precipitation by 50%), shifted NPP allocation belowground without affecting total NPP. Third, both experimental warming and drought treatments, supported by a meta-analysis at nine sites across the plateau, increased grass abundance at the expense of biomass of sedges and forbs. This shift in functional group composition led to deeper root systems, which may have enabled plant communities to acquire more water and thus stabilize ecosystem primary production even with a changing climate. Overall, our study demonstrates that shifting plant species composition in response to climate change may have stabilized primary production in this high-elevation ecosystem, but it also caused a shift from aboveground to belowground productivity.
Project description:The climate is changing, and such changes are projected to cause global increase in the prevalence and geographic ranges of infectious diseases such as anthrax. There is limited knowledge in the tropics with regards to expected impacts of climate change on anthrax outbreaks. We determined the future distribution of anthrax in Kenya with representative concentration pathways (RCP) 4.5 and 8.5 for year 2055. Ecological niche modelling (ENM) of boosted regression trees (BRT) was applied in predicting the potential geographic distribution of anthrax for current and future climatic conditions. The models were fitted with presence-only anthrax occurrences (n = 178) from historical archives (2011-2017), sporadic outbreak surveys (2017-2018), and active surveillance (2019-2020). The selected environmental variables in order of importance included rainfall of wettest month, mean precipitation (February, October, December, July), annual temperature range, temperature seasonality, length of longest dry season, potential evapotranspiration and slope. We found a general anthrax risk areal expansion i.e., current, 36,131 km<sup>2</sup>, RCP 4.5, 40,012 km<sup>2</sup>, and RCP 8.5, 39,835 km<sup>2</sup>. The distribution exhibited a northward shift from current to future. This prediction of the potential anthrax distribution under changing climates can inform anticipatory measures to mitigate future anthrax risk.
Project description:Geographic barriers and Quaternary climate changes are two major forces driving the evolution, speciation, and genetic structuring of extant organisms. In this study, we used Pinus armandii and eleven other Asian white pines (subsection Strobus, subgenus Pinus) to explore the influences of geographic factors and Pleistocene climatic oscillations on species in South China, a region known to be centers of plant endemism and biodiversity hotspots. Range-wide patterns of genetic variation were investigated using chloroplast and mitochondrial DNA markers, with extensive sampling throughout the entire range of P. armandii. Both cpDNA and mtDNA revealed that P. armandii exhibits high levels of genetic diversity and significant population differentiation. Three geographically distinct subdivisions corresponding to the Qinling-Daba Mountains (QDM), Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains (HHM) and Yungui Plateau (YGP) were revealed in mainland China by cpDNA. Their break zone was located in the southeastern margin of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). A series of massive mountains, induced by the QTP uplift, imposed significant geographic barriers to genetic exchange. The disjunct distribution patterns of ancestral haplotypes suggest that a large continuous population of the white pines may have existed from southwest to subtropical China. Repeated range shifts in response to the Pleistocene glaciations led to the isolation and diversification of the subtropical species. The two Taiwanese white pines share a common ancestor with the species in mainland China and obtain their chloroplasts via long-distance pollen dispersal from North Asian pines. Distinct genetic patterns were detected in populations from the Qinling-Daba Mountains, Yungui Plateau, Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains, and subtropical China, indicating significant contributions of geographic factors to the genetic differentiation in white pines. Our study depicts a clear picture of the evolutionary history of Chinese white pines and highlights the heterogeneous contributions of geography and Pleistocene climatic fluctuations to the extremely high plant species diversity and endemism in South China.
Project description:Located in the intermediate zone between the taiga forests in Siberian Plain and the deserts in Central Asia, the Altai Mountains are of scientific concern about Holocene climate change in the past decades. However, researches about modern climate changes are relatively scarce in the Altai Mountains. In this study, temporal- spatial changes of air temperature and precipitation were investigated systematically in the Altai Mountains based on fifteen meteorological records over the period of 1970-2015. The Altai Mountains experienced a rapid warming trend with a rate of 0.41°C/decade and an insignificantly wetting trend at a rate of 4.82 mm/decade during 1970-2015. The magnitude of temperature trend was negatively correlated with elevation in cold season (spring and winter), whereas that was positively correlated with elevation in warm season (summer and autumn). The cyclonic anomalies to the northwest and an anticyclonic anomalies to the southeast blocked the southward cold air and then provided the favorable condition for an increasing precipitation via the southwesternly wind in the Altai Mountains.
Project description:Changes in climate extremes pose far-reaching consequences to ecological processes and hydrologic cycles in alpine ecosystems of the arid mountain regions. Therefore, regional assessments in various climates and mountain regions are needed for understanding the uncertainties of the change trends for extreme climate events. The objective of this study was to assess the spatial distribution and temporal trends of extreme precipitation and temperature events responses to global warming on the arid mountain regions of China. Results found that temperature extremes exhibited a significant warming trend, consistent with global warming. Warming trend in autumn and winter were greater than in spring and summer. Besides, precipitation extremes also exhibited statistically increase trend, such as number of days with heavy precipitation and rain day precipitation, etc. The distribution of the number of rainy days was showed a significant increasing trend in many sites, indicating that the increase of rain day precipitation mainly contributed by the increase of single precipitation event duration and moderate-rain days. The greater increasing trend of extreme climate events mainly existed in higher altitudes. This results lend an evidence to earlier predictions that the climate in northwestern China is changing from cold-dry to warm-wet.
Project description:Climate change is one of the most pervasive threats to biodiversity globally, yet the influence of climate relative to other drivers of species depletion and range contraction remain difficult to disentangle. Here, we examine climatic and non-climatic correlates of giant panda (<i>Ailuropoda melanoleuca</i>) distribution using a large-scale 30 year dataset to evaluate whether a changing climate has already influenced panda distribution. We document several climatic patterns, including increasing temperatures, and alterations to seasonal temperature and precipitation. We found that while climatic factors were the most influential predictors of panda distribution, their importance diminished over time, while landscape variables have become relatively more influential. We conclude that the panda's distribution has been influenced by changing climate, but conservation intervention to manage habitat is working to increasingly offset these negative consequences.