Dataset Information


Climate change versus deforestation: Implications for tree species distribution in the dry forests of southern Ecuador.

ABSTRACT: Seasonally dry forests in the neotropics are heavily threatened by a combination of human disturbances and climate change; however, the severity of these threats is seldom contrasted. This study aims to quantify and compare the effects of deforestation and climate change on the natural spatial ranges of 17 characteristic tree species of southern Ecuador dry deciduous forests, which are heavily fragmented and support high levels of endemism as part of the Tumbesian ecoregion. We used 660 plant records to generate species distribution models and land-cover data to project species ranges for two time frames: a simulated deforestation scenario from 2008 to 2014 with native forest to anthropogenic land-use conversion, and an extreme climate change scenario (CCSM4.0, RCP 8.5) for 2050, which assumed zero change from human activities. To assess both potential threats, we compared the estimated annual rates of species loss (i.e., range shifts) affecting each species. Deforestation loss for all species averaged approximately 71 km2/year, while potential climate-attributed loss was almost 21 km2/year. Moreover, annual area loss rates due to deforestation were significantly higher than those attributed to climate-change (P < 0.01). However, projections into the future scenario show evidence of diverging displacement patterns, indicating the potential formation of novel ecosystems, which is consistent with other species assemblage predictions as result of climate change. Furthermore, we provide recommendations for management and conservation, prioritizing the most threatened species such as Albizia multiflora, Ceiba trichistandra, and Cochlospermum vitifolium.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC5739474 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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