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Can habitat prediction models contribute to the restoration and conservation of the threatened treeAbies pinsapo Boiss. in Southern Spain?

  • Agresta S. Coop
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We examined the association between habitat variables and the relative impacts of topographic microclimates as a valuable tool for restoration and conservation of Abies pinsapo in southern Spain. We used presence–absence data from A. pinsapo and 79 environmental variables and biomod species distribution models to describe the current and future species habitat across the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park (southern Spain). A. pinsapo habitat was most strongly associated with microtopographic (solar incidence) and temperature variables, indicating climate-driven changes in microhabitat use. Most of the temperature variation among the study site was attributable to topographic microclimates rather than regional temperature differences, such that differences in microhabitat associations occurred principally between north- and south-facing slopes within the same region. The current potential distribution suggests that around 8.7% (56.44 km2) of the study area is highly suitable for A. pinsapo, with 9.7% (62.84 km2) being moderately suitable. Under different global circulation models and climate change scenarios, the net decrease in suitable habitat is predicted to be 93% of the current distribution by 2040, disappearing altogether by 2099. Our findings also show a sharp reduction of potential restoration areas (1.8% of the current areas). Microclimatic variation generated by the topography offers the microclimate-driven locations of habitat suitability which could shape species’ distribution restoration actions and their responses to environmental change. The approach presented here can provide a rapid assessment of the future conservation status of other important forest tree species in Spain, improving our understanding of the vulnerability of endangered species under climate change, and can be an effective tool for biodiversity conservation, restoration, and management.
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New Forests (2021) 52:89–112
1 3
Can habitat prediction models contribute
totherestoration andconservation ofthethreatened
tree Abies pinsapo Boiss. inSouthern Spain?
R.M.NavarroCerrillo, etal.[full author details at the end of the article]
Received: 15 November 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2020 / Published online: 27 February 2020
© Springer Nature B.V. 2020
We examined the association between habitat variables and the relative impacts of topo-
graphic microclimates as a valuable tool for restoration and conservation of Abies pinsapo
in southern Spain. We used presence–absence data from A. pinsapo and 79 environmental
variables and biomod species distribution models to describe the current and future species
habitat across the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park (southern Spain). A. pinsapo habi-
tat was most strongly associated with microtopographic (solar incidence) and temperature
variables, indicating climate-driven changes in microhabitat use. Most of the tempera-
ture variation among the study site was attributable to topographic microclimates rather
than regional temperature differences, such that differences in microhabitat associations
occurred principally between north- and south-facing slopes within the same region. The
current potential distribution suggests that around 8.7% (56.44 km2) of the study area is
highly suitable for A. pinsapo, with 9.7% (62.84km2) being moderately suitable. Under
different global circulation models and climate change scenarios, the net decrease in suit-
able habitat is predicted to be 93% of the current distribution by 2040, disappearing alto-
gether by 2099. Our findings also show a sharp reduction of potential restoration areas
(1.8% of the current areas). Microclimatic variation generated by the topography offers the
microclimate-driven locations of habitat suitability which could shape species’ distribution
restoration actions and their responses to environmental change. The approach presented
here can provide a rapid assessment of the future conservation status of other important
forest tree species in Spain, improving our understanding of the vulnerability of endan-
gered species under climate change, and can be an effective tool for biodiversity conserva-
tion, restoration, and management.
Keywords Conservation· Habitat suitability· Mediterranean forests· Pinsapo fir·
Restoration ecology· Threatened species
R. M. Navarro Cerrillo and J. Duque-Lazo contributed equally to this work.
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (https ://
6-020-09784 -4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... They present numerical methods to analyze the relationships between observed in-situ species occurrences and their environmental and geographical parameters (Elith and Leathwick, 2009;Flores-Tolentino et al., 2019). Recently, they have been widely applied to calculate spatially explicit estimates of species environmental compatibility (Flores-Tolentino et al., 2019;Navarro Cerrillo et al., 2021). ...
... Field surveys could be conducted to select environmental factors to reflect the habitat conditions of the target species and the influence of anthropogenic factors and disturbance. For future studies at the local scale, data on soils, vegetation, topography and land use could be recruited by the model (Rovzar et al., 2016;Navarro Cerrillo et al., 2021). ...
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Variations in temperature and rainfall patterns due to climate change will lead to alterations in the potential habitat of species. This change will affect the interactions between species, being more evident in vulnerable species with fragmented habitat. This study aims to test the importance of abiotic and biotic factors determining the niche of threatened species in mountainous conifer forests. We used as study case the endangered Abies pinsapo in Southern Spain to understand its co-occurrence patterns in relation to the distribution and habitat suitability of key competing species. We estimated the intensity of interactions in relation to environmental gradients and development stage by single and joint species distribution models using a Bayesian approach in combination with niche overlap metric methods. Average temperature of the coldest month and precipitation were key variables shaping the current distribution of A. pinsapo. The ensemble potential distribution of the species showed very high overlap with the distribution of A. pinsapo. The joint species distribution model showed a potential negative interaction between A. pinsapo and the adults of Q. faginea and P. halepensis and positively with Juniperus species. A. pinsapo populations located at the low elevation distribution area are the most vulnerable, ultimately triggering a shift towards higher altitudes in a context of climate change. This abiotic stress will be exacerbated by competition dynamics of competing species from lower altitudes. This likely shift is shared by other mountain conifer species, with a success in survival limited by the availability of suitable area at higher altitudes.
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Tras la retirada de los hielos glaciares del Cuaternario, los abetos se replegaron hacia el norte o ascendieron en altitud hacia las montañas. Escindido del tronco común del abeto primigenio, Abies pinsapo persiste como especie relicta y endémica de la Serranía de Ronda, y una de las reliquias más meridionales de la aciculisilva. En este trabajo, desarrollamos un ensamblaje de modelos de nicho ecológico del pinsapo calibrados con datos actuales y proyectados hasta el horizonte 2100 según los escenarios previstos por el IPCC (AR5) regionalizados para el área de estudio. Nuestros modelos estimaron una drástica reducción de la distribución potencial de la especie en el área de estudio, incluso la desaparición del espacio ecológico del pinsapo en el peor de los escenarios.
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RESUMEN: El pinsapo es una reliquia botánica del Terciario que persiste en un singular ecosistema de montaña. Es una especie endémica e insólita en el paisaje andaluz, por lo que se halla muy protegida y es objeto de una estrategia de conservación activa que pretende mitigar los efectos negativos del cambio global. En este artículo utilizamos 180 imágenes del sensor MODIS para desarrollar un análisis interanual y de tendencia estacional del NDVI promedio mensual, desde 2002 hasta 2016, de las superficies cubiertas por pinsapos. De acuerdo con los resultados obtenidos, se ha producido un incremento generalizado del NDVI en las masas forestales con presencia del pinsapo. La tendencia fue significativa en casi todos los tipos de formaciones y grados de cobertura. Esto sugiere una regeneración de los pinsapares en el marco de la estrategia de conservación activa. Sin embargo, detectamos un adelanto del Green up, hecho que podría estar relacionado con el calentamiento global. ABSTRACT: The Spanish fir is a botanical relic of the Tertiary that persists in a singular mountain ecosystem. This fir is an endemic species that is unusual in the Andalusian landscape, so it is strongly protected with a pro-active conservation management that seeks to mitigate the negative effects of global change. In this paper, we analysed the Spanish fir forests based on time series analysis of 15 years of MODIS images. First, we generated a monthly frequency series of 180 images, from January 2002 to December 2016, and then we applied an interannual and seasonal trend analysis by using monthly average of NDVI. The results showed positive trends of NDVI in the Spanish fir forests. The trend was significant in almost all types of tree cover density and forest types of Spanish fir. This suggests that the current pro-active conservation management program favours the regeneration of these forests. However, we found an earlier start of Green up, that could be related to global warming.
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The PREDICTS project (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) has collated ecological survey data from hundreds of published biodiversity comparisons of sites facing different land-use and related pressures, and used the resulting taxonomically and geographically broad database (abundance and occurrence data for over 50,000 species and over 30,000 sites in nearly 100 countries) to develop global biodiversity models, indicators, and projections. After outlining the science and science-policy gaps that motivated PREDICTS, this review discusses the key design decisions that helped it to achieve its objectives. In particular, we discuss basing models on a large, taxonomically, and geographically representative database, so that they may be applicable to biodiversity more broadly; space-for-time substitution, which allows estimation of pressure-state models without the need for representative time-series data; and collation of raw data rather than statistical results, greatly expanding the range of response variables that can be modelled. The heterogeneity of data in the PREDICTS database has presented a range of modelling challenges: we discuss these with a focus on our implementation of the Biodiversity Intactness Index, an indicator with considerable policy potential but which had not previously been estimated from primary biodiversity data. We then summarise the findings from analyses of how land use and related pressures affect local (α) diversity and spatial turnover (β diversity), and how these effects are mediated by ecological attributes of species. We discuss the relevance of our findings for policy, before ending with some directions of ongoing and possible future research.
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El pinsapo es un árbol endémico de la península Ibérica. Tiene su origen a finales del Terciario en el contexto de especiación de los abetos circum-mediterráneos. Sus poblaciones se localizan en la Serranía de Ronda. En este artículo abordamos un análisis del nicho ecológico del pinsapo: a partir de un muestreo sistemático, relacionamos registros de presencia y ausencia de la especie con un conjunto de variables ambientales explicativas. Ajustamos un modelo estadístico causal y generamos distintos modelos de distribución potencial basados en diferentes métodos predictivos. En el muestreo diseñado, hallamos registros de presencia entre los 700 y los 1700 metros sobre el nivel del mar, excepcionalmente fuera de este rango, siendo especialmente abundantes en torno a los 1200 m, con pendientes entre moderadas y escarpadas que promediaron el 35,22 %. Es un organismo claramente umbrófilo: más del 70 % de los registros aparecieron en laderas orientadas hacia el norte. El pinsapo siempre apareció en lugares con precipitaciones anuales por encima de los 800 mm, generalmente entre 1000 y 1200 mm. El nicho ecológico fundamental del pinsapo pudo ser explicado empleando tan sólo tres predictores no autocorrelacionados con datos sobre precipitaciones, temperaturas e incidencia solar. En concreto, el modelo de regresión logística ajustado con datos de presencia y ausencia alcanzó una R2 de McFadden = 0,95, una Especificidad = 0,98, una Sensibilidad = 0,98 y un TSS = 0,97. Los resultados de la modelización de la distribución potencial calibrados con diferentes algoritmos (BIOCLIM, DOMAIN, MARS, FDA, CART, RANDOM FOREST) y datos de entrada (presencia, presencia/ausencia, presencia/background), arrojaron una mayor capacidad discriminante de los algoritmos netamente predictivos, como RANDOM FOREST (AUC = 0,97; COR= 0,86) y MARS (AUC = 0,98; COR= 0,84), tanto con registros de presencia/ausencia como con registros de presencia/background. Por el contrario, los métodos descriptivos ofrecieron una peor capacidad discriminante, caso de BIOCLIM (AUC = 0,93; COR= 0,63). Finalmente, el modelo de consenso logró capturar la tendencia central de los modelos individuales ofreciendo una predicción espacial más consistente.
Since the mid-20th century, trees in the Andalusian oak dehesa and forests have exhibited stress that often ends in the death of the tree. These events have been associated with Phytophthora cinnamomi, a soil-borne root pathogen, which causes root rot, bark cankers, decay and mortality – known as oak decline. Phytophthora cinnamomi is most virulent under high ambient temperatures combined with moist soils, i.e., in Mediterranean areas. We used presence/absence point locations of the Andalusian Network for Damage Monitoring in Forest Ecosystems (RED SEDA) pathogen survey and four categories of environmental variables – meteorological, edaphic, topographic and tree cover – to accurately predict Phytophthora cinnamomi current and future potential distribution within Andalusia, for a range of climate change scenarios, using ensemble species distribution models (SDMs). We assessed which categories of environmental variables explained the distribution of the pathogen, obtained accurate predictions for the current potential distribution of Phytophthora cinnamomi (AUC > 0.95, TSS > 0.70, Kappa > 0.65) and forecasted its future potential distribution. Subsequently, we classified the sites of the pathogen survey within the RED SEDA network in three zones according to the already-recorded presence of the pathogen and the current and future predicted probability of occurrence. Finally, we suggested phytosanitary management strategies for each zone.
Intensive afforestation programmes were developed in Spain during the end of the 20 th century and the beginning of the 21st, under the European Economic Community‘s (EEC) agricultural reforestation directives. However, these afforestations were performed without considering future climate change scenarios and now these areas have to cope with more-severe climatic conditions. We used ensemble Species Distribution Models (SDMs) to study the future stability of cork oak (Quercus suber L.) plantations established in Andalusia between 1993 and 2000. We used presence/absence data from the national forest inventory and RED SEDA Network, together with survival rate data from 2008 for cork oak afforestations planted between 1993 and 2000, to forecast the potential optimal distribution of cork oak and to model the distribution of the survival rate of cork oak afforestations. We evaluated the change over time of the volume overlap of the environmental space between the potential distribution and the afforestations. The ensemble modelling approach gave highly-accurate results for the current potential distribution of cork oak in Andalusia (AUC = 0.943, TSS = 0.718, Kappa = 0.718) and moderately-accurate estimations of the distribution of the survival rate of cork oak afforestations in Andalusia (RMSE = 0.290). We found that 10% of the cork oak afforestations planted between 1993 and 2000 were established in the optimal area of occurrence of cork oak (probability of presence above 70%) and presented an acceptable survival rate (>50%); also, the volume of the environmental space defined by cork oak afforestation decreased over time. We have confirmed the potential of SDMs to predict the distribution of the survival rate of cork oak afforestations and to assess their future stability. In the worst scenario, 3% of the cork oak afforestations would withstand climate change.