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Article alert: Modelling phytoclimatic versatility as a large scale indicator of adaptive capacity to climate change in forest ecosystems

by: Ulla Vänttinen

García-López, J.M., Allué, C, 2011. Modelling phytoclimatic versatility as a large scale indicator of adaptive capacity to climate change in forest ecosystems. Ecological Modelling, Volume 222, Issue 8, p.1436-1447


CLIMPAIR is a new phytoclimatic model, correlative and niche-based, which simultaneously assesses non-linear, non-statistical and dual measurements of proximity/potentiality of a site with respect to a number of climatic ranges of species, defined by convex hulls, within a suitability space. This set of phytoclimatic distances makes it possible to evaluate the degree to which each species is suitable for that site. Considering not only the number of species compatible (expected species richness), but also all those compatible covers presenting a high level of suitability evenness and finally applying an indicator derived from Shannon's classic entropy index to the set of standardized phytoclimatic coordinates in the suitability hyperspace, we can evaluate the phytoclimatic entropy which may be considered as a means of estimating the phytoclimatic versatility of the site. A site with high phytoclimatic entropy would promise versatile future behaviour, characterized by a wide range of possibilities of adaptation to climate change, and hence versatility can be used as an index of resilience and ability of a forest ecosystem to adapt to climate change. The model has been applied to peninsular Spain for 18 forest tree species and 12 climatic variables between the current mean climate (period 1951-1999) and a future climatic scenario (period 2040-2069). The results generally point to a significant decrease in the versatility of forest tree formations in the area studied, which is not homogeneous owing to a dual altitudinal/latitudinal decoupling. The decrease in versatility is greater in Mediterranean biogeographical areas than in Euro-Siberian ones, where in some cases it actually increases. In altitudinal terms, areas at elevations of less than 1500. m tend to become less versatile than areas situated at higher elevations, where versatility increases partly as a result of enrichment of alpine conifer forests with broadleaf species. 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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