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Conserv Biol. 2007 Dec;21(6):1545-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00814.x.

Modeling the effect of climate change on the distribution of oak and pine species of Mexico.

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Instituto de Geografía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior, Ciudad Universitaria, México, D.F. C.P. 14510, México.


We examined the vulnerability of 34 species of oaks (Quercus) and pines (Pinus) to the effects of global climate change in Mexico. We regionalized the HadCM2 model of climate change with local climatic data (mean annual temperature and rainfall) and downscaled the model with the inverse distance-weighted method. Databases of herbaria specimens, genetic algorithms (GARP), and digital covers of biophysical variables that affect oaks and pines were used to project geographic distributions of the species under a severe and conservative scenario of climate change for the year 2050. Starting with the current average temperature of 20.2 degrees C and average precipitation of 793 mm, under the severe warming scenario mean temperature and precipitation changed to 22.7 degrees C and 660 mm, respectively, in 2050. For the conservative warming scenario, these variables shifted to 21.8 degrees C and 721 mm. Responses to the different scenarios of climate change were predicted to be species-specific and related to each species climate affinity. The current geographic distribution of oaks and pines decreased 7-48% and 0.2-64%, respectively. The more vulnerable pines were Pinus rudis, P. chihuahuana, P. oocarpa, and P. culminicola, and the most vulnerable oaks were Quercus crispipilis, Q. peduncularis, Q. acutifolia, and Q. sideroxyla. In addition to habitat conservation, we think sensitive pine and oak species should be looked at more closely to define ex situ strategies (i.e., seed preservation in germplasm banks) for their long-term conservation. Modeling climatic-change scenarios is important to the development of conservation strategies.

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