Plant Diversity ›› 2018, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (01): 1-18.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2017.11.002

• Articles •     Next Articles

Determining bioclimatic space of Himalayan alder for agroforestry systems in Nepal

Santosh Kumar Ranaa,b,c, Hum Kala Ranaa,c, Krishna Kumar Shresthac, Suresh Sujakhud, Sailesh Ranjitkare   

  1. a Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Kunming 650201, China;
    b University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    c Systematics and Biodiversity Unit, Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal;
    d Jade Consult Private Limited, Kabilmarg, Thapathali, Kathmandu, POB 746, Nepal;
    e World Agroforestry Centre East and Central Asia, 132 Lanhei Rd, Heilongtan, Kunming, China
  • Received:2016-09-29 Revised:2017-11-09 Online:2018-02-25 Published:2021-11-05
  • Contact: Sailesh Ranjitkar

Abstract: Himalayan alder species are proven to be very useful in traditional as well as contemporary agroforestry practice. These nitrogen-fixing trees are also useful in the land restoration. Therefore, understanding the distribution of Himalayan alder and the potential zone for plantation is meaningful in the agroforestry sector. Suitable climatic zones of Alnus spp. were modelled in MaxEnt software using a subset of least correlated bioclimatic variables for current conditions (1950-2000), topographic variables (DEM derived) and Landuse Landcover (LULC) data. We generated several models and selected the best model against random models using ANOVA and t-test. The environmental variables that best explained the current distribution of the species were identified and used to project into the future. For future projections, ensemble scenarios of climate change projection derived from the results of 19 Earth System Models (ESM) were used. Our model revealed that the most favorable conditions for Alnus nepalensis are in central Nepal in the moist north-west facing slope, whereas for Alnus nitida they are in western Nepal. The major climatic factor that contributes to Alnus species distribution in Nepal appears to be precipitation during the warmest quarter for A. nepalensis and precipitation during the driest quarter for A. nitida. Future projections revealed changes in the probability distribution of these species, as well as where they need conservation and where they can be planted. Also, our model predicts that the distribution of Alnus spp. in hilly regions will remain unchanged, and therefore may represent sites that can be used to revitalize traditional agroforestry systems and extract source material for land restoration.

Key words: Alder, Agroforestry, Species distribution modeling, Climate change, MaxEnt