Plant Diversity ›› 2021, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (02): 117-124.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2020.07.001

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Modeling impacts of climate change on the potential distribution of six endemic baobab species in Madagascar

Jun-Nan Wana,d, Ndungu J. Mbaria,c, Sheng-Wei Wanga,c, Bing Liub,d, Brian N. Mwangia,c, Jean R. E. Rasoarahonae, Hai-Ping Xina,d, Ya-Dong Zhoua,d, Qing-Feng Wanga,d   

  1. a Key Laboratory of Plant Germplasm Enhancement and Specialty Agriculture, Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, Hubei, 430074, PR China
    b State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100093, PR China
    c University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, PR China
    d Sino-Africa Joint Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, Hubei, 430074, PR China
    e High School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Antananarivo, P.O. Box 175, Madagascar
  • Received:2020-01-14 Revised:2020-07-07 Online:2021-04-25 Published:2021-05-20
  • Contact: Ya-Dong Zhou, Qing-Feng Wang
  • Supported by:
    This study was supported by the funds from Sino-Africa Joint Research Center, CAS, China (Y323771W07 and SAJC201322) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (31800176).

Abstract: Madagascar, a globally renowned biodiversity hotspot characterized by high rates of endemism, is one of the few remaining refugia for many plants and animal species. However, global climate change has greatly affected the natural ecosystem and endemic species living in Madagascar, and will likely continue to influence species distribution in the future. Madagascar is home to six endemic baobab (Adansonia spp., Bombacoideae [Malvaceae]) species (Adansonia grandidieri, A. suarezensis, A. madagascariensis, A. perrieri, A. rubrostipa, A. za), which are remarkable and endangered plants. This study aimed to model the current distribution of suitable habitat for each baobab species endemic to Madagascar and determine the effect that climate change will have on suitable baobab habitat by the years 2050 and 2070. The distribution was modeled using MaxEnt based on locality information of 245 occurrence sites of six species from both online database and our own field work. A total of seven climatic variables were used for the modeling process. The present distribution of all six Madagascar's baobabs was largely influenced by temperature-related factors. Although both expansion and contraction of suitable habitat are predicted for all species, loss of original suitable habitat is predicted to be extensive. For the most widespread Madagascar baobab, A. za, more than 40% of its original habitat is predicted to be lost because of climate change. Based on these findings, we recommend that areas predicted to contract in response to climate change should be designated key protection regions for baobab conservation.

Key words: Madagascar, Adansonia, Climate change, MaxEnt, Potential distribution