Plant Diversity ›› 2023, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (05): 552-568.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2023.03.014

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Climate change impacts the distribution of Quercus section Cyclobalanopsis (Fagaceae), a keystone lineage in East Asian evergreen broadleaved forests

Lin Lina,b, Xiao-Long Jiangc, Kai-Qi Guoc,d, Amy Byrnee, Min Denga,b   

  1. a. School of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Yunnan Key Laboratory of Plant Reproductive Adaptation and Evolutionary Ecology and Institute of Biodiversity, Yunnan University, Kunming 650500, Yunnan, China;
    b. Laboratory of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of BioResources in Yunnan, Yunnan University, Kunming 650500, Yunnan, China;
    c. College of Forestry, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004, Hunan, China;
    d. Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden, Shanghai 201602, China;
    e. The Morton Arboretum, Lile, IL 60532-1293, USA
  • Received:2022-10-17 Revised:2023-03-27 Online:2023-09-25 Published:2023-11-04
  • Contact: Xiao-Long Jiang,;Min Deng,
  • Supported by:
    This work was supposed by the National Scientific Foundation of China (NSFC) (Grants nos. 31972858, 31700174), Yunnan Key Laboratory for Integrative Conservation of Plant Species with Extremely Small Populations (Grant No. PSESP2021), the Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. Y4ZK111B01) and the project of the Yunnan Academy of Forestry and Grassland (Grant No. KFJJ21-05).

Abstract: East Asian evergreen broadleaved forests (EBFLs) harbor high species richness, but these ecosystems are severely impacted by global climate change and deforestation. Conserving and managing EBLFs requires understanding dominant tree distribution dynamics. In this study, we used 29 species in Quercus section Cyclobalanopsis—a keystone lineage in East Asian EBLFs—as proxies to predict EBLF distribution dynamics using species distribution models (SDMs). We examined climatic niche overlap, similarity, and equivalency among seven biogeographical regions’ species using ‘ecospat’. We also estimated the effectiveness of protected areas in the predicted range to elucidate priority conservation regions. Our results showed that the climatic niches of most geographical groups differ. The western species under the Indian summer monsoon regime were mainly impacted by temperature factors, whereas precipitation impacted the eastern species under the East Asian summer monsoon regime. Our simulation predicted a northward range expansion of section Cyclobalanopsis between 2081 and 2100, except for the ranges of the three Himalayan species analyzed, which might shrink significantly. The greatest shift of highly suitable areas was predicted for the species in the South Pacific, with a centroid shift of over 300 km. Remarkably, only 7.56% of suitable habitat is currently inside protected areas, and the percentage is predicted to continue declining in the future. To better conserve Asian EBLFs, establishing nature reserves in their northern distribution ranges, and transplanting the populations with predicted decreasing numbers and degraded habitats to their future highly suitable areas, should be high-priority objectives.

Key words: Species distribution model (SDM), East Asian tropics and subtropics, Biodiversity conservation, Distribution dynamics, Global climate change