Plant Diversity ›› 2024, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (01): 91-100.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2023.05.001

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Projected impacts of climate change on the habitat of Xerophyta species in Africa

Vincent Okelo Wangaa,b,c, Boniface K. Ngaregab,c,d, Millicent Akinyi Ouloa,b,c, Elijah Mbandi Mkalaa,b,c, Veronicah Mutele Ngumbauf, Guy Eric Onjalalainaa,b,c, Wyclif Ochieng Odagoa,b,c, Consolata Nanjalaa,b,c, Clintone Onyango Ochienga,b,c, Moses Kirega Gichuae, Robert Wahiti Giturue, Guang-Wan Hua,b,c   

  1. a. CAS Key Laboratory of Plant Germplasm Enhancement and Specialty Agriculture, Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China;
    b. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    c. Sino-Africa Joint Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China;
    d. Centre for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun 666303, China;
    e. Botany Department, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya;
    f. East African Herbarium, National Museums of Kenya, P.O. Box 451660-0100, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Received:2022-11-04 Revised:2023-04-27 Online:2024-01-25 Published:2024-03-02
  • Contact: Guang-Wan Hu,
  • Supported by:
    We are sincerely thankful to the anonymous reviewers for comments and recommendations that helped improve this manuscript. This work was supported by grants from the International Partnership Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (151853KYSB20190027), Sino-Africa Joint Research Center, CAS (SAJC202101) and The ANSO Scholarship for Young Talents, PhD Fellowship Program University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.

Abstract: Climate change poses a serious long-term threat to biodiversity. To effectively reduce biodiversity loss, conservationists need to have a thorough understanding of the preferred habitats of species and the variables that affect their distribution. Therefore, predicting the impact of climate change on species-appropriate habitats may help mitigate the potential threats to biodiversity distribution. Xerophyta, a monocotyledonous genus of the family Velloziaceae is native to mainland Africa, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula. The key drivers of Xerophyta habitat distribution and preference are unknown. Using 308 species occurrence data and eight environmental variables, the MaxEnt model was used to determine the potential distribution of six Xerophyta species in Africa under past, current and future climate change scenarios. The results showed that the models had a good predictive ability (Area Under the Curve and True Skill Statistics values for all SDMs were more than 0.902), indicating high accuracy in forecasting the potential geographic distribution of Xerophyta species. The main bioclimatic variables that impacted potential distributions of most Xerophyta species were mean temperature of the driest quarter (Bio9) and precipitation of the warmest quarter (Bio18). According to our models, tropical Africa has zones of moderate and high suitability for Xerophyta taxa, which is consistent with the majority of documented species localities. The habitat suitability of the existing range of the Xerophyta species varied based on the climate scenario, with most species experiencing a range loss greater than the range gain regardless of the climate scenario. The projected spatiotemporal patterns of Xerophyta species help guide recommendations for conservation efforts.

Key words: Africa, Climate change, MaxEnt model, Potential suitable distribution, Velloziaceae, Xerophyta