Climate change impact predictions on Pinus patula and Pinus tecunumanii populations in Mexico and Central America uri icon

abstract

  • Climate change is likely to have a negative impact on natural populations of Pinus patula and Pinus tecunumanii, two globally important tree species in plantation forestry. The objective of this work was to evaluate the impact of climate change on the persistence of the natural populations of these species at their actual locations in order to take appropriate conservation measurements. A common approach to assess the impact of climate change on species natural distributions is climate envelope modeling (CEM). CEMs suggest significant impacts of climate change on the natural distribution of the two pine species, but their predictions contain considerable uncertainty related to the adaptive ability of tree populations to withstand future climate conditions. We assessed the adaptive ability of the two pine species based on the evaluations of provenance trials and used the results of these field trials to validate CEM impact assessment studies on provenance collection sites in the wild. The two pine species performed well in a wide range of climates, including conditions that were recorded by CEM as unsuitable for natural pine occurrence. The climate conditions where the two pine species naturally occur are predicted to become in the future more similar to the present climate of some areas where they are successfully established in field trials. These findings suggest that these pine species are in their natural habitat better adapted to climate change than CEM predicts. For the most vulnerable species, P. tecunumanii, human disturbances such as fragmentation from urbanization and conversion to agriculture that are occurring today are more urgent threats requiring action compared to the threat from climate change. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2009
  • 2009