Predicting changes to plant richness and diversity in Madagascar

This study models and analyses scenarios to predict future impacts of climate and land cover change on the tropical plant communities of this megadiverse island nation.

Data resources used via GBIF : Occurrences for 828 genera and 2,186 species

Climate and land cover changes have the potential, both alone and together, to reshape terrestrial plant communities in tropical settings like the megadiverse island nation of Madagascar. Hoping to distinguish the combined and individual impacts of these two major drivers of changes, the authors modelled future shifts in species richness based on GBIF-mediated data for 828 genera and 2,186 species of plants in Madagascar, then quantified the changes by elevation and within the country’s major ecoregions.

The results show that climate and land cover alterations will produce large-scale shifts in species diversity and richness, but with heterogeneous effects that sometimes forecast gains in certain regions. What does seem consistent is that the high-altitude ericoid thickets of Madagascar’s four major mountains, with their high levels of endemism, will be highly vulnerable under any and all scenarios.

 

Citations

Brown KA, Parks KE, Bethell CA, Johnson SE & Mulligan M (2015) Predicting plant diversity patterns in Madagascar: understanding the effects of climate and land cover change in a biodiversity hotspot. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0122721. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122721

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