The relative importance of deforestation, precipitation change, and temperature sensitivity in determining the future distributions and diversity of Amazonian plant species

Kenneth Feeley, Yadvinder Malhi, Przemyslaw Zelazowski, Miles R. Silman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tropical forests are threatened by many human disturbances - two of the most important of which are deforestation and climate change. To mitigate the impacts of these disturbances, it is important to understand their potential effects on the distributions of species. In the tropics, such understanding has been hindered by poor knowledge of the current distributions and range limits of most species. Here, we use herbarium collection records to model the current and future distributions of ca. 3000 Amazonian plant species. We project these distributions into the future under a range of different scenarios related to the magnitude of climate change and extent of deforestation as well as the response of species to changes in temperature, precipitation, and atmospheric concentrations of CO 2. We find that the future of Amazonian diversity will be dependant primarily on the ability of species to tolerate or adapt to rising temperatures. If the thermal niches of tropical plant species are fixed and incapable of expanding under rapid warming, then the negative effects of climate change will overshadow the effects of deforestation, greatly reducing the area of suitable habitat available to most species and potentially leading to massive losses of biodiversity throughout the Amazon. If tropical species are generally capable of tolerating warmer temperatures, rates of habitat loss will be greatly reduced but many parts of Amazonia may still experience rapid losses of diversity, with the effects of enhanced seasonal water stress being similar in magnitude to the effects of deforestation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2636-2647
Number of pages12
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Volume18
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Deforestation
deforestation
Climate change
temperature
Tropics
Temperature
climate change
Biodiversity
Carbon Monoxide
disturbance
herbarium
habitat loss
water stress
tropical forest
plant species
distribution
Water
niche
warming
effect

Keywords

  • Biodiversity informatics
  • Extinction
  • Global warming
  • Natural history collections
  • Species distribution models
  • Species migrations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

The relative importance of deforestation, precipitation change, and temperature sensitivity in determining the future distributions and diversity of Amazonian plant species. / Feeley, Kenneth; Malhi, Yadvinder; Zelazowski, Przemyslaw; Silman, Miles R.

In: Global Change Biology, Vol. 18, No. 8, 01.08.2012, p. 2636-2647.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{d4e8e455921042878778040d881363bd,
title = "The relative importance of deforestation, precipitation change, and temperature sensitivity in determining the future distributions and diversity of Amazonian plant species",
abstract = "Tropical forests are threatened by many human disturbances - two of the most important of which are deforestation and climate change. To mitigate the impacts of these disturbances, it is important to understand their potential effects on the distributions of species. In the tropics, such understanding has been hindered by poor knowledge of the current distributions and range limits of most species. Here, we use herbarium collection records to model the current and future distributions of ca. 3000 Amazonian plant species. We project these distributions into the future under a range of different scenarios related to the magnitude of climate change and extent of deforestation as well as the response of species to changes in temperature, precipitation, and atmospheric concentrations of CO 2. We find that the future of Amazonian diversity will be dependant primarily on the ability of species to tolerate or adapt to rising temperatures. If the thermal niches of tropical plant species are fixed and incapable of expanding under rapid warming, then the negative effects of climate change will overshadow the effects of deforestation, greatly reducing the area of suitable habitat available to most species and potentially leading to massive losses of biodiversity throughout the Amazon. If tropical species are generally capable of tolerating warmer temperatures, rates of habitat loss will be greatly reduced but many parts of Amazonia may still experience rapid losses of diversity, with the effects of enhanced seasonal water stress being similar in magnitude to the effects of deforestation.",
keywords = "Biodiversity informatics, Extinction, Global warming, Natural history collections, Species distribution models, Species migrations",
author = "Kenneth Feeley and Yadvinder Malhi and Przemyslaw Zelazowski and Silman, {Miles R.}",
year = "2012",
month = "8",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02719.x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "18",
pages = "2636--2647",
journal = "Global Change Biology",
issn = "1354-1013",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "8",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The relative importance of deforestation, precipitation change, and temperature sensitivity in determining the future distributions and diversity of Amazonian plant species

AU - Feeley, Kenneth

AU - Malhi, Yadvinder

AU - Zelazowski, Przemyslaw

AU - Silman, Miles R.

PY - 2012/8/1

Y1 - 2012/8/1

N2 - Tropical forests are threatened by many human disturbances - two of the most important of which are deforestation and climate change. To mitigate the impacts of these disturbances, it is important to understand their potential effects on the distributions of species. In the tropics, such understanding has been hindered by poor knowledge of the current distributions and range limits of most species. Here, we use herbarium collection records to model the current and future distributions of ca. 3000 Amazonian plant species. We project these distributions into the future under a range of different scenarios related to the magnitude of climate change and extent of deforestation as well as the response of species to changes in temperature, precipitation, and atmospheric concentrations of CO 2. We find that the future of Amazonian diversity will be dependant primarily on the ability of species to tolerate or adapt to rising temperatures. If the thermal niches of tropical plant species are fixed and incapable of expanding under rapid warming, then the negative effects of climate change will overshadow the effects of deforestation, greatly reducing the area of suitable habitat available to most species and potentially leading to massive losses of biodiversity throughout the Amazon. If tropical species are generally capable of tolerating warmer temperatures, rates of habitat loss will be greatly reduced but many parts of Amazonia may still experience rapid losses of diversity, with the effects of enhanced seasonal water stress being similar in magnitude to the effects of deforestation.

AB - Tropical forests are threatened by many human disturbances - two of the most important of which are deforestation and climate change. To mitigate the impacts of these disturbances, it is important to understand their potential effects on the distributions of species. In the tropics, such understanding has been hindered by poor knowledge of the current distributions and range limits of most species. Here, we use herbarium collection records to model the current and future distributions of ca. 3000 Amazonian plant species. We project these distributions into the future under a range of different scenarios related to the magnitude of climate change and extent of deforestation as well as the response of species to changes in temperature, precipitation, and atmospheric concentrations of CO 2. We find that the future of Amazonian diversity will be dependant primarily on the ability of species to tolerate or adapt to rising temperatures. If the thermal niches of tropical plant species are fixed and incapable of expanding under rapid warming, then the negative effects of climate change will overshadow the effects of deforestation, greatly reducing the area of suitable habitat available to most species and potentially leading to massive losses of biodiversity throughout the Amazon. If tropical species are generally capable of tolerating warmer temperatures, rates of habitat loss will be greatly reduced but many parts of Amazonia may still experience rapid losses of diversity, with the effects of enhanced seasonal water stress being similar in magnitude to the effects of deforestation.

KW - Biodiversity informatics

KW - Extinction

KW - Global warming

KW - Natural history collections

KW - Species distribution models

KW - Species migrations

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84863608393&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84863608393&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02719.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02719.x

M3 - Article

VL - 18

SP - 2636

EP - 2647

JO - Global Change Biology

JF - Global Change Biology

SN - 1354-1013

IS - 8

ER -