Implications of climate change on the distribution and conservation of Cabo Verde endemic trees

Danilson Varela, Maria M. Romeiras, Luís Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate change is one of the most significant challenges to biodiversity conservation, particularly in dry tropical islands, such as the Cabo Verde archipelago where only three endemic tree taxa occur – Dracaena draco subsp. caboverdeana, Phoenix atlantica and Sideroxylon marginatum – all classified as threatened. The main goal of this study was to predict the possible shifts in the climatically suitable habitat ranges for Cabo Verdean endemic tree species under different climate change scenarios. We applied species distribution models (SDMs) to the available occurrence data, and projected the distribution of the three taxa for 2050 and 2080, according to the expected climate change scenarios. The best models were obtained using the Random Forest algorithm; they showed that, by 2080, the suitable habitat for Dracaena draco subsp. caboverdeana and Sideroxylon marginatum will have decreased by 28% and 34%, respectively; conversely, the suitable habitat will have increased by 59% for Phoenix atlantica, the taxon best adapted to arid conditions. Additionally, Santo Antão is the island where endangered trees are more encompassed by protected areas. Overall, this study contributed with new integrated data to support the design and implementation of a strategic plan to promote the conservation and ecological value of Cabo Verde endemic trees in this climatically vulnerable country.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02025
JournalGlobal Ecology and Conservation
Volume34
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Aridity
  • Climate Change
  • Drought
  • Ecological modelling
  • Endemic trees
  • Macaronesia
  • Protected areas
  • Tropical Islands

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