Cold spot microrefugia hold the key to survival for Brazil's Critically Endangered Araucaria tree

Oliver J Wilson, Richard J Walters, Francis E Mayle, Débora V Lingner, Alexander C Vibrans

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review

16 Citeringar (SciVal)


Brazil's Araucaria tree (Araucaria angustifolia) is an iconic living fossil and a defining element of the Atlantic Forest global biodiversity hotspot. But despite more than two millennia as a cultural icon in southern Brazil, Araucaria is on the brink of extinction, having lost 97% of its extent to 20th-century logging. Although logging is now illegal, 21st-century climate change constitutes a new-but so far unevaluated-threat to Araucaria's future survival. We use a robust ensemble modelling approach, using recently developed climate data, high-resolution topography and fine-scale vegetation maps, to predict the species' response to climate change and its implications for conservation on meso- and microclimate scales. We show that climate-only models predict the total disappearance of Araucaria's most suitable habitat by 2070, but incorporating topographic effects allows potential highland microrefugia to be identified. The legacy of 20th-century destruction is evident-more than a third of these likely holdouts have already lost their natural vegetation-and 21st-century climate change will leave just 3.5% of remnant forest and 28.4% of highland grasslands suitable for Araucaria. Existing protected areas cover only 2.5% of the surviving microrefugia for this culturally important species, and none occur in any designated indigenous territory. Our results suggest that anthropogenic climate change is likely to commit Araucaria to a second consecutive century of significant losses, but targeted interventions could help ensure its survival in the wild.

Sidor (från-till)4339-4351
TidskriftGlobal Change Biology
StatusPublished - 2019 dec.

Bibliografisk information

© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Ekologi
  • Klimatforskning


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