Mapping tree species vulnerability to multiple threats as a guide to restoration and conservation of tropical dry forests
The global biodiversity crisis is exacerbated by anthropogenic threats such as climate change, habitat conversion, and overexploitation. Evaluating the susceptibility of ecosystems and species to these threats is imperative for strategic and cost-effective planning of restoration and conservation efforts.
In this study, the authors assess and compare the impact of five primary threats (climate change, habitat conversion, overexploitation, fire, overgrazing) on 50 prevalent tree species in the Tropical Dry Forests (TDFs) of northwestern Peru and southern Ecuador. Utilizing an ensemble modeling approach, they predicte species distribution ranges, leverage publicly available spatial datasets to gauge threat exposures, and devise a trait-based scoring method to estimate the species-specific sensitivities to each of the five threats.
The findings reveal that all 50 species are under substantial threats, with approximately 46% of the distribution ranges of these species demonstrating high or very high vulnerability to at least one of the five threats. Notably, habitat conversion, overexploitation, and overgrazing emerged as more significant threats to the persistence of populations compared to climate change. Given the limited resources for restoration and conservation interventions, prioritizing areas becomes crucial. To address this, the authors introduce a user-friendly online tool featuring species-specific and general maps that highlight recommended restoration and conservation actions.
Mapping tree species vulnerability to multiple threats as a guide to restoration and conservation of tropical dry forestsAbstract. Global Change Biology. 2020;26(6):3552 - 3568. doi:10.1111/gcb.v26.610.1111/gcb.15028.