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Forecasting large-scale habitat suitability of European bustards under climate change: the role of environmental and geographic variables

AutorEstrada, Alba ; Delgado, M. Paula; Arroyo, Beatriz ; Traba, Juan; Morales, Manuel B.
Fecha de publicación3-mar-2016
EditorPublic Library of Science
CitaciónPLoS ONE 11(3): e0149810 (2016)
ResumenWe modelled the distribution of two vulnerable steppe birds, Otis tarda and Tetrax tetrax, in the Western Palearctic and projected their suitability up to the year 2080. We performed two types of models for each species: one that included environmental and geographic variables (space-included model) and a second one that only included environmental variables (space-excluded model). Our assumption was that ignoring geographic variables in the modelling procedure may result in inaccurate forecasting of species distributions. On the other hand, the inclusion of geographic variables may generate an artificial constraint on future projections. Our results show that space-included models performed better than space-excluded models. While distribution of suitable areas for T. tetrax in the future was approximately the same as at present in the space-included model, the space-excluded model predicted a pronounced geographic change of suitable areas for this species. In the case of O. tarda, the space-included model showed that many areas of current presence shifted to low or medium suitability in the future, whereas a northward expansion of intermediate suitable areas was predicted by the space-excluded one. According to the best models, current distribution of these species can restrict future distribution, probably due to dispersal constraints and site fidelity. Species ranges would be expected to shift gradually over the studied time period and, therefore, we consider it unlikely that most of the current distribution of these species in southern Europe will disappear in less than one hundred years. Therefore, populations currently occupying suitable areas should be a priority for conservation policies. Our results also show that climate-only models may have low explanatory power, and could benefit from adjustments using information on other environmental variables and biological traits; if the latter are not available, including the geographic predictor may improve the reliability of predicted results.
Versión del editorhttp://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149810
ReferenciasEstrada, Alba; Delgado, M. Paula; Arroyo, Beatriz; Traba, Juan; Morales, Manuel B. Forecasting Large-Scale Habitat Suitability of European Bustards under Climate Change: The Role of Environmental and Geographic Variables [Dataset]. http://dx.doi.org/10.20350/digitalCSIC/1995 . http://hdl.handle.net/10261/128941
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