Limits...
Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Native Plant Distributions in the Falkland Islands

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The Falkland Islands are predicted to experience up to 2.2°C rise in mean annual temperature over the coming century, greater than four times the rate over the last century. Our study investigates likely vulnerabilities of a suite of range-restricted species whose distributions are associated with archipelago-wide climatic variation. We used present day climate maps calibrated using local weather data, 2020–2080 climate predictions from regional climate models, non-climate variables derived from a digital terrain model and a comprehensive database on local plant distributions. Weighted mean ensemble models were produced to assess changes in range sizes and overlaps between the current range and protected areas network. Target species included three globally threatened Falkland endemics, Nassauvia falklandica, Nastanthus falklandicus and Plantago moorei; and two nationally threatened species, Acaena antarctica and Blechnum cordatum. Our research demonstrates that temperature increases predicted for the next century have the potential to significantly alter plant distributions across the Falklands. Upland species, in particular, were found to be highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. No known locations of target upland species or the southwestern species Plantago moorei are predicted to remain environmentally suitable in the face of predicted climate change. We identify potential refugia for these species and associated gaps in the current protected areas network. Species currently restricted to the milder western parts of the archipelago are broadly predicted to expand their ranges under warmer temperatures. Our results emphasise the importance of implementing suitable adaptation strategies to offset climate change impacts, particularly site management. There is an urgent need for long-term monitoring and artificial warming experiments; the results of this study will inform the selection of the most suitable locations for these. Results are also helping inform management recommendations for the Falkland Islands Government who seek to better conserve their biodiversity and meet commitments to multi-lateral environmental agreements.

No MeSH data available.


Target species’ present day environmentally suitable space and predicted changes in short, medium, long term.In relation to the present day, predictions are shown for the mean (± 1 S.E) percentage by which the environmentally suitable area available changes (negative values correspond to a range reduction, positive to an expansion), percentage overlap in environmentally suitable area and percentage change in mean environmental suitability; changes are calculated for the short (2020), medium (2050) and long term (2080). Mean values calculated for each species across the five RCMs used. It is worth noting that % overlap in suitable environmental space would be 100% for the present day. For changes in environmentally suitable area available a value of < 100%, 100% or > 100% corresponds to a decrease, no alteration or increase.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5120834&req=5

pone.0167026.g002: Target species’ present day environmentally suitable space and predicted changes in short, medium, long term.In relation to the present day, predictions are shown for the mean (± 1 S.E) percentage by which the environmentally suitable area available changes (negative values correspond to a range reduction, positive to an expansion), percentage overlap in environmentally suitable area and percentage change in mean environmental suitability; changes are calculated for the short (2020), medium (2050) and long term (2080). Mean values calculated for each species across the five RCMs used. It is worth noting that % overlap in suitable environmental space would be 100% for the present day. For changes in environmentally suitable area available a value of < 100%, 100% or > 100% corresponds to a decrease, no alteration or increase.

Mentions: Amongst target species and under today’s climate, upland species have the smallest predicted ranges, whereas western species have the largest predicted ranges (Table 4, Figs 1 and 2). Overall, ensemble model accuracy remained very high, ranging from 97.2–100% (Table 4). Table 5 shows the variables most important in the modelling of each species’ distribution for each model type: for all upland species’ the most important contributing variable in the models is mean temperature of the warmest quarter.


Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Native Plant Distributions in the Falkland Islands
Target species’ present day environmentally suitable space and predicted changes in short, medium, long term.In relation to the present day, predictions are shown for the mean (± 1 S.E) percentage by which the environmentally suitable area available changes (negative values correspond to a range reduction, positive to an expansion), percentage overlap in environmentally suitable area and percentage change in mean environmental suitability; changes are calculated for the short (2020), medium (2050) and long term (2080). Mean values calculated for each species across the five RCMs used. It is worth noting that % overlap in suitable environmental space would be 100% for the present day. For changes in environmentally suitable area available a value of < 100%, 100% or > 100% corresponds to a decrease, no alteration or increase.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5120834&req=5

pone.0167026.g002: Target species’ present day environmentally suitable space and predicted changes in short, medium, long term.In relation to the present day, predictions are shown for the mean (± 1 S.E) percentage by which the environmentally suitable area available changes (negative values correspond to a range reduction, positive to an expansion), percentage overlap in environmentally suitable area and percentage change in mean environmental suitability; changes are calculated for the short (2020), medium (2050) and long term (2080). Mean values calculated for each species across the five RCMs used. It is worth noting that % overlap in suitable environmental space would be 100% for the present day. For changes in environmentally suitable area available a value of < 100%, 100% or > 100% corresponds to a decrease, no alteration or increase.
Mentions: Amongst target species and under today’s climate, upland species have the smallest predicted ranges, whereas western species have the largest predicted ranges (Table 4, Figs 1 and 2). Overall, ensemble model accuracy remained very high, ranging from 97.2–100% (Table 4). Table 5 shows the variables most important in the modelling of each species’ distribution for each model type: for all upland species’ the most important contributing variable in the models is mean temperature of the warmest quarter.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The Falkland Islands are predicted to experience up to 2.2&deg;C rise in mean annual temperature over the coming century, greater than four times the rate over the last century. Our study investigates likely vulnerabilities of a suite of range-restricted species whose distributions are associated with archipelago-wide climatic variation. We used present day climate maps calibrated using local weather data, 2020&ndash;2080 climate predictions from regional climate models, non-climate variables derived from a digital terrain model and a comprehensive database on local plant distributions. Weighted mean ensemble models were produced to assess changes in range sizes and overlaps between the current range and protected areas network. Target species included three globally threatened Falkland endemics, Nassauvia falklandica, Nastanthus falklandicus and Plantago moorei; and two nationally threatened species, Acaena antarctica and Blechnum cordatum. Our research demonstrates that temperature increases predicted for the next century have the potential to significantly alter plant distributions across the Falklands. Upland species, in particular, were found to be highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. No known locations of target upland species or the southwestern species Plantago moorei are predicted to remain environmentally suitable in the face of predicted climate change. We identify potential refugia for these species and associated gaps in the current protected areas network. Species currently restricted to the milder western parts of the archipelago are broadly predicted to expand their ranges under warmer temperatures. Our results emphasise the importance of implementing suitable adaptation strategies to offset climate change impacts, particularly site management. There is an urgent need for long-term monitoring and artificial warming experiments; the results of this study will inform the selection of the most suitable locations for these. Results are also helping inform management recommendations for the Falkland Islands Government who seek to better conserve their biodiversity and meet commitments to multi-lateral environmental agreements.

No MeSH data available.