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Ericaceous Vegetation of the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia Will Prevail in the Face of Climate Change

Title data

Kidane, Yohannes ; Hoffmann, Samuel ; Jaeschke, Anja ; Beloiu, Mirela ; Beierkuhnlein, Carl:
Ericaceous Vegetation of the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia Will Prevail in the Face of Climate Change.
online , 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-620392/v1

Abstract in another language

Climate change impacts ecosystem structure, functioning, and spatial distribution. Among others, it will result in a shift in ecosystem boundaries, which will result in the contraction of some vulnerable ecosystems, such as the alpine zone of high mountains. The African tropical high mountain ecosystems, i.e., Afroalpine ecosystems, are spatially extremely isolated and highly vulnerable. The ecosystems dominated by ericaceous woody plants are vital components at the transition between forests and Afroalpine vegetation. Here, we modeled the impact of projected climate change on the current and future distribution of ericaceous vegetation in the Bale Mountains. We hypothesize climate change will result in modified suitability of sites for ericaceous vegetation, leading to the expansion of ericaceous vegetation to higher elevation and contraction in other altitudes. Consequently, the expansion and dominance of ericaceous vegetation could negatively impact Afroalpine ecosystems. We applied and compared four modeling algorithms based on bioclimatic variables as environmental predictors: Generalized Linear Models (GLMs), Bioclim, Domain, and Support Vector Machines (SVM) algorithms. After testing for collinearity, we selected ten historical (current) and future bioclimatic variables. We used two representative concentration pathways (RCPs) of IPPC5 climate projections, namely RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, for future climate projection. The 2050s and 2070s projections resulted in increased ericaceous vegetation cover towards the midaltitude of northwestern and northern parts of the massif and the Sanetti plateau. Close ericaceous vegetation stands at high altitudes are projected to increase while receding from the lower range of the current distribution range across the massif. Moreover, the current ericaceous vegetation distribution is positively related to the temperature and precipitation trends, which reaffirms the critical role of temperature in shaping species distributions along elevational gradients. The results indicate the high likelihood for considerable changes in this biodiversity hotspot in Eastern Africa.

Further data

Item Type: Preprint, postprint
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography > Chair Biogeography - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2021 07:40
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2021 07:40
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/66932