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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.
In: Scientific Reports. Vol. 12 (3 February 2022) . - No.1858.
ISSN 2045-2322
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-05846-z

Abstract in another language

Climate change impacts the structure, functioning, and distribution of species and ecosystems. It will shift ecosystem boundaries, potentially affecting vulnerable ecosystems, such as tropical Africa's high mountain ecosystems, i.e., afroalpine ecosystems, and their highly susceptible uniquely adapted species. However, ecosystems along these mountains are not expected to respond similarly to the change. The ericaceous woody vegetation, located between the low-elevation broadleaf forests and high-elevation afroalpine vegetation, are anticipated to be affected differently. We hypothesize that projected climate change will result in an upward expansion and increasing dominance of ericaceous vegetation, which will negatively impact the endemic rich afroalpine ecosystems of the extensive Sanetti plateau. Hence, we modeled the impact of future climate change on the distribution of ericaceous vegetation and discussed its effect on bordering ecosystems in the Bale Mountains. We applied four familiar correlative modeling approaches: bioclim, domain, generalized linear methods, and support vector machines. We used WorldClim’s bioclimatic variables as environmental predictors and two representative concentration pathways (RCPs) of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report climate change scenarios, namely RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 for future climate projection. The results indicate increased ericaceous vegetation cover on the midaltitude of northwestern and northern parts of the massif, and the Sanetti plateau. We observed upward range expansion and increase of close ericaceous vegetation in midaltitudes, while receding from the lower range across the massif. Moreover, the current ericaceous vegetation range correlates to the temperature and precipitation trends, reaffirming the critical role of temperature and precipitation in determining species distributions along elevational gradients. The results indicate the high likelihood of considerable changes in this biodiversity hotspot in Eastern Africa.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
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: 15 Feb 2022 07:33
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 07:33
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/68684