Biology | VOL. 10
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Endemic Juniperus Montane Species Facing Extinction Risk under Climate Change in Southwest China: Integrative Approach for Conservation Assessment and Prioritization.

Publication Date Jan 17, 2021

Abstract

Climate change is an important driver of biodiversity loss and extinction of endemic montane species. In China, three endemic Juniperus spp. (Juniperuspingii var. pingii, J.tibetica, and J.komarovii) are threatened and subjected to the risk of extinction. This study aimed to predict the potential distribution of these three Juniperus species under climate change and dispersal scenarios, to identify critical drivers explaining their potential distributions, to assess the extinction risk by estimating the loss percentage in their area of occupancy (AOO), and to identify priority areas for their conservation in China. We used ensemble modeling to evaluate the impact of climate change and project AOO. Our results revealed that the projected AOOs followed a similar trend in the three Juniperus species, which predicted an entire loss of their suitable habitats under both climate and dispersal scenarios. Temperature annual range and isothermality were the most critical key variables explaining the potential distribution of these three Juniperus species; they contribute by 16-56.1% and 20.4-38.3%, respectively. Accounting for the use of different thresholds provides a balanced approach for species distribution models' applications in conservation assessment when the goal is to assess potential climatic suitability in new geographical areas. Therefore, south Sichuan and north Yunnan could be considered important priority conservation areas for in situ conservation and search for unknown populations of these three Juniperus species.

Concepts
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Juniperus Species
Juniperus
Area Of Occupancy
Use Of Different Thresholds
Dispersal Scenarios
North Yunnan
Extinction
Temperature Annual Range
Montane
Climate

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