Climatic envelope modeling techniques implemented in two algorithms, Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Production (GARP) and bioclimatic variables (BIOCLIM) were used to assess effects of climatic conditions on distributions of plants and anticipate how climate would have delimited their distribution under future conditions using a liana species Chasmanthera dependens as a case example. In all, 120 geo-referenced plant records generated from fieldwork and drawn from data served by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Environmental variables were derived from monthly temperature and rainfall data from WorldClim; eliminating environmental variables with correlations of 0.75 and left eight (8) variables for analysis. Results show that the current suitable range (ecological niche) of the model plant was broad across the tropical rain forest regions. Predictions to future climate scenarios (2050), predicted a significant reduction of suitable distributional areas for the species suggesting possible loss of plant species. Indeed, ex-situ conservation may be the most appropriate conservation tool for this species and others in similar situations.
Key words: Bioclimatic variables (BIOCLIM), climate change, conservation, ecological niche models, genetic algorithm for rule-set production (GARP).
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