Casazza, Gabriele and Giordani, Paolo and Benesperi, Renato and Foggi, Bruno and Viciani, Daniele and Filigheddu, Rossella Speranza and Farris, Emmanuele and Bagella, Simonetta and Pisanu, Stefania and Mariotti, Mauro Giorgio (2014) Climate change hastens the urgency of conservation for range-restricted plant species in the central-northern Mediterranean region. Biological conservation, Vol. 179 , p. 129-138. ISSN 0006-3207. eISSN 1873-2917. Article.
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With the consensus that human activities are leading to dangerous interference in Earth’s climate, there has been growing policy pressure for clear quantification and attribution of the resulting biological impacts. Despite the exceptional diversity in the Mediterranean biome, largely due to the number of rare and endemic plant species, the effect of future climate change on present Mediterranean plant species has only been examined in a few studies. In this study we presented an analysis of the potential effects of climate change on 22 plant species whose range is restricted to central-northern Mediterranean region. We used species distribution modelling to test whether projected climate change may affect the current suitability of species’ habitat; to evaluate possible future threats due to climate change; and to test any relationship between extinction risk and ecological and life-history predictors. The studied species were predicted to lose some 50% of their current range by 2020. Similarly, the probability of occurrence in known localities was predicted to drop drastically by 2020. Our results support a relationship between biological characteristics and range contractions. Although the Mediterranean species were projected to lose a lower amount of habitat than Alpine ones, species with restricted geographic range seem to be more prone to climate change effects than widespread ones. Our results emphasize the need for immediate monitoring and conservation actions and suggest that rare species might be useful for monitoring the conservation status of habitat in relationship to the effects of global warming in the Mediterranean region.
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