Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia
L.) is a tree species of high economic and ecological value, but is also considered to be highly invasive. Understanding the global potential distribution and ecological characteristics of this species is a prerequisite for its practical exploitation as a resource. Here, a maximum entropy modeling (MaxEnt) was used to simulate the potential distribution of this species around the world, and the dominant climatic factors affecting its distribution were selected by using a jackknife test and the regularized gain change during each iteration of the training algorithm. The results show that the MaxEnt model performs better than random, with an average test AUC value of 0.9165 (±0.0088). The coldness index, annual mean temperature and warmth index were the most important climatic factors affecting the species distribution, explaining 65.79% of the variability in the geographical distribution. Species response curves showed unimodal relationships with the annual mean temperature and warmth index, whereas there was a linear relationship with the coldness index. The dominant climatic conditions in the core of the black locust distribution are a coldness index of −9.8 °C–0 °C, an annual mean temperature of 5.8 °C–14.5 °C, a warmth index of 66 °C–168 °C and an annual precipitation of 508–1867 mm. The potential distribution of black locust is located mainly in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Chile and Argentina. The predictive map of black locust, climatic thresholds and species response curves can provide globally applicable guidelines and valuable information for policymakers and planners involved in the introduction, planting and invasion control of this species around the world.
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