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Open AccessArticle

Modeled Shifts in Polylepis Species Ranges in the Andes from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Present

1
National Forest Conservation Program for Climate Change Mitigation, Ministry of the Environment, Lima 15076, Peru
2
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Constance Millar and Timothy A. Martin
Forests 2017, 8(7), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8070232
Received: 7 March 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 16 June 2017 / Published: 29 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Treeline Ecotone Dynamics)
Polylepis woodlands, the dominant high-elevation woodland species of the Andes of South America, are an increasingly important focus of conservation and restoration efforts as a buffer to the regional effects of climate change. However, the natural extent of these woodlands before the arrival of human populations is still debated. One significant approach to this question is an assessment of the change in woodland extent from a hypothetical peak at the time of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the present where distributions have been altered by both Holocene climate oscillations and anthropogenic pressures of pre-Colombian and modern communities. LGM and present distributions for 21 Polylepis species were modeled using Maxent with environmental data obtained from the WorldClim database. Overall, potential woodland extent is 36% smaller today than at LGM, however a few species have experienced a projected increase in potential range of 180%. This has occurred at the interface of the southern Amazonian Basin with the Altiplano where Polylepis species richness is highest. Bioclimatically stable areas for each species averaged 20 ± 4% of the modeled range and mostly occurred in disjunct pockets from central Peru to northern Argentina and Chile. View Full-Text
Keywords: Andes; last glacial maximum; Polylepis; Altiplano; treeline; bioclimatic niche; Maxent Andes; last glacial maximum; Polylepis; Altiplano; treeline; bioclimatic niche; Maxent
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Zutta, B.R.; Rundel, P.W. Modeled Shifts in Polylepis Species Ranges in the Andes from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Present. Forests 2017, 8, 232.

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