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Title: Shifts in the potential distribution of Sky Island plant communities in response to climate change

Author: Kupfer, John A.; Balmat, Jeff; Smith, Jacqueline L.;

Date: 2005

Source: Gottfried, Gerald J.; Gebow, Brooke S.; Eskew, Lane G.; Edminster, Carleton B., comps. Connecting mountain islands and desert seas: biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago II. Proc. RMRS-P-36. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 485-490

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: To examine potential responses of sky island ecosystem pattern to projected climate changes, we used topographic and climatic data to develop a predictive model of plant community distribution in Saguaro National Park East, AZ. Increasing temperatures led to an upslope movement of communities and increased the area of desert scrub at the expense of montane conifer forest while increasing precipitation led to the opposite response as growth constraints imposed by arid conditions were lessened. Specific combinations of temperature and precipitation change created more or less extreme changes, with relatively little change in community area or spatial pattern occurring even in some cases where both climate variables increased. While simple, this model illustrates the complicated nature of sky island community responses to climate change and underscores the need for applications of more complex biogeographic models and targeted, field-based inventory and monitoring of plant communities.

Keywords: climate change, plant communities, species distribution, topography, biogeography, models, Sky Islands, Saguaro National Park (Ariz.)

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Kupfer, John A.; Balmat, Jeff; Smith, Jacqueline L. 2005. Shifts in the potential distribution of Sky Island plant communities in response to climate change. Gottfried, Gerald J.; Gebow, Brooke S.; Eskew, Lane G.; Edminster, Carleton B., comps. Connecting mountain islands and desert seas: biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago II. Proc. RMRS-P-36. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 485-490

 


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