Plant Ecology

, Volume 212, Issue 6, pp 959–973

To what extent does land-use affect relationships between the distribution of woody species and climatic change? A case study along an aridity gradient in western Burkina Faso


DOI: 10.1007/s11258-010-9877-8

Cite this article as:
Devineau, J. Plant Ecol (2011) 212: 959. doi:10.1007/s11258-010-9877-8


The study aims at evaluating how land-use modifies the link between the observed distribution of species and the climatic variability and at detecting species involved in that modification. The area studied covers the phytogeographical transition between the South-Sudanian sector and the North-Sudanian sector in western Burkina Faso. It lies along an aridity gradient, of which the aridity index (UNESCO-MAB) ranges from 0.363 to 0.533. The data studied were derived from observations performed on 192 woody species in 603 vegetation survey plots inside and outside protected areas. The species turn-over (β diversity) and the mutual information were assessed along the aridity gradient inside protected areas on one hand and outside protected areas on the other. Our study shows that the statistical links between the geographical distributions of species and the aridity gradient differ according to whether the observations are performed inside or outside the protected areas. Anthropogenic disturbances, mainly agricultural in the region of study, result in a decrease in the β diversity and in the average mutual information between the distribution of all the woody species and the climatic gradient. Moreover, the variation in mutual information differs according to the species: it diversely decreases with agricultural land-use for most of them, but increases for some. Thus, land-use leads to species-specific changes in the realised climatic niches.


West AfricaSavannahProtected areaSpecies distributionClimate gradientMutual informationBeta diversity

Supplementary material

11258_2010_9877_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (83 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 83 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) UMR 7206Orléans Cedex 02France