Environmental Management

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 802–815 | Cite as

Using a Down-Scaled Bioclimate Envelope Model to Determine Long-Term Temporal Connectivity of Garry oak (Quercus garryana) Habitat in Western North America: Implications for Protected Area Planning

  • Marlow G. Pellatt
  • Simon J. Goring
  • Karin M. Bodtker
  • Alex J. Cannon


Under the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA), Garry oak (Quercus garryana) ecosystems are listed as “at-risk” and act as an umbrella for over one hundred species that are endangered to some degree. Understanding Garry oak responses to future climate scenarios at scales relevant to protected area managers is essential to effectively manage existing protected area networks and to guide the selection of temporally connected migration corridors, additional protected areas, and to maintain Garry oak populations over the next century. We present Garry oak distribution scenarios using two random forest models calibrated with down-scaled bioclimatic data for British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon based on 1961–1990 climate normals. The suitability models are calibrated using either both precipitation and temperature variables or using only temperature variables. We compare suitability predictions from four General Circulation Models (GCMs) and present CGCM2 model results under two emissions scenarios. For each GCM and emissions scenario we apply the two Garry oak suitability models and use the suitability models to determine the extent and temporal connectivity of climatically suitable Garry oak habitat within protected areas from 2010 to 2099. The suitability models indicate that while 164 km2 of the total protected area network in the region (47,990 km2) contains recorded Garry oak presence, 1635 and 1680 km2 of climatically suitable Garry oak habitat is currently under some form of protection. Of this suitable protected area, only between 6.6 and 7.3% will be “temporally connected” between 2010 and 2099 based on the CGCM2 model. These results highlight the need for public and private protected area organizations to work cooperatively in the development of corridors to maintain temporal connectivity in climatically suitable areas for the future of Garry oak ecosystems.


Climate change Downscaling Bioclimate envelope modeling British Columbia Garry oak (Quercus garryanaProtected area Western North America Temporal connectivity Pacific Northwest Washington Oregon 



The Climate Change Action Fund (Project A718), Interdepartmental Recovery Fund (Project 733), Parks Canada—Western and Northern Service Centre, and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) provided financial support for the project to M.G. Pellatt. S. Goring is supported by a NSERC RC PGS-D3 scholarship. We would like to thank D. Peter and C. Harrington of the US. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, C. Chappell of the Washington Department of Natural Resources, Ted Lea, the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment, VegBank (NatureServe), E-Flora (UBC), and D.Hrynyk (Parks Canada) for data contributions. We would also like to extend our appreciation to three anonymous reviewers whose positive comments helped improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marlow G. Pellatt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Simon J. Goring
    • 3
  • Karin M. Bodtker
    • 1
  • Alex J. Cannon
    • 4
  1. 1.Parks Canada, Western and Northern Service CentreVancouverCanada
  2. 2.School of Resource and Environmental ManagementSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  4. 4.Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment CanadaVancouverCanada

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