Overcoming the worst of both worlds: integrating climate change and habitat loss into spatial conservation planning of genetic diversity in the Brazilian Cerrado

  • José Alexandre Felizola Diniz-Filho
  • Ana Clara de Oliveira Ferraz Barbosa
  • Lázaro José Chaves
  • Kelly da Silva e Souza
  • Ricardo Dobrovolski
  • Ludmila Rattis
  • Levi Carina Terribile
  • Matheus Souza Lima-Ribeiro
  • Guilherme de Oliveira
  • Fernanda Thiesen Brum
  • Rafael Loyola
  • Mariana Pires de Campos Telles
Original Paper


Conservation strategies aiming to safeguard species genetic diversity in the Cerrado are urgent. The biome is an agriculture frontier and lost at least 50% of its natural capital since the early 1950s, with the highest rate of vegetation clearing among all Brazilian biomes. Here we match information on geographic range shifts in response to climate changes and habitat loss to define conservation priorities for species genetic diversity using Eugenia dysenterica, a widely distributed tree across the Brazilian Cerrado. We found a set of 27 optimal solutions in which a minimum of 12 out of 23 populations are necessary to represent all 208 alleles of the species. Environmental suitability predicted for 2050 was higher for populations in the southern region of the Cerrado, whereas the proportion of natural remnants around populations expected for 2030 was lower in this same region. Thus, it seems to be more conservative to adopt “in situ” strategies in the northwestern part of the species range to hold more genetic diversity in areas harboring high numbers of natural remnants, despite the likely reduction in climatic suitability. On the other hand, in the southern and southeastern region of the range, despite more stability from a climatic point of view, there was a serious constraint given the high levels of human occupation; in this case, “ex situ” strategies might be a better option for the species. Our results and proposed priorities enable different strategies for making an operational approach for conservation of genetic diversity. Adopting different prioritization strategies for stable and unstable regions (both in climatic suitability and natural remnants) in the future would allow, in principle, to avoid “the worst of both worlds” to achieve an efficient conservation program for the species.


Brazilian Cerrado Ecological niche modeling Eugenia dysenterica Genetic diversity Irreplaceability 



We thank Dr. Guarino Colli for invitation for this special issue and for his comments and suggestion in a first version of the manuscript, and to Charles J Marsh and one anonymous reviewer for critical reading and suggestions. Our research program in geographical genetics and molecular ecology of Cerrado plants has been supported by the PRONEX projects “Núcleo de Excelência em Genética e Conservação de Espécies do Cerrado” - GECER (FAPEG/CNPq CP07-2009) and “Recursos Genéticos” (FAPEG/CNPq CP02/2012) and by several Grants and fellowships to the research network GENPAC (“Geographical Genetics and Regional Planning for natural resources in Brazilian Cerrado”) supported by CNPq, CAPES and FAPEG (Grants # 475182/2009-0; 563727/2010-1). A.C.O.F. Barbosa received a Doctoral fellowship from CAPES and FAPEG, whereas JAFDF, MPCT, LJC, LR and LCT are also supported by productivity Grants from CNPq. RL research has been constantly funded by CNPq (Grants #308532/2014-7, 479959/2013-7, 407094/2013-0, 563621/2010-9), “O Boticário” Group Foundation for the Protection of Nature (grant #PROG_0008_2013), and CNCFlora. This paper is a contribution of the Brazilian Network on Global Climate Change Research funded by CNPq (grant #437167/2016-0) and FINEP (grant #01.13.0353.00). This project is also now developed in the context of National Institutes for Science and Technology (INCT) in Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation, supported by MCTIC/CNPq (proc. 465610/2014-5) and FAPEG.

Supplementary material

10531_2018_1667_MOESM1_ESM.docx (331 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 331 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Alexandre Felizola Diniz-Filho
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ana Clara de Oliveira Ferraz Barbosa
    • 3
  • Lázaro José Chaves
    • 4
  • Kelly da Silva e Souza
    • 5
  • Ricardo Dobrovolski
    • 6
  • Ludmila Rattis
    • 7
  • Levi Carina Terribile
    • 8
  • Matheus Souza Lima-Ribeiro
    • 8
  • Guilherme de Oliveira
    • 9
  • Fernanda Thiesen Brum
    • 10
  • Rafael Loyola
    • 1
    • 2
    • 11
  • Mariana Pires de Campos Telles
    • 12
    • 13
  1. 1.Departamento de Ecologia, ICBUniversidade Federal de Goiás (UFG)GoiâniaBrazil
  2. 2.Brazilian Research Network on Climate Change and Rede ClimaInstituto Nacional de Pesquisas EspaciaisSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Instituto Federal GoianoGoiâniaBrazil
  4. 4.Escola de Agronomia, UFGGoiâniaBrazil
  5. 5.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Genética & Biologia Molecular, ICBUFGGoiâniaBrazil
  6. 6.Instituto de BiologiaUniversidade Federal da BahiaSalvadorBrazil
  7. 7.Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia, IPAMCanaranaBrazil
  8. 8.Instituto de BiociênciasUFG (Regional Jataí)GoiâniaBrazil
  9. 9.Conservation Biogeography Laboratory, CCAABUniversidade Federal do Recôncavo da BahiaCruz das AlmasBrazil
  10. 10.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia & ConservaçãoUniversidade Federal do ParanáCuritibaBrazil
  11. 11.Centro Nacional de Conservação da FloraInstituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  12. 12.Departamento de Genética, ICBUniversidade Federal de GoiásGoiâniaBrazil
  13. 13.Centro de Ciências Biológicas e AgráciasPontificia Universidade Católica de GoiásGoiâniaBrazil

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