Assessing the vulnerability of Oak (Quercus) forest ecosystems under projected climate and land use land cover changes in Western Himalaya

  • Pooja Rathore
  • Arijit RoyEmail author
  • Harish Karnatak
Original Paper


The current study focuses on the impacts of projected climate change scenarios and land change dynamics on the suitable habitat of some dominant Oak species (Quercus leucotrichophora, Quercus semecarpifolia, and Quercus floribunda) in western Himalaya. Two IPCC AR5 climate change scenarios viz. RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 from a suite of Global Climate Models best suited for Himalaya were used to model the changes in the suitable bioclimatic envelop of these Oak species in the western Himalayas for their probability current distributions and potential future distributions (2070) with the help of ensemble modelling in R platform. The formations of projected distribution areas for these species under climate change exhibits a north-eastward shift and a significant decrease in their climatic niche under projected climate change across both RCP’s, with RCP 4.5 showing increased loss of climatic niche (fundamental niche) of Oak species compared to RCP 8.5. The study also captures the footprints of current and projected land use land cover dynamics on the current and future distribution ranges of each Oak species in Western Himalaya which is observed to adversely affect the Oak forests by further reducing the extent of their realised niche.


Himalaya climate change scenarios Land use land cover dynamics in Himalaya Ensemble species modelling Himalayan Oak forests Species–environment relationships 



The authors are grateful to Chairman ISRO for his encouragement and support. The authors are also thankful to Director, IIRS for his guidance. This work is a part of Department of Space, Govt. of India funded project and financial support for the same is acknowledged.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Space, Indian Institute of Remote SensingIndian Space Research Organization (ISRO)DehradunIndia

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