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Potential distribution of semi-deciduous forests in Castile and Leon (Spain) in relation to climatic variations

Abstract

About 45% of the total surface area of the Castile and Leon region today can potentially be occupied by semi-deciduous forests, chiefly dominated by Quercus faginea Willd. and Quercus pyrenaica Lam. On the basis of extrapolated trends in annual mean temperature and precipitation in Castile and Leon observed over the 37-year period from 1961 to 1997 [del Río et al. 2005], predicted changes in the areas covered by Q. faginea and Q. pyrenaica forests in 2025, 2050 and 2075 were made. A decrease in Q. faginea forests may occur if observed trends in temperature and precipitation continue. With respect to Q. pyrenaica forests, they may increase in present Mediterranean areas and decreases in Temperate Submediterranean areas. In some cases, both types of forests could be replaced by deciduous forests. The predicted results in the natural distribution of vegetation types by the bioclimatic models can be used to establish policies for improved future nature conservation and land management.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to express their thanks to Rafael Pérez Romero for his valuable help and to INM for kindly making data sets available to them.

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Correspondence to Ángel Penas.

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Río, S.d., Penas, Á. Potential distribution of semi-deciduous forests in Castile and Leon (Spain) in relation to climatic variations. Plant Ecol 185, 269–282 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-006-9103-x

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Keywords

  • Bioclimatology
  • Climate change
  • Potential natural vegetation
  • Iberian Peninsula