The incorporation of extreme drought events improves models for beech persistence at its distribution limit
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Projections of species distribution models under future climate are usually based on long-term averages. However, singular extreme drought events presumably contribute to the shaping of distribution limits at the retreating low-elevation xeric limits.
The objectives of this study were to set up a distribution model based on extreme drought events (EDM), which uses sanitary logging information as a proxy of vitality response of beech, and compare it with the results of classical species distribution models (SDMs).
Predictions of the EDM for 2025 were in agreement with those of the SDM, but EDM predicted a more serious decline in all regions of Hungary towards the end of the century.
These results suggest that the predicted increase in frequency and severity of drought events may further limit the distribution of beech in the future.
KeywordsBeech Trailing edge Climate change Xeric limit Predictive modelling
We would like to acknowledge Dr Tibor Szép who helped in providing the occurrence and sanitary logging data. We also thank Prof. Dr Hubert Hasenauer for his personal communication regarding the methods of modelling.
This research was funded by the Austrian–Hungarian Transboundary Cooperation 2007–2013 (‘FaKlim’ project—L00044), by TÁMOP-4.2.2.A-11/1/KONV-2012–0013 and by the FORGER (‘Towards the Sustainable Management of Forest Genetic Resources in Europe’—289119) project.
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