Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 1245–1257 | Cite as

Impacts of climate change on the distribution of species and communities in the Chilean Mediterranean ecosystem

  • Nicolas BambachEmail author
  • Francisco J. Meza
  • Horacio Gilabert
  • Marcelo Miranda
Original Article


The Mediterranean region of Chile is considered a biodiversity hot spot. An increase in temperature and decrease in precipitation, as projected for the end of this century by global circulation models, would likely change the distribution of the sclerophyllous thorny shrubland and woodland. In order to assess those potential impacts, the MAXENT algorithm was used to project potential changes in the distribution of the Mediterranean ecosystem. Ecological niche models were fitted and used to project the potential distribution of these forest ecosystems by the end of the century. Projections were made using data from the PRECIS model for the A2 and B2 climate change scenarios and two strategies of occupancy: free migration and non-migration. Distribution models of sclerophyllous, woodland and shrubland performed accurately representing current species’ distribution. When we assume non-migration responses under climate change scenarios, results reveal a decrease in the distribution area for all the species. The areas where the highest reduction in a suitable environment was found are located along the coastline, where higher temperature increases have been projected. For native ecosystems from the Andean Range region, such as communities dominated by thorny species, a stable habitat was found, associated with a higher adaptation capability to future climatic projections. Hence, in the future, buffer zones originated by “topo-climatic” conditions might play a key role in protecting Central Chile biodiversity.


Bioclimatic models Ecological niche Climate change Mediterranean ecosystems MAXENT 



This work was carried out with the aid of a grant from the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) SGP-HD #003 which is supported by the US National Science Foundation (Grant GEO-0642841) and with the aid of FONDECYT throughout Grant 1090393. We thank Dr. Thomas Fox and Dr. Pablo Becerra for their valuable comments and suggestions that have improved this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolas Bambach
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Francisco J. Meza
    • 2
    • 3
  • Horacio Gilabert
    • 2
  • Marcelo Miranda
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Land, Air and Water ResourcesUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Departamento de Ecosistemas y Medio AmbientePontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  3. 3.Centro Interdisciplinario de Cambio GlobalPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

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