Potential colonization of newly available tree-species habitat under climate change: An analysis for five eastern US species

Abstract

We used a combination of two models, DISTRIB and SHIFT, to estimate potential migration of five tree species into suitable habitat due to climate change over the next 100 years. These species, currently confined to the eastern half of the United States and not extending into Canada, are Diospyros virginiana (persimmon), Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum), Oxydendrum arboreum (sourwood), Pinus taeda (loblolly pine), and Quercus falcata var. falcata (southern red oak). DISTRIB uses a statistical approach to assess potential suitable habitat under equilibrium of 2 × CO2. SHIFT uses a cellular automata approach to estimate migration and is driven primarily by the abundance of the species near the boundary, forest density inside and outside of the boundary, and distance between cells. For each cell outside the current boundary, SHIFT creates an estimate of the probability that each unoccupied target cell will become colonized over 100 years. By evaluating the probability of colonization within the potential ‘new’ suitable habitat, we can estimate the proportion of new habitat that might be colonized within a century. This proportion is low (<15%) for all five species, suggesting that there is a serious lag between the potential movement of suitable habitat and the potential for the species to migrate into the new habitat. However, humans could hasten the migration of certain species by physically moving the propagules, especially for certain rare species that are unable to move sufficiently through fragmented landscapes, or even more common species, e.g., beech, that have lost many of their animal dispersers.

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Iverson, L.R., Schwartz, M.W. & Prasad, A.M. Potential colonization of newly available tree-species habitat under climate change: An analysis for five eastern US species. Landscape Ecol 19, 787–799 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-005-3990-5

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Key words

  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Eastern United States
  • Global warming
  • Landscape ecology
  • Plant migration
  • Range shifts