Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 13, Issue 8, pp 1411–1422 | Cite as

Effects of climate change on potential habitats of the cold temperate coniferous forest in Yunnan province, southwestern China

  • Wang-jun Li
  • Ming-chun PengEmail author
  • Motoki Higa
  • Nobuyuki Tanaka
  • Tetsuya Matsui
  • Cindy Q. Tang
  • Xiao-kun Ou
  • Rui-wu Zhou
  • Chong-yun Wang
  • Hai-zhong Yan


We built a classification tree (CT) model to estimate climatic factors controlling the cold temperate coniferous forest (CTCF) distributions in Yunnan province and to predict its potential habitats under the current and future climates, using seven climate change scenarios, projected over the years of 2070-2099. The accurate CT model on CTCFs showed that minimum temperature of coldest month (TMW) was the overwhelmingly potent factor among the six climate variables. The areas of TMW<-4.05 were suitable habitats of CTCF, and the areas of -1.35 < TMW were non-habitats, where temperate conifer and broad-leaved mixed forests (TCBLFs) were distribute in lower elevation, bordering on the CTCF. Dominant species of Abies, Picea, and Larix in the CTCFs, are more tolerant to winter coldness than Tsuga and broad-leaved trees including deciduous broad-leaved Acer and Betula, evergreen broad-leaved Cyclobalanopsis and Lithocarpus in TCBLFs. Winter coldness may actually limit the cool-side distributions of TCBLFs in the areas between -1.35°C and -4.05°C, and the warm-side distributions of CTCFs may be controlled by competition to the species of TCBLFs. Under future climate scenarios, the vulnerable area, where current potential (suitable + marginal) habitats (80,749 km2) shift to non-habitats, was predicted to decrease to 55.91% (45,053 km2) of the current area. Inferring from the current vegetation distribution pattern, TCBLFs will replace declining CTCFs. Vulnerable areas predicted by models are important in determining priority of ecosystem conservation.


Classification tree Climate scenarios Vulnerable area Abies Picea Larix Evergreen broad-leaved tree ALOS remote-sensing images 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wang-jun Li
    • 1
  • Ming-chun Peng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Motoki Higa
    • 2
  • Nobuyuki Tanaka
    • 3
    • 4
  • Tetsuya Matsui
    • 3
  • Cindy Q. Tang
    • 1
  • Xiao-kun Ou
    • 1
  • Rui-wu Zhou
    • 1
  • Chong-yun Wang
    • 1
  • Hai-zhong Yan
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Ecology and GeobotanyYunnan UniversityKunmingChina
  2. 2.Kochi University, Kochi-shiKochiJapan
  3. 3.Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteIbarakiJapan
  4. 4.Tokyo University of AgricultureTokyoJapan

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