Predicting suitability of forest dynamics to future climatic conditions: the likely dominance of Holm oak [Quercus ilex subsp. ballota (Desf.) Samp.] and Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.)

  • Javier López-Tirado
  • Pablo J. Hidalgo
Original Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Mediterranean Pines


Key message

Composite logistic regression models simulating the potential effect of global climate change on forests dynamics in the southern Iberian Peninsula identify Holm oak [ Quercus ilex subsp. ballota (Desf.) Samp.] and Aleppo pine ( Pinus halepensis Mill.) as the chief beneficiaries of the anticipated environmental shifts, whereas other oak species and conifers suffer a decline.


The ten most important tree species (five oaks and five conifers) in Southern Spain were selected for the study. The study area, corresponding to the region of Andalusia, is located in an interesting position between Central European and North African climates. The territory also exhibits the most extreme patterns of rainfall in the Iberian Peninsula.


This study aims to model the potential distribution of the ten species in response to climate change, in several time periods, including the present and two future twenty-first century dates.


The potential distributions within the different scenarios were simulated using logistic regression techniques based on a set of 19 climate variables from the WorldClim 1.4 project. The scenarios were drawn from the RCP 2.6 and 6.0 in the CCSM4 Global Circulation Model. The resolution of the output maps was 30 arc-seconds.


The simulation predicted increased distribution areas for Q. ilex and P. halepensis under the four future scenarios as compared to present. The eight remaining taxa suffered a severe retraction in potential distribution.


Global climate change is likely to have a significant impact on forest dynamics in southern Spain. Only two species would benefit to the detriment of the others. Logistic Regression is identified as a robust method for carrying out management and conservation programmes.


Species distribution models Tree dominance and codominance Potential distribution Southern Spain Global change 



The authors are grateful to the Economy, Innovation, Science and Employment Council of the Andalusian Regional Government for supporting this research in the framework of the Project “Modelo espacial de distribución de las quercíneas y otras formaciones forestales de Andalucía: una herramienta para la gestión y la conservación del patrimonio natural” (Code P10-RNM-6013). This is a contribution from the CEIMAR Journal Series.

Supplementary material

13595_2018_702_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16.9 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 16.8 MB)


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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Integrated Sciences, Faculty of Experimental Sciences, International Campus of Excellence of the Sea (CEIMAR)University of HuelvaHuelvaSpain

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