Projected Small-Scale Range Reductions of Cedrus atlantica Forests Due to Climate Change at the Belezma National Park (Algeria)
The aim of this study was to highlight the impact of climate change on the spatial distribution of Cedrus atlantica forests in the Belezma National Park (BNP) in Algeria. Maximum entropy (MaxEnt) species distribution modeling approach combined with 19 climatic, 15 soil-related and 15 topographical factors were implemented here for the spatial distribution of Cedrus atlantica. The future predictions of both horizons 2050 and 2070 (CCSM4 model) were carried out to understand the future suitable range of the species. Results showed that the model MaxEnt was efficient and revealed significantly higher measurement of the AUC value (Area Under Curve) compared to the random prediction. AUC was 0.986 for training and 0.980 for the test data. The response curves of species occurrence vs. environmental variables showed that climatic variables have the most significant contributions compared to edaphic and topographic factors. A very high decrease in suitable area of C. atlantica was forecast on the basis of our predictions for 2070. This indicates that the species has a little chance to survive under the conditions of the future climate change scenarios. Our findings incite us to call for urgent actions in order to reduce the vulnerability of this species’ habitats in front of climate change.
KeywordsClimate change Cedrus atlantica Ecological niche North African forests Species distribution modeling MaxEnt Belezma national park
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