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Abstract Detail


Still, Shannon M. [1].

Measuring current and future distributions of rare plants of the western United States and identifying consequences for conservation.

Species distribution models have been used to identify current and future habitat, to find new occurrences for rare species, and to assess future vulnerability to environmental change. Using these methods to predict the effects of climate change on species distributions has undergone rapid growth in the past decade. These models can be used to aid in conservation planning and provide a way to prioritize conservation efforts. Using MaxEnt, I examined the changes in species' geographic distributions under 13 climate change scenarios for over 550 rare plant species from the western United States. The species being studied, representing a broad range of habitat types and taxonomic diversity, consist of both federally listed and state-protected plants.  
The predicted range shift of rare plants in the western US, both geographic area and direction, is not uniform across the species examined. While a range contraction >25% is predicted for 244 (43%) of the study species, nearly as many species are expected to have a range expansion >25%. The direction and velocity that the center of a species' range is predicted to change is not uniform, partially due to the topographic variation of the study area. The habitat suitability at current species locations is generally predicted to be lower in the future. In their current range, the suitability is predicted to decrease for 407 (71%) of study species, and 193 (30%) of species are predicted to be highly vulnerable. But for 162 (28%) of the species, the suitability is predicted to increase in their current range. Additionally, the predicted vulnerability to climate change cannot be inferred by the geographic range size, population size, or conservation or vulnerability status. These results have broad impacts for plant biodiversity and rare species management.

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1 - Chicago Botanic Garden, Plant Science and Conservation, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL, 60022, USA

species distribution modeling
rare species
Climate change.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 3
Location: Salmon/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: 3001
Abstract ID:772
Candidate for Awards:None

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