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Project

Tree range evolution under climate change (TRECC)

Description:

This project has evaluated how changing climatic conditions will modify the distributional range of tree species, taking adaptation into account. More specifically, the following questions were addressed: (1) under which conditions will distribution ranges move, and at what speed? (2) will populations at the low-latitude edge of the distribution survive, adapt or go extinct? These questions were addressed by the combined use of two existing approaches: theoretical and process-based modelling.

TRECC developed a spatially explicit theoretical model of species' range evolution, considering the joint evolution of the demography and adaptation of multiple traits of a species distributed along an environmental gradient.  Thus, the research project helped to understand how the complexity of species can limit their ability to cope with environmental changes. All species are confronted to changes in different environmental variables (rainfall, temperature, extreme events, and many more), and this leads to selective pressures on multiple characters, which are usually linked by trade-offs. Overall, the fact that adaptation is required for several characteristics limits the ability to adapt. One main finding of this project is the knowledge gained about the role that phenotypic plasticity plays in increasing the range of a species. This role seems to be limited for three European trees, and the plasticity seems to be adaptable especially at the borders of the range. Furthermore, the project warns that species projections should not be atlas-based. The project offers some solutions to provide robust estimates of species distribution based on multiple models, which can then be extrapolated with greater certainty to future climate scenarios. 

Project information

Lead

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE (FR)

Partners

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN (US)

Source of funding

FP 7 - PEOPLE

Reference information

Websites:

Published in Climate-ADAPT Jun 07 2016   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Feb 24 2021

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