Land use and climate change impacts on distribution of plant species of conservation value in Eastern Ghats, India: a simulation study.

Affiliation

Centre for Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, 500046, India. [Email]

Abstract

Effective monitoring of the current status of species distributions and predicting future distributions are very important for conservation practices at the ecosystem and species levels. The human population, land use, and climate are important factors that influence the distributions of species. Even though future simulations have many uncertainties, such studies can provide a means of obtaining species distributions, range shifts, and food production and help mitigation and adaptation planning. Here, we simulate the population, land use/land cover and species distributions in the Eastern Ghats, India. A MaxEnt species distribution model was used to simulate the potential habitats of a group of endemic (28 species found in this region) and rare, endangered, and threatened (RET) (22 species found in this region) plant species on the basis of IPCC AR5 scenarios developed for 2050 and 2070. Simulations of populations in 2050 indicate that they will increase at a rate of 1.12% relative to the base year, 2011. These increases in population create a demand for more land for settlement and food productions. Land use land cover (LULC) simulations show an increase in built-up land from 3665.00 km2 in 2015 to 3989.56 km2 by 2050. There is a minor increase of 0.04% in the area under agriculture in 2050 compared with 2015. On the other hand, the habitat simulations show that the combined effects of climate and land use change have a greater influence on the decline of potential distributions of species. Climate change and the prevailing rate of LULC change will reduce the extents of the habitats of endemic and RET species (~ 60% and ~ 40%, respectively). The Eastern Ghats have become extensively fragmented due to human activities and have become a hotspot of endemic and RET species loss. Climate and LULC change will enhance the species loss and ecosystem services.

Keywords

Climate,Conservation,Endemics,Land use,Simulation,Species distributions,

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