|ABSTRACT||Climate change is predicted to have a significant impact on Mediterranean forests. Increased vulnerability, loss of forest cover, changes in species ranges and in community structure, and decline in biomass increment are expected outcomes. In this study, we studied potential impacts of climate change on forests in the Seyhan Basin, through modeling changes in habitat suitability for four tree species, Abies cilicica, Cedrus libani, Pinus brutia and Pinus nigra.
We used the Maximum Entropy approach to develop habitat suitability models, characterizing the relationship between current distribution of each species and selected environmental parameters. Shifts in suitability for each species were then investigated through applying to these models climatic predictions developed by the CCCMA-CGCM2 and UKMO-HADCM3. Predictions were based on the B2 scenario (IPPC 4) for the years 2020, 2050 and 2080. Vulnerable areas, defined as areas with a significant decline in suitability, were identified for each study species.
Our results indicate that, by 2050, 76% of present forested land may become unsuitable for at least one studied species. Specifically, habitat suitability for P. brutia will decrease in 56.2 %, increase in 1.2 %, and not change in 42.6% of the area occupied by its current stands. Habitat suitability for P. nigra will decrease in 68.5%, increase in 9.6%, and not change in 21.9% of the area of its current stands. For C. libani, a loss of 85.7% and a gain of 0.5% are expected, while 13.8% of its current stands will have no change. Finally, habitat suitability for A. cilicica, the worst impacted species, will decrease in 93.0 %, increase in 0.2%, and not change in 6.8% of the area of its current stands.
We also identified potential ecological problems in each of those areas, and developed both generic silvicultural measures for individual study species and more general measures to be applied in the context of adaptation of forestry to climate change. Finally, based on the predicted vulnerabilities, we developed guidelines for integrating such measures into forestry management plans.|