Identifying Protected Areas Suitable for Conservation of Cycas pectinata Buch. Ham. in Southeast Asia Under Climate Change Scenario

Aditya Pradhan, Arun Chettri

Abstract


Cycads are considered one of the most threatened groups of plants, with 62 % of all species listed on the IUCN Red List. Therefore in order to implement sustainable conservation strategy, it is imperative to understand the impacts of changing climate on both ecosystem and at species level. We therefore presented an assessment on current and future habitat suitability distribution of Cycas pectinata Buch.-Ham., using a maximum entropy (MaxEnt) species distribution model. The projected future distribution map was then overlaid onto protected areas of Southeast Asia for further analysis. Out of 1938 protected areas identified in the 10 southeast countries, only 190 protected areas would remain suitable by the end of 2050 under climate change scenario (RCP 2.6, RCP 4.5, RCP 6.0 and RCP 8.5). The MaxEnt model performed better than random with an average test AUC value of 0.975 (±0.001). The AUC values thus confirm the accuracy of model prediction based on 73 occurrence points. A significant reduction in the suitable habitat was also observed under future climate change scenario, as a result of which the species may not be able to adapt to modification caused by climate change further leading to reduction in population size.

Keywords


Climate change, Cycads, ENM, MaxEnt, Protected area, Vulnerable

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