Combining niche modelling, land-use change, and genetic information to assess the conservation status of pouteria splendens populations in Central Chile

Narkis S. Morales, Ignacio C. Fernández*, Basilio Carrasco, Cristina Orchard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

To assess the conservation status of a species with little ecological information is usually a challenging process. Pouteria splendens is an endemic shrub of the coastal range of Central Chile currently classified as lower risk (LR) by IUCN (version 2.3). Knowledge about this species is extremely limited. Currently P. splendens is only found in two small and isolated populations, which are thought to be remaining populations of an originally large metapopulation. However, there is no evidence to support this hypothesis, limiting our ability to gauge the real current conservation status of this species. In this study we combine niche modelling, land-use information, and genetic techniques to test the metapopulation hypothesis and reassess the conservation status of P. splendens using the IUCN criteria. We also evaluated the potential effects of climate change in the species distribution. Our results support the hypothesis of a large metapopulation that was recently fragmented. Future climate could increase the range of P. splendens; however the high level of fragmentation would preclude colonization processes. We recommend reclassifying P. splendens as Endangered (EN) and developing strategies to protect the remaining populations. Similar approaches like the presented here could be used to reclassify other species with limited ecological knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number612194
Pages (from-to)612194-1-612194-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Ecology
Volume2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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