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See detailChapter 4. Multidisciplinary approaches for conservation issues
Cheddadi, Rachid; Sarmiento, Fausto; Hambuckers, Alain ULiege et al

in Sarmiento, Fausto (Ed.) International handbook of Geography and Sustainability (in press)

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See detailRefining the outputs of a dynamic vegetation model (CARAIB):Research at ULiège, Belgium
Hambuckers, Alain ULiege; Paillet, Marc ULiege; Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege et al

Scientific conference (2019, March 19)

Dynamic vegetation models (DVMs) are process-based models combining the inputs and the outputs of sub-models, possibly in feedback loops, to simulate the plant functions. The sub-models compute conditions ... [more ▼]

Dynamic vegetation models (DVMs) are process-based models combining the inputs and the outputs of sub-models, possibly in feedback loops, to simulate the plant functions. The sub-models compute conditions outside and inside the plant and physiological reactions from the environmental data (climate, light intensity, air CO2 concentration, soil properties). DVMs are tools of choice to predict the future and the past of the vegetation taking into account climatic variations. The emergence of new questions in the context of climate change, particularly on threatened species or on commercial species, compels to apply DVMs to species while the information to parameterize and validate them is largely lacking. Of particular importance are the morpho-physiological traits. These were intensively studied within the hypothesis that they could be used to predict plant performances. This hypothesis finally revealed not very suitable, but it brought to light that important traits controlling photosynthesis and water relationships could strongly vary within each species in response to environmental conditions. We studied the Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica (Endl.) Manetti ex Carrière), in Morocco (northern Africa). It is a threatened tree species of important economic value. We also studied the English oak (Quercus robur L.) and the sessile oak (Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.) in eastern Belgium. In a series of localities, we determined several traits (specific leaf area, leaf C/N, sapwood C/N, as well as for the cedar, leaf longevity) and we assessed biomass and net primary productivity as validation data, thanks to forest inventories, dendrochronology analyses and allometric equations combined with leaf area index estimations. We compared the model simulations of the CARAIB DVM when varying the set of traits (direct site estimates or default values) to the field estimates of biomass and net primary productivity. We found that trait default values provide sufficient information for the DVM to compute mean output values but low ability to reproduce between site variations. On the contrary, the in situ traits improve drastically this ability, which indicates that the plant performances are the results of acclimation to the evolving local environmental conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailRefining the outputs of a dynamic vegetation model (CARAIB): the importance of plant traits to improve prediction accuracy at tree species level
Hambuckers, Alain ULiege; Paillet, Marc ULiege; Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege et al

Conference (2019, March 11)

Dynamic vegetation models (DVMs) are process-based models combining the inputs and the outputs of sub-models, possibly in feedback loops, to simulate the plant functions. The sub-models compute conditions ... [more ▼]

Dynamic vegetation models (DVMs) are process-based models combining the inputs and the outputs of sub-models, possibly in feedback loops, to simulate the plant functions. The sub-models compute conditions outside and inside the plant and physiological reactions from the environmental data (climate, light intensity, air CO2 concentration, soil properties). DVMs are tools of choice to predict the future and the past of the vegetation taking into account climatic variations. The emergence of new questions in the context of climate change, particularly on threatened species or on commercial species, compels to apply DVMs to species while the information to parameterize and validate them is largely lacking. Of particular importance are the morpho-physiological traits. These were intensively studied within the hypothesis that they could be used to predict plant performances. This hypothesis finally revealed not very suitable, but it brought to light that important traits controlling photosynthesis and water relationships could strongly vary within each species in response to environmental conditions. We studied the Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica (Endl.) Manetti ex Carrière), in Morocco (northern Africa). It is a threatened tree species of important economic value. We also studied the English oak (Quercus robur L.) and the sessile oak (Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.) in eastern Belgium. In a series of localities, we determined several traits (specific leaf area, leaf C/N, sapwood C/N, as well as for the cedar, leaf longevity) and we assessed biomass and net primary productivity as validation data, thanks to forest inventories, dendrochronology analyses and allometric equations combined with leaf area index estimations. We compared the model simulations of the CARAIB DVM when varying the set of traits (direct site estimates or default values) to the field estimates of biomass and net primary productivity. We found that trait default values provide sufficient information for the DVM to compute mean output values but low ability to reproduce between site variations. On the contrary, the in situ traits improve drastically this ability, which indicates that the plant performances are the results of acclimation to the evolving local environmental conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailContrasting climate risks predicted by dynamic vegetation and ecological niche-based models applied to tree species in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest
Raghunathan, Poornima ULiege; François, Louis ULiege; Dury, Marie ULiege et al

in Regional and Environmental Change (2019), 19

Climate change is a threat to natural ecosystems. To evaluate this threat and, where possible, respond, it is useful to understand the potential impacts climate change could have on species’ distributions ... [more ▼]

Climate change is a threat to natural ecosystems. To evaluate this threat and, where possible, respond, it is useful to understand the potential impacts climate change could have on species’ distributions, phenology, and productivity. Here, we compare future scenario outcomes between a dynamic vegetation model (DVM; CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere (CARAIB)) and an ecological niche-based model (ENM; maximum entropy model) to outline the risks to tree species in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, comprising the habitats of several endemic species, including the endangered primate Leontopithecus chrysomelas (golden-headed lion tamarin; GHLT), our species of interest. Compared to MaxENT, theDVMpredicts larger present-day species ranges. Conversely, MaxENT ranges are closer to sampled distributions of the realised niches. MaxENT results for two future scenarios in four general circulation models suggest that up to 75% of the species risk losing more than half of their original distribution. CARAIB simulations are more optimistic in scenarios with and without accounting for potential plant-physiological effects of increased CO2, with less than 10% of the species losing more than 50% of their range. Potential gains in distribution outside the original area do not necessarily diminish risks to species, as the potential new zones may not be easy to colonise. It will also depend on the tree species’ dispersal ability. So far, within the current range of L. chrysomelas, CARAIB continues to predict persistence of most resource trees, while MaxENT predicts the loss of up to 19 species out of the 59 simulated. This research highlights the importance of choosing the appropriate modelling approach and interpretation of results to understand key processes. [less ▲]

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See detailSimulating last glacial and postglacial distributions of African tropical trees with a dynamic vegetation model.
Dury, Marie ULiege; Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege; Lézine, Anne-Marie et al

Conference (2018, August 16)

Climate change and human pressure threaten species richness of African tropical forests. Understanding how the past climate changes have shaped the current distribution and composition of African ... [more ▼]

Climate change and human pressure threaten species richness of African tropical forests. Understanding how the past climate changes have shaped the current distribution and composition of African rainforests can certainly help to the ecosystem conservation in the future. This topic is addressed in the framework of the multi-disciplinary AFRIFORD project (Genetic and palaeoecological signatures of African rainforest dynamics: pre-adapted to change?, http://www.ulb.ac.be/facs/sciences/afriford/). In parallel to genetic and palynological analyses, the CARAIB dynamic vegetation model is applied at the level of African tropical plant species to simulate change in their distributions from the Last Glacial Maximum (21,000 years BP) to the present in sub-Saharan Africa. We prepared a set of about a hundred species, mostly composed of tropical tree species (evergreen/deciduous, cool/warm taxa) for which we compiled observed occurrence data (e.g.., RAINBIO database), determined climatic requirements and gathered some specific traits (e.g., TRY database). From LGM to present time, the vegetation model is forced with the 1-kyr snapshot outputs of the HadCM3 climate model. Statistically downscaled at a spatial resolution of 0.5°, we only kept modelled past anomalies that we added to the GSWP3 (20 CR) climate data chosen as the reference for the historical period. Sub-Saharan simulations are performed with CARAIB forced by these climatic projections to simulate the net primary productivity of the species over time and space. We analyse the modelled changes in tropical forest composition and extension as well as in the distribution of individual species whose glacial refugia and postglacial dynamics remain poorly known. [less ▲]

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See detailAre the climatic ranges of plant species impacted by atmospheric CO2 ? An attempt of quantification with a dynamic vegetation model
François, Louis ULiege; Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege; Dury, Marie ULiege et al

Conference (2018, August 16)

The observed present-day climatic ranges of plant species are frequently used by palaeobotanists and palynologists to reconstruct the climate evolution in the past. This is, for instance, the case of the ... [more ▼]

The observed present-day climatic ranges of plant species are frequently used by palaeobotanists and palynologists to reconstruct the climate evolution in the past. This is, for instance, the case of the widely used “Coexistence Approach” method, which has provided a wealth of palaeoclimatic data on many periods of the Neogene. Such vegetation-based palaeoclimate reconstruction methods rest on the uniformitarian assumption that the climatic tolerances of plant species, or the way their establishment and growth respond to climate parameters, have not changed markedly over time. This hypothesis can be questioned, because climatic tolerances and growth of plant species may depend on many factors likely to change over time. A first example is that other abiotic and biotic factors allowing the plant presence have probably changed in the course of time. Another example is genetic evolution that may affect climate resistance and end up to some adaptation of the populations as climate is changing. Atmospheric CO2 may also modify the plant response. It is not accounted for in the vegetation-based palaeoclimatic reconstruction methods, but may alter the tolerance of plant species to aridity through stomatal closure or stomatal density changes. Moreover, a rise of atmospheric CO2 stimulates photosynthesis through the well-known CO2 fertilisation effect. How far this effect impacts plant growth and how long it can persist is still much debated in the scientific community. It likely depends on the nutrient abundance in the soils. However, if CO2 stimulates growth, it will also facilitate the colonisation of extreme environments by plant species. Indeed, their growth rate between two successive extreme climatic events will be enhanced and, so, the accumulated biomass will be larger and the likelihood to find their signature in the palaeovegetation records will increase. In this contribution, we attempt to quantify this impact of CO2 on the climatic ranges of plant species by using the CARAIB dynamic vegetation model. This dynamic vegetation model can be run at the species level. We use a set of tree species from various climatic zones over different continents, for which the model has proved a good ability to simulate the present-day distribution. The model is run for different levels of atmospheric CO2, but with exactly the same climatic inputs. The simulated tree species distributions versus different climate variables (mean annual temperature, coldest month temperature, mean annual precipitation, precipitation of the driest month, etc) are then analysed and compared among the different CO2 configurations. [less ▲]

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See detailSurviving in a degraded forest environment: foraging strategies and space use of northern pigtailed macaques (Macaca leonina) in Sakaerat Biosphere reserve, Northeastern Thailand
Gazagne, Eva ULiege; Hambuckers, Alain ULiege; Savini, Tommaso ULiege et al

Conference (2018, July 05)

Space-use patterns and foraging strategy in degraded habitat are crucial to understand the ecology, adaptation, and conservation of primates. However, detailed ranging and behavioral data are scarce for ... [more ▼]

Space-use patterns and foraging strategy in degraded habitat are crucial to understand the ecology, adaptation, and conservation of primates. However, detailed ranging and behavioral data are scarce for many species, especially from Southeast Asia. We aimed to determine the northern pigtailed macaques (Macaca leonina) dietary, ranging, and habitat use patterns in the Sakaerat Biosphere reserve in Northeastern Thailand, a degraded habitat with ancient plantations and sub-optimal resources availability. We studied these patterns for eleven months in regard of fruit availability in a wild troop of these macaques. We used Characteristic Hull Polygons (CHP) combined with spatial statistics to estimate home ranges and core areas. We ran a monthly phenology survey to measure fruit availability over the study period. We predicted that macaques would increase their ranging during low fruit abundance to gather enough food (i.e. energy-maximizing strategy) and would use more intensively plantation and edge areas. We found a total home range of 535.5 ha and an average core area of 219.3 ha, with an average daily path length of 2,226 m. During high fruit abundance, macaques spent more time around fruit-tree species in the dry evergreen forest. During low fruit abundance, they extended their home range to plantations forest and edge areas. Fruit consumption was positively correlated to fruit abundance and there was a clear shift from flesh and pulp to dry fruit during low fruit abundance season. While the portion of home range used decreased in period of high fruit availability, daily path length and core area size did not change. Overall, as predicted, our preliminary data shows that the study troop used an energy-maximizing strategy and was able to expand the range of resources consumed in fruit scarcity period. Conversely, a study done using the same method on the same species in the nearby pristine Khao Yai National park found an energy-minimizing strategy, that is, decreased ranging area in periods of food scarcity. In conclusion, as in previous studies, our results show indeed that northern pigtailed macaques adapt their diet, monthly range and habitat use according to food abundance. However, they indicate they adapt it in an opposite way. In a degraded forest environment, the northern pigtailed macaques seem to change their survival strategy by increasing their range in periods of food scarcity to seek additional resources. These findings pose the question of substantial modification of ecological strategies by species constrained by human alteration of their habitat. [less ▲]

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See detailSimulating seed dispersal to reproduce past dynamics and distribution of African tropical trees.
Dury, Marie ULiege; Hardy, Olivier; Migliore, Jérémy et al

Poster (2018, March 28)

Climate change and human pressure threaten species richness of African tropical forests. Understanding how the past climate changes have shaped the current distribution and composition of African ... [more ▼]

Climate change and human pressure threaten species richness of African tropical forests. Understanding how the past climate changes have shaped the current distribution and composition of African rainforests can certainly help to the ecosystem conservation in the future. In the framework of the multi-disciplinary AFRIFORD project (Genetic and palaeoecological signatures of African rainforest dynamics: pre-adapted to change?, http://www.ulb.ac.be/facs/sciences/afriford/), this kind of questions is addressed. The CARAIB dynamic vegetation model is applied at the level of representative African tropical tree species to reconstruct their past and present distributions in equatorial Africa. To reproduce fully population dynamics, the results of the vegetation model are combined with a seed dispersal model. At first, we simulate with the CARAIB DVM the changes over time in the potential distribution of the tree species studied in AFRIFORD taking competition between species into account. From Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to present time, the vegetation model is forced with the 1-kyr snapshot outputs of the HadCM3 climate model, statistically downscaled at a spatial resolution of 0.5° and bias-corrected. The calculated distributions are essentially in equilibrium with climate, except for small delay times associated with biomass growth. These distributions are also compared directly with the potential (no dispersal limitation either) distributions obtained from species distribution modelling (MaxENT) for the same set of tree species and with the same climate forcing. Then, to simulate tree species under limitation by both climate and seed dispersal, the dispersal module is run transiently on a sub-grid at 100 m resolution to reproduce species dynamics over the 20,000 years from their LGM refugia (simulated by the DVM). The dispersal capacities are dependent on species productivity and survival simulated by the DVM for each1-kyr snapshot. The modelled dispersal distances are compared to genetic-based dispersal distances estimated in the project. [less ▲]

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See detailDistribution of Podocarpus latifolius/milanjianus from the Last Glacial Maximum to 2100 in Africa with the dynamic vegetation model CARAIB.
Dury, Marie ULiege; Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege; Lézine, Anne-Marie et al

Conference (2018, March 27)

Podocarpus latifolius/milanjianus (same species according to genetics) is an endemic African species with populations in the western, eastern and southern parts of the continent. The current global ... [more ▼]

Podocarpus latifolius/milanjianus (same species according to genetics) is an endemic African species with populations in the western, eastern and southern parts of the continent. The current global warming threatens the conservation of the relict patches of this mountain evergreen species. During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the species was certainly more largely distributed and present at lower elevations than today according to pollen data. At the beginning of the Holocene, Podocarpus moved upwards due to warmer conditions. The size of the populations might have collapsed abruptly at the end of the ”African Humid Period” at ca. 3,000 BP. Besides this general evolution, the palaeo-distribution of Podocarpus remains relatively unknown. The origin and connections between the eastern, southern and western Podocarpus forests are still not understood. In the framework of two related projects, AFRIFORD and VULPES, we use the CARAIB dynamic vegetation model, in parallel to genetic and palynologic analyses, to simulate the past and future dynamics of Podocarpus and to understand its current distribution. Projections of the HadCM3 climate model are used to reproduce climatic conditions in Africa from LGM (21,000 BP) to present time with a temporal resolution of 1 kyr. For the future (until 2100), several IPCC CMIP5 climate scenarios have been selected according to the quality of their reconstructed climate (temperature and precipitation) over sub-Saharan Africa for historical period. After interpolation to a 0.5° regular grid, we kept only past/future anomalies that we added to the GSWP3 (20 CR) climate data chosen as the reference for the historical period. Sub-continental simulations are performed with CARAIB forced by these climatic projections to simulate the net primary productivity of Podocarpus over time and space. In addition, CARAIB simulations are performed at higher resolution over a restricted region in southwestern Cameroon to identify potential microrefugia. [less ▲]

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See detailRefining species traits in a dynamic vegetation model to project the impacts of climate change on tropical trees in Central Africa
Dury, Marie ULiege; Mertens, L.; Fayolle, Adeline ULiege et al

in Forests (2018), 9(11),

African tropical ecosystems and the services they provide to human society suffer from an increasing combined pressure of land use and climate change. How individual tropical tree species respond to ... [more ▼]

African tropical ecosystems and the services they provide to human society suffer from an increasing combined pressure of land use and climate change. How individual tropical tree species respond to climate change remains relatively unknown. In this study, we refined the species characterization in the CARAIB (CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere) dynamic vegetation model by replacing plant functional type morpho-physiological traits by species-specific traits. We focus on 12 tropical tree species selected for their importance in both the plant community and human society. We used CARAIB to simulate the current species net primary productivity (NPP), biomass and potential distribution and their changes in the future. Our results indicate that the use of species-specific traits does not necessarily result in an increase of predicted current NPPs. The model projections for the end of the century highlight the large uncertainties in the future of African tropical species. Projected changes in species distribution vary greatly with the general circulation model (GCM) and, to a lesser extent, with the concentration pathway. The question about long-term plant response to increasing CO2 concentrations also leads to contrasting results. In absence of fertilization effect, species are exposed to climate change and might lose 25% of their current distribution under RCP8.5 (12.5% under RCP4.5), considering all the species and climatic scenarios. The vegetation model projects a mean biomass loss of -21.2% under RCP4.5 and -34.5% under RCP8.5. Potential range expansions, unpredictable due to migration limitations, are too limited for offsetting range contraction. By contrast, if the long-term species response to increasing [CO2] is positive, the range reduction is limited to 5%. However, despite a mean biomass increase of 12.2%, a positive CO2 feedback might not prevent tree dieback. Our analysis confirms that species will respond differently to new climatic and atmospheric conditions, which may induce new competition dynamics in the ecosystem and affect ecosystem services. © 2018 by the authors. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh-resolution simulations of natural and agricultural ecosystems over Belgium with the CARAIB Dynamic Vegetation Model
Jacquemin, Ingrid ULiege; Dury, Marie ULiege; Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege et al

Conference (2017, November 17)

CARAIB (for CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere) is a state-of-the-art dynamic vegetation model (DVM), initially designed to study the role of the vegetation in the global carbon cycle and the vegetation ... [more ▼]

CARAIB (for CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere) is a state-of-the-art dynamic vegetation model (DVM), initially designed to study the role of the vegetation in the global carbon cycle and the vegetation behavior as a function of climate and soil. Motivated by the requirements of ecosystem management and land use planning studies, CARAIB was recently improved so as to deal with both natural and agricultural ecosystems and at a high resolution of 1km over Belgium. A new module, for crops and meadows, was added in the model, which deals with the specific processes (phenology) and management (sowing, harvesting,…) of these ecosystems. The spatial and temporal validation was carried out with different data sources : agricultural statistics, eddy-covariance site, field measurements,… The addition of the crop module has led to the improvement of the surface scheme, from now on including dynamic land use and land cover information. As well as describes the evolution of physical and biological processes, CARAIB has become an interesting tool to assess the sustainability under climate change of the ecological systems, in particular by the approach of the ecosystem goods and services. Indeed, if some model outputs can be directly read as quantitative indicators of ecosystem services (e.g. carbon sequestration), we have translated some of them to get, e.g., the crop yield (from net primary productivity) or an estimation of the soil erosion for simulation at the parcel level (from runoff and parcels characteristics). But whether an ecosystem services or land use planning studies, the crucial point for CARAIB is the landscape dynamics, which is not considered by the model, in the absence of anthropogenic, economic and societal factors in the system. In order to overcome this lack, CARAIB is now coupled with an agent-based model (ABM), to compose a land surface dynamics (LSD) module. The productivity and growth of natural and managed vegetation is given by the DVM to the ABM, which determines the shifts in land use and land cover. The LSD module is able to represent the mutual interactions between ecological and socio-economic systems and thus, to assess the sustainability of the different climate and socio-economic scenarios tested. [less ▲]

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See detailModelling past and present distributions of tropical African biomes and species using a dynamic vegetation model.
Dury, Marie ULiege; Doutreloup, Sébastien ULiege; Hardy, Olivier et al

Poster (2017, February 08)

In the framework of the AFRIFORD project (Genetic and paleoecological signatures of African rainforest dynamics: pre-adapted to change?, http://www.ulb.ac.be/facs/sciences/afriford/), we used the CARAIB ... [more ▼]

In the framework of the AFRIFORD project (Genetic and paleoecological signatures of African rainforest dynamics: pre-adapted to change?, http://www.ulb.ac.be/facs/sciences/afriford/), we used the CARAIB dynamic vegetation model to simulate past and present distributions of tropical African vegetation at the biome and species levels to better project and understand future dynamics. We studied individual species (e.g., Afzelia africana, Pericopsis elata, etc) for which we determined climatic requirements and gathered specific traits. To perform palaeovegetation reconstructions, we used outputs of snapshot climate simulations (e.g., CNRM-CM5, FGOALS-g2 and MRI-CGCM5 global climatic models) from the PaleoModelling Intercomparison Project (PMIP3, https://pmip3.lsce.ipsl.fr/) for the mid-Holocene (6 ka) and the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 21 ka). These global climatic outputs were downscaled at a 0.45° spatial resolution over Equatorial Africa using the MAR regional climate model (RCM). For current conditions, the RCM was nested in different historical climate datasets. We compared modelled species distributions with species occurrences from different databases for present and with palaeorecords for past periods. MAR regional climate simulations notably allow CARAIB to reproduce the Dahomey Gap separating the Upper and Lower Guinean forests in West Africa in present biome distribution. The vegetation model also simulates LGM rainforest distribution in agreement with hypothetical glacial rainforest refuge areas inferred from palaeorecords. [less ▲]

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See detailPredicting the future of an endemic endangered Andean bird species with a niche-based-model nested into a dynamic vegetation model
Hambuckers, Alain ULiege; Zuniga, Lilian; Dury, Marie ULiege et al

Conference (2017, February 05)

The slopes of the Andes are recognized as supporting the highest avian diversity in the world combined with high endemism rate but also more than 20 % of threatened species. Frugivores birds, even rare ... [more ▼]

The slopes of the Andes are recognized as supporting the highest avian diversity in the world combined with high endemism rate but also more than 20 % of threatened species. Frugivores birds, even rare species, are known as major providers of seed dispersal service. In Bolivia, the large Red-fronted Macaw (Ara rubrogenys Lafresnaye, 1847) is one of the 15 endemic species of this country. Its natural habitat is mainly semi-deciduous dry forest but this habitat is most often severely degraded. Climate change is an additional threat over tropical mountain birds and this particular species, since some scenarios suggest warming as high as 7.5°C by 2080 and significant variations in the precipitation regime and available soil water. To infer the future of bird species under warming climate, many authors use niche-based models (NBM), in which they combine effects of climate variables, alone or in combination with other environmental variables. A more elaborated approach consists in also including biotic interactions, notably the availability of particular plant species. While NBM with climate variables are now considered as a standard method to predict plant species distribution under future climate, this approach fails to consider the effect of increasing CO2 concentration in air on plant physiology. Contrariwise, dynamic vegetation models (DVM) are commonly able to reproduce this effect, although the uncertainties on the CO2 are large. This study assesses the potential impact of climate change on the range of A. rubrogenys, by combining within a NBM climate variables, relief and biotic variables, i.e. plant species resource. Plant resource is computed with a DVM and a NBM to compare the methodologies and to evaluate potential effects of CO2 on plant species distribution and indirect impacts on the bird. [less ▲]

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See detailRefining plant traits in vegetation models using forest inventory and LAI measurements. An application to the modelling of Cedrus atlantica in the Rif Mountains with the CARAIB model
Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege; Hambuckers, Alain ULiege; François, Louis ULiege et al

Conference (2017)

It appears today established that climate change will alter biodiversity, since the migration speed of many species, especially plants, are presumably too small to follow climate change. Mountain ... [more ▼]

It appears today established that climate change will alter biodiversity, since the migration speed of many species, especially plants, are presumably too small to follow climate change. Mountain ecosystem floras of Mediterranean regions are particularly vulnerable to the climatic threat, because they combine high ecosystem diversity and large proportion of endemic species, with the risk of reaching the summits of the mountains which would limit their migration. Moreover, these environments are often strongly impacted by man. Being able to identify and predict the areas favourable to the species – microrefugia - becomes crucial in view of the fragmentation of the space devoted to their conservation. Dynamic vegetation models (DVMs) are well-designed tools for performing such projections, since they incorporate the physiological effects of CO2. However, they are usually run at the plant functional type level (PFT), whereas conservation studies require specific projections for each individual species. Thus, some efforts focus now on applying DVMs at species level, refining the definition of morphophysiological parameters from initial PFT traits to specific traits collected in the field or found in trait databases. Here we simulated the modern distribution of Cedrus atlantica, an endangered species of the north Africa mountains with the CARAIB DVM (Dury et al., iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, 4:82-99, 2011), over the Rif Mountains. Model results in terms of biomass and NPP are evaluated against data coming from forest inventory and LAI measurements. Morphological traits of C. atlantica derived from plant material collected in situ (such as specific leaf area, C:N ratio of leaves, etc) are adapted in the model simulation. CARAIB is run at high resolution using either climatic inputs derived from the Climate Research Unit climate dataset combined with WorldClim climatology at 30 arc sec or the ouputs of a 5 km resolution simulation of the regional climate model MAR (Fettweis et al., The Cryosphere, 7 :469-489, 2013) over the focal area. [less ▲]

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See detailDeforestation drives functional diversity and fruit quality changes in a tropical tree assemblage
Pessoa, Michaele S.; Hambuckers, Alain ULiege; Benchimol, Maíra et al

in Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics (2017), 28(C), 78-86

Functional traits associated with plant-animal interactions are essential for forest functionality, given that a higher diversity of fruit traits is likely to maintain a more diverse assemblage of ... [more ▼]

Functional traits associated with plant-animal interactions are essential for forest functionality, given that a higher diversity of fruit traits is likely to maintain a more diverse assemblage of frugivores and consequently promote the seed dispersal function. Yet, shade-intolerant species tend to persist in human-modified landscapes in the long term, which in turn is expect to reduce fruit trait diversity. Here we evaluate how forest cover at the landscape-scale influences the functional diversity of fruit traits, considering the zoochoric tree community and two regeneration strategies separately (shade-tolerant and shade-intolerant species). We sampled 20 forest remnants in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, located in landscapes with forest cover ranging from 2 to 93%. In each remnant, we established five plots of 25 ×4 m and marked all trees≥5 cm diameter at breast height (DBH). We compared morphological and chemical attributes of fleshy fruits directly related to the attraction of frugivores, and evaluated the similarity of the zoochoric tree assemblage composition along the forest cover gradient, taking into account the two regeneration strategies. We calculated four functional indices (richness, evenness, divergence, and community-level weighted means of trait values) and used either linear models or spatial mixed linear models to evaluate the effects of forest cover on functional diversity. Our main results revealed that forest cover loss has negatively affected fruit functional diversity for the overall zoochoric community. Forest cover loss also affected functional richness and functional evenness for total and shade-tolerant species, and was positively correlated with the content of protein and lipid in fruits of shade-intolerant species. Additionally, sites exhibiting a lower amount of forest cover showed greater compositional similarity among shade-intolerant species but reduced similarity among shade-tolerant species. We conclude that patterns of species reassembly triggered by landscape-scale deforestation decreases the capacity of the remaining forest for provisioning food resources for frugivore assemblages. The maintenance of shade-tolerant species is pivotal in deforested areas, since their fruit quality is not offset by shade-intolerant species. This is particularly important, mainly because shade-intolerant species are those still persisting in disturbed forests; however, their presence will not provide the same food quality supplied by those species lost. [less ▲]

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See detailMicrorefugia, climate change, and conservation of Cedrus atlantica in the Rif Mountains, Morocco
Cheddadi, Rachid; Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege; François, Louis ULiege et al

in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (2017), 5

This study reconstructs and interprets the changing range of Atlas cedar in northern Morocco over the last 9,000 years. A synthesis of fossil pollen records indicated that Atlas cedars occupied a wider ... [more ▼]

This study reconstructs and interprets the changing range of Atlas cedar in northern Morocco over the last 9,000 years. A synthesis of fossil pollen records indicated that Atlas cedars occupied a wider range at lower elevations during the mid-Holocene than today. The mid-Holocene geographical expansion reflected low winter temperatures and higher water availability over the whole range of the Rif Mountains relative to modern conditions. A trend of increasing aridity observed after 6,000 years BP progressively reduced the range of Atlas cedar and prompted its migration toward elevations above 1,400 masl. To assess the impact of climate change on cedar populations over the last decades, we performed a transient model simulation for the period between 1960 and 2010. Our simulation showed that the range of Atlas cedar decreased by about 75% over the last 50 years and that the eastern populations of the range in the Rif Mountains were even more threatened by the overall lack of water availability than the western ones. Today, Atlas cedar populations in the Rif Mountains are persisting in restricted and isolated areas (Jbel Kelti, Talassemtane, Jbel Tiziren, Oursane, Tidighine) that we consider to be modern microrefugia. Conservation of these isolated populations is essential for the future survival of the species, preserving polymorphisms and the potential for population recovery under different climatic conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailFrugivorous birds influence the spatial organization of tropical forests through the generation of seedling recruitment foci under zoochoric trees
Trolliet, Franck ULiege; Forget, Pierre-Michel; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULiege et al

in Acta Oecologica (2017), 85

Animal-mediated seed dispersal is recognized to influence the spatial organization of plant communities but little is known about how frugivores cause such patterns. Here, we explored the role of ... [more ▼]

Animal-mediated seed dispersal is recognized to influence the spatial organization of plant communities but little is known about how frugivores cause such patterns. Here, we explored the role of hornbills and primates in generating recruitment foci under two zoochoric trees, namely Staudtia kamerunensis (Myristicaceae) and Dialium spp. (Fabaceae - Caesalpiniodea) in a forest-savanna mosaic landscape in D.R. Congo. We also examined the influence of the availability of fruits in the neighborhood and the amount of forest cover in the landscape on such clumping patterns. The density and species richness of hornbill-dispersed and the density of primate-dispersed seedlings were significantly higher under Staudtia kamerunensis trees than at control locations. However, we did not find such patterns under Dialium spp. trees compared to control locations except for the density of hornbill-dispersed seedlings which was lower at control locations. Also, we found that an increasing amount of forest cover in the landscape was associated with an increase in the density of hornbill-dispersed seedlings, although the tendency was weak (R2 = 0.065). We concluded that S. kamerunensis acts as a recruitment foci and plays a structuring role in Afrotropical forests. Hornbills were probably the main frugivore taxon responsible for the clumping under that tree and appear as a key ecological component in fragmented and disturbed landscapes where the diversity of large frugivores such as primates is reduced. Our findings improve our understanding of the causal mechanisms responsible for the spatial organization of tropical forests. [less ▲]

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See detailHow can seed removal rates of zoochoric tree species be assessed quickly and accurately?
Hambuckers, julien ULiege; Dauvrin, Alice; Trolliet, Franck ULiege et al

in Forest Ecology and Management (2017), 403

The quantification of seed dispersal and predation processes has been gaining increased importance in the assessment of forest responses to anthropogenic disturbance, but also in developing an ... [more ▼]

The quantification of seed dispersal and predation processes has been gaining increased importance in the assessment of forest responses to anthropogenic disturbance, but also in developing an understanding of forest dynamics facing particular reproductive strategies. Seed removal rate is a reliable estimator of animal activities relating to these processes and can be quickly and easily estimated using a rapid assessment method (RAM) described by Lermyte & Forget (2009) and Boissier et al. (2014). This method consists in selecting trees reaching a given fruit crop in plots of interest and estimating, under each tree, the proportion of removed seeds in a single quadrat among the places having the highest crops; the proportion of removed seeds is obtained by enumeration of fruit scraps and intact fruits and estimation of their seed contents. The objective of this work is to evaluate the reliability of this method and to propose alternative estimation protocols (APs) in order to obtain an index of animal interaction with seeds. To do so, we estimated produced and removed seed numbers in up to 30 random 1 sq.m. quadrats under a total of 19 trees of Afzelia bipindensis, Dialium pachyphyllum/zenkeri and Xylopia staudtii. Secondly, we investigated the influence of tree size and fruit production on seed removal rate using a generalized linear mixed model. Thirdly, we used a generalized linear mixed model and a bootstrap procedure to test if RAM and APs are biased. Then, we compared their accuracy throughout their mean squared error, also obtained with a bootstrap approach. Despite its interesting accuracy, we showed that the RAM is positively biased. Removal rate was obviously influenced by canopy size and fruit production whereas the quadrats with higher fruit production have higher seed removal rates. Thus, trees with representative sizes and crops of the studied plots have to be sampled. Secondly, as an AP, random selection of several quadrats was found to be the best method. Based on these results, we recommend using the mean of three random quadrats per tree to estimate seed removal rate. It is an unbiased estimator, more accurate and more time efficient than the RAM. However, attention should be paid to select a proper quadrat size, in line with seed and fruit numbers, since the accuracy of the methods depends on these quantities. Such a choice could be made using a mean squared error criterion obtained from a preliminary intensive sampling of some specimens of the focal species. [less ▲]

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See detailUsing a dynamic vegetation model for future projections of crop yields: simulations from the plot scale to the Belgian and European scales
Jacquemin, Ingrid ULiege; Dury, Marie ULiege; Henrot, Alexandra-Jane ULiege et al

Conference (2016, September 29)

Dynamic vegetation models (DVM), such as CARAIB (“CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere”) were initially designed to describe the dynamics of natural ecosystems as a function of climate and soil with the ... [more ▼]

Dynamic vegetation models (DVM), such as CARAIB (“CARbon Assimilation In the Biosphere”) were initially designed to describe the dynamics of natural ecosystems as a function of climate and soil with the aim of studying the role of vegetation in the carbon cycle. But their characteristics allow numerous other applications and improvements, such as the development of a crop module. This module can be validated at the plot scale, with the use of eddy-covariance data from agricultural sites in the FLUXNET network. The carbon fluxes (e.g., net ecosystem exchange (NEE), gross primary productivity (GPP)) and the evapotranspiration (ET) simulated with the CARAIB model are compared with the fluxes measured at several sites, in order to cover a maximum number of crop types (winter wheat/barley, sugar beets, potatoes, rapeseed,…) and to evaluate the model for different European regions (Belgium, France, Germany,…). The aim of this validation is to assess the model ability to reproduce the seasonal and inter-annual variability of carbon fluxes. In order to assess the spatial variability of the model, CARAIB will be applied over Belgium and forced with the outputs the regional climate model ALARO (4 km resolution), for the recent past and the decennial projections. To reach the larger scale, we also aim to assess crops yields over Europe and to quantify the uncertainties in the climatic projections. CARAIB will be driven with the outputs of different regional climatic models (RCMs), nested in CMIP5 GCM projections for the EURO-CORDEX project: ALADIN53 (Météo-France/CNRM), RACMO22E (KNMI), RCA4 (SMHI) and REMO2009 (MPI-CSC) RCMs. These climatic projections are at a high spatial resolution (0.11-degree, ≈12 km). The model will be set up for the most common crops in Europe and for simulations tests with marginal and/or new crops. Finally, this simulation ensemble will be used to highlight potential changes in the most productive areas of Europe. [less ▲]

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