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Climate change and plant distribution and diversity refuges in Brazilian northern savannas
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  • Joxleide Costa-Coutinho,
  • Mário Jardim,
  • Leonardo Miranda,
  • Antonio Castro
Joxleide Costa-Coutinho
Universidade Federal do Piauí

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Mário Jardim
Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi
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Leonardo Miranda
Instituto Tecnológico Vale Desenvolvimento Sustentável
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Antonio Castro
Universidade Federal do Piauí
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Objective: Climate change coupled with anthropogenic events can alter the distribution of biological groups and affect the reorganization, structure, dynamics and functioning of ecosystems and their services. Despite this, predictions of impacts on Brazilian savannas are scarce. This study estimated the potential effects of climate change on peripheral plant diversity by predicting the distribution of species from Cerrado. Site: Northern Brazilian Cerrado (NBC). Methods: Ecological niche modeling was used to provide present and future projections of responses in terms of occurrence of ten woody species based on four algorithms and four future climate change scenarios for the year 2050. Potential refuge areas for conservation actions were identified, and evidence of the vulnerability of the flora was demonstrated based on the disparity between potential areas of climate stability amid current protected areas (Conservation Units - CUs). Results: The results suggested a lack of pattern between the scenarios and an idiosyncratic response of the species, indicating different impacts on plant communities and the existence of unequal stable alternative conditions, which could bring consequences to the ecological relationships and functionality of the floras. Even in the most pessimistic scenarios, most species presented an expansion of potential occurrence areas, suppressing or cohabiting with species of adjacent biomes. Typically marginal plants were the most sensitive. Key findings: Overlapping adequate habitats are concentrated in the NBC. The analysis of habitats in relation to anthropized areas and CUs demonstrate low future effectiveness in the protection of these savannas, indicating the need to create CUs that consider the potential effects of climate change.