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Predicting geographic distribution and habitat suitability of Opuntia streptacantha in paleoclimatic, current, and future scenarios in Mexico
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  • Israel Cruz-Jiménez,
  • Pablo Delgado-Sánchez,
  • Maria de la Luz Guerrero-González,
  • Raul Puente,
  • Joel Flores,
  • Jose Arturo De-Nova
Israel Cruz-Jiménez
Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi
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Pablo Delgado-Sánchez
Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí
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Maria de la Luz Guerrero-González
Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí
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Raul Puente
Desert Botanical Garden
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Joel Flores
Instituto Potosino de Investigacion Cientifica y Tecnologica AC
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Jose Arturo De-Nova
Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí
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Abstract

1. Mexican territory is one of the centers of origin and dispersion of the genus Opuntia, where several of its species have been an important plant resource for people in arid and semi-arid zones. Opuntia streptacantha is widely distributed in Mexico, however, precise aspects of its geographic distribution and ecological status are still unknown. 2. Here, we modeled its potential distribution under paleoclimatic, current, and future conditions through maximum entropy and predictions from 825 records and seven environmental variables. 3. Potential distribution of Opuntia streptacantha in the interglacial period was contracted and slightly north than current distribution, with 42,850 km2 of optimal habitat including 27 km2 of very suitable habitat. 4. In other periods the central location of potential distribution coincides with the actual current distribution, but the period of the last glacial maximum was characterized by 282 km2 of very suitable habitat, absent in current and future periods. 5. Synthesis and applications. Our findings are relevant in the identification of regions where O. streptacantha may exist but has not yet been detected, in areas where it can potentially spread, suitable habitats due to climate change, and in the selection of areas for protection, conservation, and reproduction of species resistant to the hostile conditions of arid and semi-arid zones of Mexican territory, where the structure and composition of the vegetation will be affected in the next 100 years.
11 Jul 2022Assigned to Editor
11 Jul 2022Submission Checks Completed
25 Jul 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned