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Gap, France

Nieto-Lugilde D.,University of Granada | Nieto-Lugilde D.,University of Aarhus | Lenoir J.,University of Aarhus | Lenoir J.,University of Picardie Jules Verne | And 17 more authors.
Ecography | Year: 2015

The role of competition for light among plants has long been recognised at local scales, but its importance for plant species distributions at larger spatial scales has generally been ignored. Tree cover modifies the local abiotic conditions below the canopy, notably by reducing light availability, and thus, also the performance of species that are not adapted to low-light conditions. However, this local effect may propagate to coarser spatial grains, by affecting colonisation probabilities and local extinction risks of herbs and shrubs. To assess the effect of tree cover at both the plot- and landscape-grain sizes (approximately 10-m and 1-km), we fit generalised linear models (GLMs) for the plot-level distributions of 960 species of herbs and shrubs using 6935 vegetation plots across the European Alps. We ran four models with different combinations of variables (climate, soil and tree cover) at both spatial grains for each species. We used partial regressions to evaluate the independent effects of plot- and landscape-grain tree cover on plot-level plant communities. Finally, the effects on species-specific elevational range limits were assessed by simulating a removal experiment comparing the species distributions under high and low tree cover. Accounting for tree cover improved the model performance, with the probability of the presence of shade-tolerant species increasing with increasing tree cover, whereas shade-intolerant species showed the opposite pattern. The tree cover effect occurred consistently at both the plot and landscape spatial grains, albeit most strongly at the former. Importantly, tree cover at the two grain sizes had partially independent effects on plot-level plant communities. With high tree cover, shade-intolerant species exhibited narrower elevational ranges than with low tree cover whereas shade-tolerant species showed wider elevational ranges. These findings suggest that forecasts of climate-related range shifts for herb and shrub species may be modified by tree cover dynamics. © 2014 The Authors. Source

Boulangeat I.,CNRS Alpine Ecology Laboratory | Philippe P.,CNRS Alpine Ecology Laboratory | Abdulhak S.,Domaine de Charance | Douzet R.,CNRS Alpine Ecology Laboratory | And 6 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2012

The pace of on-going climate change calls for reliable plant biodiversity scenarios. Traditional dynamic vegetation models use plant functional types that are summarized to such an extent that they become meaningless for biodiversity scenarios. Hybrid dynamic vegetation models of intermediate complexity (hybrid-DVMs) have recently been developed to address this issue. These models, at the crossroads between phenomenological and process-based models, are able to involve an intermediate number of well-chosen plant functional groups (PFGs). The challenge is to build meaningful PFGs that are representative of plant biodiversity, and consistent with the parameters and processes of hybrid-DVMs. Here, we propose and test a framework based on few selected traits to define a limited number of PFGs, which are both representative of the diversity (functional and taxonomic) of the flora in the Ecrins National Park, and adapted to hybrid-DVMs. This new classification scheme, together with recent advances in vegetation modeling, constitutes a step forward for mechanistic biodiversity modeling. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Thuiller W.,CNRS Alpine Ecology Laboratory | Gueguen M.,CNRS Alpine Ecology Laboratory | Georges D.,CNRS Alpine Ecology Laboratory | Bonet R.,Parc National des Ecrins | And 7 more authors.
Ecography | Year: 2014

Climate and land cover changes are important drivers of the plant species distributions and diversity patterns in mountainous regions. Although the need for a multifaceted view of diversity based on taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic dimensions is now commonly recognized, there are no complete risk assessments concerning their expected changes. In this paper, we used a range of species distribution models in an ensemble-forecasting framework together with regional climate and land cover projections by 2080 to analyze the potential threat for more than 2500 plant species at high resolution (2.5 × 2.5 km) in the French Alps. We also decomposed taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity facets into α and β components and analyzed their expected changes by 2080. Overall, plant species threats from climate and land cover changes in the French Alps were expected to vary depending on the species' preferred altitudinal vegetation zone, rarity, and conservation status. Indeed, rare species and species of conservation concern were the ones projected to experience less severe change, and also the ones being the most efficiently preserved by the current network of protected areas. Conversely, the three facets of plant diversity were also projected to experience drastic spatial re-shuffling by 2080. In general, the mean α-diversity of the three facets was projected to increase to the detriment of regional β-diversity, although the latter was projected to remain high at the montane-alpine transition zones. Our results show that, due to a high-altitude distribution, the current protection network is efficient for rare species, and species predicted to migrate upward. Although our modeling framework may not capture all possible mechanisms of species range shifts, our work illustrates that a comprehensive risk assessment on an entire floristic region combined with functional and phylogenetic information can help delimitate future scenarios of biodiversity and better design its protection. © 2014 The Authors. Source

Munkemuller T.,CNRS Alpine Ecology Laboratory | Gallien L.,CNRS Alpine Ecology Laboratory | Lavergne S.,CNRS Alpine Ecology Laboratory | Renaud J.,CNRS Alpine Ecology Laboratory | And 12 more authors.
Global Ecology and Biogeography | Year: 2014

Aim: Phylogenetic diversity patterns are increasingly being used to better understand the role of ecological and evolutionary processes in community assembly. Here, we quantify how these patterns are influenced by scale choices in terms of spatial and environmental extent and organismic scales. Location: European Alps. Methods: We applied 42 sampling strategies differing in their combination of focal scales. For each resulting sub-dataset, we estimated the phylogenetic diversity of the species pools, phylogenetic α-diversities of local communities, and statistics commonly used together with null models in order to infer non-random diversity patterns (i.e. phylogenetic clustering versus over-dispersion). Finally, we studied the effects of scale choices on these measures using regression analyses. Results: Scale choices were decisive for revealing signals in diversity patterns. Notably, changes in focal scales sometimes reversed a pattern of over-dispersion into clustering. Organismic scale had a stronger effect than spatial and environmental extent. However, we did not find general rules for the direction of change from over-dispersion to clustering with changing scales. Importantly, these scale issues had only a weak influence when focusing on regional diversity patterns that change along abiotic gradients. Main conclusions: Our results call for caution when combining phylogenetic data with distributional data to study how and why communities differ from random expectations of phylogenetic relatedness. These analyses seem to be robust when the focus is on relating community diversity patterns to variation in habitat conditions, such as abiotic gradients. However, if the focus is on identifying relevant assembly rules for local communities, the uncertainty arising from a certain scale choice can be immense. In the latter case, it becomes necessary to test whether emerging patterns are robust to alternative scale choices. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

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