Climate refugia for Pinus spp. in topographic and bioclimatic environments of the Madrean sky islands of México and the United States

Sandra L. Haire*, Miguel L. Villarreal, Citlali Cortés-Montaño, Aaron D. Flesch, José M. Iniguez, Jose Raul Romo-Leon, Jamie S. Sanderlin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Climate refugia, or places where habitats are expected to remain relatively buffered from regional climate extremes, provide an important focus for science and conservation planning. Within high-priority, multi-jurisdictional landscapes like the Madrean sky islands of the United States and México, efforts to identify and manage climate refugia are hindered by the lack of high-quality and consistent transboundary datasets. To fill these data gaps, we assembled a bi-national field dataset (n = 1416) for five pine species (Pinus spp.) and used generalized boosted regression to model pine habitats in relation to topographic variability as a basis for identifying potential microrefugia at local scales in the context of current species’ distribution patterns. We developed additional models to quantify climatic refugial attributes using coarse scale bioclimatic variables and finer scale seasonal remote sensing indices. Terrain metrics including ruggedness, slope position, and aspect defined microrefugia for pines within elevation ranges preferred by each species. Response to bioclimatic variables indicated that small shifts in climate were important to some species (e.g., P. chihuahuana, P. strobiformis), but others exhibited a broader tolerance (e.g., P. arizonica). Response to seasonal climate was particularly important in modeling microrefugia for species with open canopy structure and where regular fires occur (e.g., P. engelmannii and P. chihuahuana). Hotspots of microrefugia differed among species and were either limited to northern islands or occurred across central or southern latitudes. Mapping and validation of refugia and their ecological functions are necessary steps in developing regional conservation strategies that cross jurisdictional boundaries. A salient application will be incorporation of climate refugia in management of fire to restore and maintain pine ecology. Una versión en español de este artículo está disponible como descarga.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-598
Number of pages22
JournalPlant Ecology
Volume223
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by the U.S. Geological Survey Land Change Science Program.

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the U.S. Geological Survey Land Change Science Program. Field work in México was supported by the US National Park Service; US Fish and Wildlife Service; Veolia Environment Foundation and Sky Island Alliance. Field work in the United States was supported by Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative (US Bureau of Reclamation and US Fish and Wildlife Service) and USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. We thank field crews (K. Aerni, G. Furr, D. Gusset, W.S. Hampton, W. Jaremko-Wright, A. Olenberg-Meltzer) for collecting United States vegetation data and R. Lopez, B. Strohmeyer, and S. Vojta for assistance relocating point count stations. Coordination was provided by Coronado National Forest, Fort Huachuca, and Santa Rita Experimental Station/Florida Work Station. We thank A.M. Barton for helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript, and T.L. Morelli and three anonymous reviewers for their feedback and reviews. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government.

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the U.S. Geological Survey Land Change Science Program. Field work in México was supported by the US National Park Service; US Fish and Wildlife Service; Veolia Environment Foundation and Sky Island Alliance. Field work in the United States was supported by Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative (US Bureau of Reclamation and US Fish and Wildlife Service) and USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. We thank field crews (K. Aerni, G. Furr, D. Gusset, W.S. Hampton, W. Jaremko-Wright, A. Olenberg-Meltzer) for collecting United States vegetation data and R. Lopez, B. Strohmeyer, and S. Vojta for assistance relocating point count stations. Coordination was provided by Coronado National Forest, Fort Huachuca, and Santa Rita Experimental Station/Florida Work Station. We thank A.M. Barton for helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript, and T.L. Morelli and three anonymous reviewers for their feedback and reviews. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.

Keywords

  • Borderlands
  • Madrean Archipelago
  • Microrefugia
  • Pine–oak forests and woodlands
  • Species distribution modeling
  • Vegetation index

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