Bioclimate envelope models: what they detect and what they hide

Bioclimate envelope models: what they detect and what they hide INTRODUCTION In a recent issue of Global Ecology and Biogeography , Pearson & Dawson (2003 ) provided an informative review of the use of bioclimate envelope models (BEM) for predicting future distributional ranges of temperate plant species under expected global climate change. The authors discuss several criticisms of the BEM approach and they conclude that these need not be a major drawback when applied as a starting point for predicting the impacts of potential climate change on species ranges. Here, I argue that the strongly deterministic and reductionist BEM rely on biological assumptions that are much more commonly violated in nature than Pearson & Dawson (2003 ) assume. Moreover, the statistical methods currently used for model validation overestimate model fits as a result of pseudoreplication. Both features make BEM prone to produce artificially optimistic scenarios of future climate change impacts on plant distributions. Little doubt exists that climate determines the large‐scale distributions of many temperate plant species ( Woodward, 1987 ). However, ongoing range shifts are affected by a multitude of other constraints and processes acting on population performance (e.g. Ibrahim ., 1996 ; Clark ., 2001 ; Travis, 2003 ). These differ greatly across species’ ranges from http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Global Ecology and Biogeography Wiley

Bioclimate envelope models: what they detect and what they hide

Global Ecology and Biogeography, Volume 13 (5) – Sep 1, 2004

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
1466-822X
eISSN
1466-8238
DOI
10.1111/j.1466-822X.2004.00090.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

INTRODUCTION In a recent issue of Global Ecology and Biogeography , Pearson & Dawson (2003 ) provided an informative review of the use of bioclimate envelope models (BEM) for predicting future distributional ranges of temperate plant species under expected global climate change. The authors discuss several criticisms of the BEM approach and they conclude that these need not be a major drawback when applied as a starting point for predicting the impacts of potential climate change on species ranges. Here, I argue that the strongly deterministic and reductionist BEM rely on biological assumptions that are much more commonly violated in nature than Pearson & Dawson (2003 ) assume. Moreover, the statistical methods currently used for model validation overestimate model fits as a result of pseudoreplication. Both features make BEM prone to produce artificially optimistic scenarios of future climate change impacts on plant distributions. Little doubt exists that climate determines the large‐scale distributions of many temperate plant species ( Woodward, 1987 ). However, ongoing range shifts are affected by a multitude of other constraints and processes acting on population performance (e.g. Ibrahim ., 1996 ; Clark ., 2001 ; Travis, 2003 ). These differ greatly across species’ ranges from

Journal

Global Ecology and BiogeographyWiley

Published: Sep 1, 2004

References

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