Investigaciones Geográficas (Oct 2009)
Functional types sensitivity to climate change in Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, Mexico
Temperature raise and changes in precipitation expected under climate change scenarios will impact on species distribution at regional al global level; although in Mexico few studies of plant species vulnerability exist. The objectives of this study were: a) to determine plant functional types of plants based on life forms; b) to determine biogeography distribution and actual climate and altitude gradients and, c) to define vulnerability of plant functional types under climate change scenarios in Sierra Norte of Oaxaca (SNO). Potential response of functional groups was based on an ensemble of eight general circulation models with four emissions scenarios at global scale and, a Japanese model of very high regional resolution (20 x 20 km). To characterize groups of climate response, dominant species were defined for seven vegetation types in SNO. Climate change scenarios ensemble suggested an increment of temperature between 1.5 and 2.5º C, and a change in precipitation between +5 and –10 %. Sensitivity analysis suggested that for climate change scenarios in 2050 genera like Abies and Pinus would diminish their geographic distribution. Results of this study can help to define conservation strategies and manage of those species less tolerant to perturbation in actual and future climate at regional scales.