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The fate of páramo plant assemblages in the sky islands of the northern Andes - Appendix S1. Vegetation and occurrence data used in this study

Citation

Peyre, Gwendolyn (2020), The fate of páramo plant assemblages in the sky islands of the northern Andes - Appendix S1. Vegetation and occurrence data used in this study , Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.44j0zpc9z

Abstract

Aims: Assessing climate change impacts on biodiversity is a main scientific challenge, especially in the tropics, therefore, we predicted the future of plant species and communities on the unique páramo sky islands. We implemented the Spatially Explicit Species Assemblage Modelling framework, by i) calculating species’ maximum dispersal distance, ii) modelling species distributions at present up to 2100, iii) assembling models into communities. Finally, we assessed the vulnerability of sky islands based on richness and composition changes.

Location: Ecuadorian super-páramo (>4200 m)

Methods: Using species trait data, the maximum dispersal distance of 435 species was calculated. Species distribution models (SDM) were fitted to obtain current and future distribution predictions based on dispersal and bioclimatic factors. The final assemblages for present and 2100 were achieved by stacking all probabilistic SDMs and applying the probability ranking rule. The vulnerability of each sky island was evaluated by quantifying richness and composition changes.

Results: Maximum dispersal distances ranged between 0.008-6027 m/year, and across all scenarios, 70% of models showed a net loss in species distribution while 9% of all species were predicted to undergo extinction by 2100. Local richness was estimated to decrease by 56.63% on average, and composition changes in each sky island suggested a mean loss of 64.74% of their original species pool against a 12.97% gain. Finally, 5% of the sky island floras reconverted from high-elevation to low-elevation species. These numbers were usually more important for high-elevation species and the mountains Pichincha, Ilinizas and Antisana.

Conclusions: Our study is methodologically pioneer and provides novel insight on the future of páramo biodiversity. Significant losses in species distribution and changes in community richness and composition suggest drastic impacts and call for further study considering additional factors, such as land-use. Finally, we recommend focusing monitoring and conservation strategies on the northern sky islands in priority.

Methods

The dataset is issued from a compilation of VegParamo vegetation data (www.vegparamo.com) and additional occurence data obtained from different herbarium databases. The dataset includes presence-absence data for super-páramo species in Ecuador