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Data from: Finding common ground: Toward comparable indicators of adaptive capacity of tree species to a changing climate

Cite this dataset

Aubin, Isabelle et al. (2022). Data from: Finding common ground: Toward comparable indicators of adaptive capacity of tree species to a changing climate [Dataset]. Dryad.


Adaptive capacity, one of the three determinants of vulnerability to climate change, is defined as the capacity of species to persist in their current location by coping with novel environmental conditions through acclimation and/or evolution. Although studies have identified indicators of adaptive capacity, few have assessed this capacity in a quantitative way that is comparable across tree species. Yet, such multi-species assessments are needed by forest management and conservation programs to refine vulnerability assessments and to guide the choice of adaptation measures. In this paper, we propose a framework to quantitatively evaluate five key components of tree adaptive capacity to climate change: individual adaptation through phenotypic plasticity, population phenotypic diversity as influenced by genetic diversity, genetic exchange within populations, genetic exchange between populations and genetic exchange between species. For each component, we define the main mechanisms that underlie adaptive capacity and present associated metrics that can be used as indices. To illustrate the use of this framework, we evaluate the relative adaptive capacity of 26 northeastern North American tree species using values reported in the literature. Our results show adaptive capacity to be highly variable among species and between components of adaptive capacity, such that no one species ranks consistently across all components. On average, the conifer Picea glauca and the broadleaf Betula papyrifera show the greatest adaptive capacity among the 26 species we documented, whereas the conifers Picea rubens and Thuja occidentalis, and the broadleaf Ostrya virginiana possess the lowest. We discuss limitations that arise when comparing adaptive capacity among species, including poor data availability and comparability issues in metrics derived from different methods or studies. The breadth of data required for such an assessment exemplifies the multidisciplinary nature of adaptive capacity and the necessity of continued cross-collaboration to better anticipate the impacts of a changing climate.


Collected through metaanalysis