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Guiding Conservation for Mountain Tree Species in Lebanon

Authors
  • carla khater, rachid cheddadi;
Publication Date
Apr 30, 2022
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/f13050711
OAI: oai:mdpi.com:/1999-4907/13/5/711/
Source
MDPI
Keywords
Language
English
License
Green
External links

Abstract

The objective of this study is to contribute to the conservation of upland tree species in the face of climate change. We used a conservation index to prioritize the areas and populations of three conifer species in the mountains of Lebanon. This conservation index integrates (1) mountain topography to identify areas that could provide a suitable microclimate, (2) genetic diversity to assess the adaptive capacity of populations in these mountain areas, and (3) a hypothetical climate change scenario that could affect this Mediterranean region. The idea of this index is to prioritize protected areas based on a match between the relevance of the area to be protected and the populations that need local and long-term protection. The stronger the match, the higher the priority of the area to be protected. We applied this conservation index to 36 populations of 15 fir, 15 cedar, and 6 juniper. These populations were genotyped by different authors whose published data we used. The results show that 10 populations of the 3 species have a very high index and 9 others have a lower but still high index, indicating a high conservation priority. These 19 populations occur in 5 different areas that we delineated and that form a network along the Lebanon Mountains. We hypothesize that the conservation of these 19 populations across the Lebanon Mountains could contribute to the long-term sustainability of the 3 species in the face of a 2 °C increase in mean seasonal temperature and a 20% decrease in seasonal precipitation compared to the current climate.

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