In the lastest paper from Marshall Heap’s thesis we discuss the impact of near-future climate change on plant species in the Iberian peninsular (Spain and Portugal). 3267 MAXENT environmental niche models (ENMs) at 1-km spatial resolution for known Iberian plant species under two climate scenarios (1950-2000 baseline & 2020) were generated using a compute cluster. This is the largest 1km scale modelling exercise for plant species yet published.
The models suggest that in the short term plant migrations appear to be likely to happen in Easterly and Westerly directions much more than has been suggested in other papers. Altitudinal migrations are similar to previous predictions.
The current extensive network of Iberian Protected Areas is sufficient to meet immediate conservation needs but will not be sufficient to accommodate changes in plant distributions if greenhouse gas emissions continue at near the current rate. We forecast only 3% overall floristic diversity richness loss by 2020 and this could be mitigated by survival of remnant populations in microrefugia. Long term risks remain higher and less readily predicatable.
Narrow endemics remain impossible to model for climate niche due to distributions covering two or fewer grid cells. These species may or may not be susceptible to climate change and some may occupy microclimates that do not change in a pattern that follows the more general trend.
Heap, M. , Culham, A. , Lenoir, J. and Gavilán, R. (2014) Can the Iberian Floristic Diversity Withstand Near-Future Climate Change?. Open Journal of Ecology, 4, 1089-1101. doi: 10.4236/oje.2014.417089.