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Modeling the distributions of useful woody species in eastern Burkina Faso

Schumann, Katharina, Nacoulma, Blandine M.I., Hahn, Karen, Traoré, Salifou, Thiombiano, Adjima, Bachmann, Yvonne
Journal of arid environments 2016 v.135 pp. 104-114
adults, anthropogenic activities, biogeography, dry environmental conditions, humans, juveniles, livelihood, models, rural areas, woody plants, Burkina Faso
Useful woody species contribute enormously to maintain livelihoods in rural areas of West Africa and are strongly influenced by environmental conditions and human activities. To assess species-specific responses to these factors, we studied potential distributions and richness patterns of useful woody species in relation to several environmental factors in a communal and protected area in eastern Burkina Faso. We applied species distribution models, separately for adults and juveniles. While potential distributions of adults can be interpreted as the current state of the species, modeled distributions of juveniles give hints about the species' future development. Our results reveal that elevation and precipitation were the most influencing environmental factors on potential distributions of both juvenile and adult richness. Furthermore, we demonstrated that overall modeled adult richness (the same in communal and protected area) and juvenile richness (more successful in protected area) of woody species reacted differently to human disturbances. However, the fact that the responses to human activities differed widely between species and often even between adults and juveniles of the same species emphasizes the difficulty of giving simplified statements about the human impact on useful woody species. We discuss whether woody species might persist under increasing human pressure in the future.