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The influence of climatic changes on distribution pattern of six typical Kobresia species in Tibetan Plateau based on MaxEnt model and geographic information system

Hu, Zhongjun, Guo, Ke, Jin, Shulan, Pan, Huahua
Theoretical and applied climatology 2019 v.135 no.1-2 pp. 375-390
Kobresia macrantha, alpine grasslands, atmospheric precipitation, biogeography, climate, climate change, forage, geographic information systems, habitats, hinterland, lakes, models, sustainable development, China, Himalayan region
The issue that climatic change has great influence on species distribution is currently of great interest in field of biogeography. Six typical Kobresia species are selected from alpine grassland of Tibetan Plateau (TP) as research objects which are the high-quality forage for local husbandry, and their distribution changes are modeled in four periods by using MaxEnt model and GIS technology. The modeling results have shown that the distribution of these six typical Kobresia species in TP was strongly affected by two factors of “the annual precipitation” and “the precipitation in the wettest and driest quarters of the year”. The modeling results have also shown that the most suitable habitats of K. pygmeae were located in the area around Qinghai Lake, the Hengduan-Himalayan mountain area, and the hinterland of TP. The most suitable habitats of K. humilis were mainly located in the area around Qinghai Lake and the hinterland of TP during the Last Interglacial period, and gradually merged into a bigger area; K. robusta and K. tibetica were located in the area around Qinghai Lake and the hinterland of TP, but they did not integrate into one area all the time, and K. capillifolia were located in the area around Qinghai Lake and extended to the southwest of the original distributing area, whereas K. macrantha were mainly distributed along the area of the Himalayan mountain chain, which had the smallest distribution area among them, and all these six Kobresia species can be divided into four types of “retreat/expansion” styles according to the changes of suitable habitat areas during the four periods; all these change styles are the result of long-term adaptations of the different species to the local climate changes in regions of TP and show the complexity of relationships between different species and climate. The research results have positive reference value to the protection of species diversity and sustainable development of the local husbandry in TP.