Modelling the geographic distribution of tree species in the Western Ghats of India: An overview
Speaker: Rüksan BOSE, PhD candidate, French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP).
Knowledge of the geographical distribution of species gives us information on the composition of species assemblages that constitute biological communities, as well as their ecological and evolutionary determinants. In the context of environmental change, whether climatic or anthropic in origin, this knowledge would enable us to predict the modifications of species distributions and to assess the vulnerability of an ecosystem – especially in sensitive regions where many species are endangered due to the degradation and fragmentation of natural systems. This is particularly the case in the Western Ghats of India - one of 34 global biodiversity hotspots.
The objective of the present project is the modelling of potential distributions of tree species of the Western Ghats, in order to assess the vulnerability of populations and to contribute to the improvement of management plans for species conservation.
The modelling of species potential distributions still faces scientific and methodological challenges that are not yet fully resolved, and which this project will attempt to address. On the one hand, current models are primarily based on the hypothesis that observed populations are in equilibrium with their habitat conditions (which are consequently enough to predict areas of potential distributions), neglecting the independent stochastic effects of the environment created by population dynamics (competition, dispersion, colonization, extinction, etc.; the so-called "non-equilibrium" theory). On the other hand, in the specific context of hyper-diversified tropical areas, there exist gaps in spatial data on species distribution, as a result of which only methods that use presence-only information can be used, whereas the seeming absence of species could simply be due to the lack of survey in certain areas.
Organiser : Department of Ecology, French Institute of Pondicherry.
Venue : Jawaharlal Nehru Conference Hall, French Institute of Pondicherry, 11, Saint Louis Street, Pondicherry - 605 001.