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Do low-elevation ravines provide climate refugia for subalpine limber pine (Pinus flexilis) in the Great Basin, USA?Author(s): Constance I Millar; David A. Charlet; Robert D. Westfall; John C. King; Diane L. Delany; Alan L. Flint; Lorraine E. Flint
Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 48(6): 663-671
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
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DescriptionClimate refugia are locations where decoupled climate processes enable species to persist despite unfavorable climate changes in surrounding landscapes. Despite theoretic bases and paleo-ecological evidence, refugia have not been widely characterized under modern conditions in mountain regions. Conifers in the Great Basin, USA, provide an opportunity to evaluate the potential of low-elevation ravine and riparian (LERR) contexts to function as climate refugia. We provide evidence for significantly higher than expected occurrence of limber pine (Pinus flexilis E. James) in LERR contexts (mean 64%) across 43 mountain ranges. We document with observed and modeled data that LERR contexts are cooler and wetter than expected for their elevations, have low solar radiation, and produce larger (more positive) lapse rates relative to upland slopes. Together these findings suggest that LERR contexts generate decoupled microclimates that provide climate refugia for limber pine. In that refugia management has been promoted as a contemporary climate adaptation strategy, our findings suggest that LERR contexts be further evaluated for their conservation potential.
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CitationMillar, Constance I.; Charlet, David A.; Westfall, Robert D.; King, John C.; Delany, Diane L.; Flint, Alan L.; Flint, Lorraine E. 2018. Do low-elevation ravines provide climate refugia for subalpine limber pine (Pinus flexilis) in the Great Basin, USA? Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 48(6): 663-671. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2017-0374.
Keywordsclimate refugia, Great Basin, limber pine, microclimates, cold-air drainage
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