Past, Present, And Future Geographic Range Of An Oro-Mediterranean Tertiary Relict: The Juniperus Drupacea Case Study
Donmez, Ali A.
Kanoglu, Salih S.
Dagher-Kharrat, Magda Bou
Jasinska, Anna K.
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Juniperus drupacea is a unique relict species found in the mountains of southern Greece, southern Turkey, and western Syria and Lebanon. The aim of this study was to describe the natural range of this juniper by determining the current locations of its populations and to predict a theoretical range for the species based on current, past, and future climatic conditions. We used data from the literature, herbarium materials, and our unpublished field notes (about 500 georeferenced points in total) to determine the current natural distribution of J. drupacea (realized niche). To predict suitable conditions with the program MaxEnt, we used data from the WordClim database, which allowed estimation of the potential niche. The potential niche of J. drupacea was much wider during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and was severely restricted during the Eemian interglacial period. Depending on the climate scenario, this species could become endangered in the future due to climate changes. Considering the relatively restricted geographic range of J. drupacea and the decreasing numbers of localities where it is found, conservation strategies should be adopted to allow for preservation of its genetic and morphological diversity.