Clarifying climate change adaptation responses for scattered trees in modified landscapes
Article first published online: 23 FEB 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society
Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume 48, Issue 3, pages 637–641, June 2011
How to Cite
Breed, M. F., Ottewell, K. M., Gardner, M. G. and Lowe, A. J. (2011), Clarifying climate change adaptation responses for scattered trees in modified landscapes. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48: 637–641. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.01969.x
- Issue published online: 13 MAY 2011
- Article first published online: 23 FEB 2011
- Received 15 September 2010; accepted 21 January 2011 Handling Editor: Mick McCarthy
- climate change;
- gene flow;
- landscape management;
- scattered trees;
- seed sourcing
1. Many studies have investigated adaptation to climate change. However, the term ‘adaptation’ has been used ambiguously and sometimes included parts of both classic evolutionary processes and conservation planning measures (i.e. human-mediated adaptation).
2. To reduce ambiguity, we define three classes of evolutionary processes involved in adaptation – migrational, novel-variant and plasticity. Migrational adaptation describes the process of redistribution of standing genetic variation among populations. Novel-variant adaptation describes the increase in frequency of beneficial, new genetic variants. Plasticity adaptation refers to adaptive plastic responses of organisms to environmental stressors. Quite separately, human-mediated adaptation aims to maintain these evolutionary processes.
3. Whilst the role of scattered trees in migrational adaptation of fauna may have been neglected in the past, their capacity to assist migrational adaptation of trees has been previously documented. However, their role in novel-variant and plasticity adaptation is generally unrecognised, and warrants further attention.
4. Synthesis and applications. By defining different aspects of adaptation carefully, we show that scattered trees should not be cleared since they may facilitate gene flow across fragmented landscapes. However, they should be avoided as dominant seed sources since their stock may be of poor quality.