Glacial refugia for summer-green trees in Europe and south-west Asia as proposed by ECHAM3 time-slice atmospheric model simulations


*Suzanne A. G. Leroy, Institute for the Environment, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH, UK.


Aim  To generate maps of potential refugia for summer-green trees during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM).

Locations  Southern Europe and south-western Asia.

Methods  Time-slice simulations of the atmospheric climate with the ECHAM3 model are used for the LGM. Limiting factors beyond which cool and warm groups of deciduous trees cannot grow (such as temperature in growing degree days, minimum monthly temperature and precipitation in summer) are chosen. A limited validation by fossil pollen and charcoal records from LGM sites was done.

Results  Two sets of maps extending from Europe to the Caspian region for cool and warm summer-green trees are presented. Three criteria are combined using contour lines to indicate confidence levels. Small areas within the three southern peninsulas of Europe (Spain, Italy and Greece) are highlighted as possible refugia for summer-green trees. Further, areas that have remained poorly known are now proposed as refugia, including the Sakarya–Kerempe region in northern Turkey, the east coast of the Black Sea and the area south of the Caspian Sea.

Main conclusions  The maps produced in this study could be used to facilitate better long-term management for the protection of European and south-western Asian biodiversity.