Department of Biology, Bournemouth University, Poole BH12 5BB, UNITED KINGDOM.
The potential impacts of climate change on many species worldwide remains unknown, especially in those tropical regions that are centers of endemism and are highly biodiverse. This thesis provides an insight into the extinction risk of selected tree species using different species distribution modelling techniques and reviewing the current conservation status on montane forest in the Tropical Andes. Starting with a global analysis, the potential impacts of climate change on montane ecoregions is investigated, by identifying those that are more vulnerable to the expected changes in temperature and precipitation, from global predictions under different climate change scenarios. It then gives an insight on the current and potential threats to biodiversity in the Andean region, including the identification of those that are most likely to be responsible for increasing the extinction risk of the species. With the use of the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, selected tree species were assessed to identify their extinction risk. Information on the species’ current distribution was collated and used to estimate their potential distribution under climate change, by using different modelling techniques. These results were used to reassess the species using the IUCN Red List and establish the changes in Red List Category. Lastly, it provides a discussion that integrates all the results obtained throughout the thesis, to explore the implications for conservation, in order to highlight the overriding importance of including threatened tree species to target conservation efforts in the region, while considering the uncertainties that surround predictions under climate change scenarios, modelling techniques and the use of the IUCN Red List.