Beridze, B, Sękiewicz, K, Walas, Ł, Thomas, PA, Danelia, I, Fazaliyev, V, Kvartskhava, G, Sós, J and Dering, M (2023) Biodiversity protection against anthropogenic climate change: Conservation prioritization of <i>Castanea sativa</i> in the South Caucasus based on genetic and ecological metrics. Ecology and Evolution, 13 (5). ISSN 2045-7758

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The climate drives species distribution and genetic diversity; the latter defines the adaptability of populations and species. The ongoing climate crisis induces tree decline in many regions, compromising the mitigation potential of forests. Scientific-based strategies for prioritizing forest tree populations are critical to managing the impact of climate change. Identifying future climate refugia, which are locations naturally buffering the negative impact of climate change, may facilitate local conservation. In this work, we conducted the populations' prioritization for Castanea sativa (sweet chestnut), a Neogene relict growing in the Caucasus global biodiversity hotspot. We generated genetic and ecological metrics for 21 sites in Georgia and Azerbaijan, which cover the natural range of sweet chestnut across the region. We demonstrated that climate primarily drives the pattern of genetic diversity in C. sativa, proved with a significant isolation-by-environment model. In future, climate change may significantly reorganize the species' genetic diversity, inducing even some genetic loss, especially in the very distinct eastern fringe of the species range in Azerbaijan. Based on our combined approach, we mapped populations suitable for ex situ and in situ conservation, accounting for genetic variability and the location of future climate refugia.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2023 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry > QD415 Biochemistry
Q Science > QE Geology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 25 May 2023 07:54
Last Modified: 25 May 2023 07:54

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