Predicting forest composition across space and time in central African forests

Rejou-Mechain Maxime, Mortier Frédéric, Bénédet Fabrice, Bry Xavier, Chave Jérôme, Cornu Guillaume, Doucet Jean-Louis, Fayolle Adeline, Gourlet-Fleury Sylvie, Pélissier Raphaël, Trottier Catherine. 2015. Predicting forest composition across space and time in central African forests. In : Resilience of tropical ecosystems: future challenges and opportunities. Kettle Chris J. (ed.), Magrach Ainhoa (ed.). Society for Tropical Ecology. Frankfurt am Main : Society for Tropical Ecology, Résumé, p. 51. ISBN 978-3-00-048918-1 Annual Conference of the Society for Tropical Ecology, Zurich, Suisse, 7 April 2015/10 April 2015.

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Abstract : Predicting the current and future natural distributions of species is challenging, especially in the tropics where large remote areas remain poorly known. Such challenge can only be met with an in-depth understanding of the drivers of species distribution, a well-designed and extensive survey and appropriate statistical models. In this study, we use a large dataset of forest inventories from logging companies, which provides information on the abundance of 215 tree genera, in more than 115,000 plots spread over four Central African countries. In order to predict the current and future distribution of these tree genera, we use a set of bioclimatic, geological and anthropogenic variables. We rely on a recently published methodology, called Supervised Component Generalized Linear Regression (SCGLR), which identifies the most predictive dimensions among a large set of predictors. Using a calibration and validation scheme, we show that the distribution of most tree genera can be well predicted over the whole study area. At the community level, the floristic and functional composition of tree genera is inferred with a high accuracy. Finally, using climatic and anthropogenic scenarios we predict the expected change in functional and phylogenetic structure of tree communities over the western part of the Congo Basin. Overall, our study provides useful ecological insights and shows that tropical tree distributions can be predicted with good accuracy, offering new perspectives to manage tropical forests at large spatial scales. (Texte intégral)

Classification Agris : K01 - Forestry - General aspects
F40 - Plant ecology
P40 - Meteorology and climatology
U10 - Mathematical and statistical methods
F70 - Plant taxonomy and geography

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Rejou-Mechain Maxime, French Institute of Pondicherry (IND)
  • Mortier Frédéric, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA)
  • Bénédet Fabrice, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0001-9281-5677
  • Bry Xavier, UM2 (FRA)
  • Chave Jérôme, CNRS (FRA)
  • Cornu Guillaume, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-7523-5176
  • Doucet Jean-Louis, GRFMN (BEL)
  • Fayolle Adeline, GRFMN (BEL)
  • Gourlet-Fleury Sylvie, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-1136-4307
  • Pélissier Raphaël, IRD (FRA)
  • Trottier Catherine, UM2 (FRA)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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