Climatic distribution of tree species in the Atlantic Forest

Joice Klipel*, Rodrigo Bergamin, Adriane Esquivel-Muelbert, Renato Augusto Ferreira de Lima, Alexandre Oliveira, Paulo Inácio Prado, Sandra Müller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Species under milder climates (e.g., warm and wet) tend to experience lower variability in temperature and rainfall regimes and might occur in narrower climatic ranges than species that tolerate harsher conditions (e.g., cold or dry climates). Thus, tree species that occur under harsh conditions should have a broader climatic range, being a small subset of the flora. Here, we assess the influence of climate on species distribution of 1138 tree species from the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot. We investigate their range (or niche breadth), and the “center of gravity” index (or niche optima), along with gradients of mean annual temperature and climatic water deficit (CWD). We further identified those species associated with conditions on different ends of temperature and moisture gradients. We found a small subset of species occurring under colder temperatures or under drier conditions, and these species had a wider niche breadth. The warm or wet-affiliated species had narrower ranges along with the temperature and the CWD gradients, respectively. Moreover, species affiliated to warm and those to moister conditions had greater densities near their occurrence limits, thus they may be more susceptible to climate changes. We conclude that global climate changes will affect the incidence and abundance distribution patterns of tree species along this threatened biodiversity hotspot, mainly those with narrow niches and within the limit of its distribution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1170-1181
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Early online date16 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • biogeography
  • climate changes
  • climatic gradients
  • niche breadth
  • niche optima
  • temperature
  • tolerance
  • tropical forests
  • water deficit


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