- Population viability of the narrow endemic Helianthemum juliae (CISTACEAE) in relation to climate variability
- Biological Conservation
- Volume | Issue number
- 136 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Narrow endemic plants are highly vulnerable to extinction as a result of human disturbance and climate change. We investigated the factors affecting the population viability of Helianthemum juliae, a perennial plant endemic to the Teide National Park on Tenerife, Canary Islands. One population was demographically monitored from 1992 to 2001 and analysed using matrix projection models to determine finite rates of increase and critical stages in the life cycle. Lambda values varied between 0.697 and 1.740, and were highly positively correlated with annual precipitation, but not with temperature. Survival of adults had the highest elasticity, and summed elasticities of the growth and fecundity transitions correlated positively with lambda and precipitation. Most of the mortality in the population seemed drought-related, and no other threats were identified. Deterministic simulations showed population increase, but introducing environmental stochasticity by modelling variation in precipitation from existing data of the past 85 years revealed high extinction probabilities (0.74-0.83 in the next 100 years). This plant is likely to be at risk under scenarios of global warming. our simulations suggest that augmenting the population would only delay extinction. A more viable option for long-term conservation seems to be the introduction of populations at more humid locations within the Teide caldera.
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