VULPES is a project funded by Belmont Forum which aims at evaluating the impact of past climate change on mountain ecosystems and their genetic diversity from around the world. VULPES is expected to forecast potential impacts of future climate change. Employing primarily existing fossil records from Morocco, Cameroon, China, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, VULPES will carry out a multi-disciplinary integration of quantified climate variables from fossil records, ancient and modern DNA (aDNA and mDNA), vegetation modeling, agent-based modeling and statistics. Our goal is to answer the overall question: "Are microrefugia the key to ecosystem sustainability in montane ecosystems under projected climate change?". This project will consider variability in mountain ecosystems across the last 21,000 years; a period of extreme natural climate change (e.g. transition from the last glacial period) and the more recent, increasing impact of humans. VULPES will evaluate the migration capacity of species, their potential in situ adaptation/response, ecosystem turnover through time, the tipping points that could lead to population extinctions, the rate of change and, ultimately, define a vulnerability index/threshold. This investigation will determine a global perspective on the effect of different climate types and changes on montane ecosystems encompassing semi-arid, tropical and temperate humid zones. Also included will be socio-ecological analyses regarding landuse, a key to establishing future food security. Combined, our assessments will enable optimised conservation policies for ecosystems, species and genetic resources. This product will be a valuable tool allowing local stakeholders to establish appropriate management strategies for the mitigation of climate and land use impacts on mountain ecosystems.

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Past Plant Diversity and Conservation

Past Plant Diversity and Conservation

Eds: Cheddadi R, Báez S, Normand S, Payne D, Taberlet P & Eggleston S

Past Global Changes Magazine, vol. 28(1), 1-32, 2020

https://doi.org/10.22498/pages.28.1

Conservation policies for preserving biodiversity under ongoing climate change require historical data and hindcasting models to better understand modern processes and more accurately predict potential future changes. This PAGES magazine issue is multidisciplinary and aims to highlight possible contributions of paleodata to conservation initiatives, as these data contain a wealth of information about past climate changes in terms of trends, abruptness, and velocity, and on plants' diversity down to their infraspecific level.

The recent colonization history of the most widespread Podocarpus tree species in Afromontane forests

Afromontane forests host a unique biodiversity distributed in isolated high-elevation habitats within a matrix of rain forests or savannahs, yet they share a remarkable flora that raises questions about past connectivity between currently isolated forests. Here, we focused on the Podocarpus latifolius–P. milanjianus complex (Podocarpaceae), the most widely distributed conifers throughout sub-Saharan African highlands, to infer its demographic history from genetic data.

The combined pollen and speleothems proxy data indicate that the montane rainforest expansion during Heinrich Stadial 1 Event was triggered mainly by a less seasonal rainfall regime from the subtropics to the equatorial region.... more

Elgar Companion to Geography, Transdisciplinarity and Sustainability

Edited by Fausto O. Sarmiento, Department of Geography, University of Georgia and Larry M. Frolich, Miami Dade College, Wolfson, US

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Fausto Sarmiento, professor of mountain science in the Department of Geography, received the 2019 Barry Bishop Career Award in April during the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers....

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