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Assessing habitat suitability for the translocation of Ochrosia tahitensis (Apocynaceae), a critically endangered endemic plant from the island of Tahiti (South Pacific)

Abstract : Reintroduction or translocation of threatened plant species, as part of in situ conservation efforts, often failed because of the lack or the poor quality of remaining natural habitats due to human disturbances and invasion by alien species, especially in island ecosystems. We conducted a study on Ochrosia tahitensis (Apocynaceae), a critically endangered endemic small tree in the tropical high volcanic island of Tahiti (French Polynesia, South Pacific) to find the most suitable sites for future translocation. Distribution models were produced based on climate, topography, and plant community inventories (i.e. species composition and abundance, canopy height and openness, basal area of woody species) of the few remnant populations. Results show that this species, comprising 32 reproductive trees within 16 populations known in the wild, remains restricted to a few ecological refuges representing a very small part of its potential ecological range located on the northwest side of the island, and shares its current habitats with a set of more common native woody species found in mesic-wet forests. The use of native plant communities as a proxy for habitat suitability along with species distribution modelling can enhance translocation success in island ecosystems, but only if the major threats causing population decrease, mainly forest destruction and fragmentation and invasive alien species, are effectively managed.
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Soumis le : jeudi 19 mai 2022 - 15:43:31
Dernière modification le : samedi 2 juillet 2022 - 03:12:04

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Jean yves Meyer, Robin Pouteau, Florian Vincent. Assessing habitat suitability for the translocation of Ochrosia tahitensis (Apocynaceae), a critically endangered endemic plant from the island of Tahiti (South Pacific). Journal for Nature Conservation, Elsevier, 2022, 68, ⟨10.1016/j.jnc.2022.126198⟩. ⟨hal-03672555⟩

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