ENBCN joint research topics

1. Studies of climate change impact on biodiversity (N. Tanaka, 2014/6/3)

The Objectives of the study project are to clarify the climate change impact on biodiversity and to contribute the biodiversity conservation in East Asia.

(1) Modeling approach

Species distribution models (SDMs) are usually built to predict potential habitats of a focal species under current climate conditions. SDMs predict habitats under past and future climate conditions. Vulnerable species and areas are estimated by comparing current distributions and future potential habitats (distributions). Spatial data on species distributions and environmental factors including climatic ones are necessary to build SDMs. Preparing these spatial data needs lots of efforts. Recently a world spatial climatic data are available at WorldClim website, which is useful for 1-km resolution projections. However, distribution records of plants, which are various in forms and limited in East Asia, have not yet been prepared for modeling. Therefore, it is important to prepare distribution data for modeling studies. Information from monitoring of vulnerable species area is important for conservation planning. Priority species to be modeled are the important species such as keystone, indicator and dominant species, which occupy important positions in ecosystems and biodiversity. Selection of study area, e.g., East Asia or some regions, is also an important issue for modeling.

(2) Monitoring approach

Climate warming has been continuing. The global surface temperature has increased by 0.7 degree Celsius past 100 years, and is predicted to increase by 2 to 4 degree Celsius. Information from monitoring of plant species is important for conservation planning. Shifts of plant range can be detected by monitoring. Monitoring needs many efforts and much time. Although there are many methods of monitoring, effective methods need to be carefully designed to keep the monitoring useful and sustainable. Priority species to be monitored are the important species such as keystone, indicator, rare and dominant species. Selection of study area, e.g., East Asia or some regions, is also an important issue for monitoring. Vulnerable species and areas following climate change are important targets of monitoring.

(3) Experimental approach

Since many climate change impact are future events, experiments of simulated climate change impact have been conducted in various places. Plant responses to elevated temperature and/or CO2 can be estimated by experiments. But the results of experiments need to be carefully interpreted because wild plants grow in the field under complex interaction between organisms and physical environment, which are not duplicated in any experiments.

2. Construction of the integrated flora in East Asia

Various climatic zones from tropical areas to frigid zones are distributed and further more from continental to monsoon climates are diversified as well in East Asia. And also the plant inhabiting environmental conditions include diversely such as seashores, lakes, deserts, planes, alpine mountains, tundra, tropical rain forests. Southeast Asian region among those is concerned worldwide as a hot spot region of biological diversity where tropical rain forests inhabit and grow, and for where efforts for conservation of biological diversity are made by centering on Asian countries.

However, East Asian area incorporating with Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, Mongolia, and Russian Far East mainly consists of warm-temperature forest, temperate forest and boreal forests, shares many floras each other, and includes glacial relicts inhabited from the third stage of Cenozoic era. Nevertheless it is located in the important position connected to Europe and North America, but studies on flora in the East Asian area have been conducted in each of the countries, so that it has been a limit to set up common goals, which is to conserve biological diversity in the area.

And, in order to secure a connectivity which is important in viewpoint of conservation of biological diversity, it is required to obtain plant status and diversity data of North Korea after 1950s by making it to participate, where forms the axis of Amur flora being connected from Sikhote-Alin Mountains of Primorskiy province of Russia to Baekdudaegan Mountains in Korean Peninsula.

Therefore, it is required to set up common goals and to share consciousness for conserving plant diversity in East Asia by preparing a plant list and distribution diagram jointly in the area

Goals

It is aimed to construct a platform of the flora information in East Asia incorporating with plant lists, distributions, relevant literature, and information of specimens in order to share jointly the information of plant diversity and to construct a basic data base for conservation of plant diversity.

Objectives

Collect native plant lists from the countries and complete an integrated plant list (2014 to 2018)
Prepare a check list for lichens, algae, fungi, bryophytes, and cultivated plants (to 2020)
Construct a database of specimens by making a consortium of the herbariums in East Asia (to 2018)
Prepare a distribution diagram in basis of specimens and literatures (to 2018)
Prepare an online flora in East Asia (to 2020)