Effects of climate change on the distribution of crop wild relatives in the Netherlands in relation to conservation status and ecotope variation

Treuren, R. van; Hoekstra, R.; Wehrens, H.R.M.J.; Hintum, T.J.L. van


Crop wild relatives (CWR) are wild plant taxa that are genetically related to a cultivatedspecies and are considered rich sources of useful traits for crop improvement. CWR aregenerally underrepresented in genebanks, while their survival in nature is not guaranteed.Inventories and risk analyses are needed to prioritize CWR for conservation in order toensure that they remain available for utilization. Here the effects of climate change on thedistribution of 214 CWR in the Netherlands are predicted by ecological niche modellingand related to data on IUCN conservation status and variation in key ecological habitatfactors. It is shown that climate change is expected to affect red list species as well asspecies that currently are of least concern. Particularly worrisome is thefinding thatalready critically endangered CWR show the largest expected loss of distribution area. Ingeneral, reduced distribution areas show a geographical shift to more northern locations inthe Netherlands. No clear relationship is found between changes in distribution and thehabitat characteristics vegetation structure, nutrient level, moisture condition, salinity andacidity. A moderate positive correlation is observed between ecological amplitude andtolerance level to climatic change. Study results are used in developing strategies to ensurethat Dutch CWR remain available for utilization.