Predicting the current and future potential distributions of Cedrus atlantica Manetti in North Africa using MaxEnt

Mr Abdelkader BOUAHMED1, Mr Federico Vessella2, Mrs Fazia Krouchi1, Mr Bartolomeo Schirone2, Mr Arezki Derridj1

1Faculty of Biological and Agronomic Sciences, University Mouloud Mammeri of Tizi-Ouzou, , Algeria, 2DAFNE, Tuscia University, Viterbo, Italy


Species distribution models (SDMs) have been widely used in recent years for many purposes. We used such tools to predict the current potential distribution of Cedrus atlantica in North Africa where the species occurs naturally and constitutes the most emblematic tree. Future projections of the modeled niche conditions have been applied to inquire about future refuge of the species under anthropogenic climate change following two scenarios of Representative Concentration Pathways.

A machine learning (MaxEnt) was employed integrating 24 environmental variables. The accuracy of the model was tested using the area under the curve (AUC) of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) method. A Jackknife test in MaxEnt was used to explore the most important environmental variables affecting the species distribution.

Preliminary results showed a current potential distribution of the species larger than its current geographical distribution. Future projections of the model revealed a significant contraction of the species potential distribution and even its disappearance in many localities of the Algerian Tell. Future species refuge would be found at high altitudes and in other areas which are not part of its current distribution e.g. the Moroccan Western High Atlas and Aures region eastward.

Our results are valuable tools for reforestation and emphasize the need to intervene at several levels for the conservation of this endemic species. These include mainly, actions to restore degraded cedar forest and an ex-situ conservation of the species according to its future defined refuges focusing on localities that have demonstrated a high probability of occurrence.

 Keywords: Cedrus atlantica, North Africa, potential distribution, MaxEnt, future refuge.


Mr BOUAHMED Abdelkader is an assistant professor at Moumloud Mammeri University (Algeria).

After baccalaureate, he continued his studies at the University of Djelfa in Algeria where he obtained his degrees of engineering and Magister. He continues his PhD studies at the Mouloud Mammeri University in Tizi Ouzou. In his research, he is interested in ecological modeling and the response of species to climate change.

Mr BOUAHMED Abdelkader participate currently to a national research projet (PRFU) intiteled “Appui de la modélisation et de la cartographie à l’évaluation de la dynamique des essences forestières”.

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