Modelling Tree Species Distribution in Sylhet Forest Division, Bangladesh: Implications for Conservation Planning under Future Climate Scenarios
Mapping tree species distribution is a key aspect of forest ecology and has become critical for forest conservation planning and management. While there is still debate globally on the mitigation of climate change impacts on plants and animals, biologists have already found evidence that a wide variety of species are responding to the changing climate by altering their phenology and geographical distributions. Mapping and modelling species distribution are widely used scientific approaches to quantify species-environment relationships and they can also be used to examine the potential impacts of changing climate on an areas biodiversity. Protected areas are a backbone for biodiversity conservation. Despite over 12% of the terrestrial areas of the earth being designated as protected areas, global biodiversity continues to decline at an alarming rate.
Many studies have attempted to model the distribution of different tree species in the tropics. The biodiversity of the forests in Bangladesh is very rich. Although Bangladesh is considered highly vulnerable to climate change, almost no work has been done on predictive distribution maps of tree species in the protected areas of Bangladesh. Thus, mapping the current and modelling the future distributions of different types of tree species (e.g. timber trees, alien invasive trees, rare and endangered trees) of protected areas is utmost important to the conservation planner. Therefore, this study will conduct research to produce and understand predictive distribution maps of different tree species in four protected areas (Satchari National Park, Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Khadimnagar National Park and Lawachara National Park) located in the Sylhet Forest Division of Bangladesh in order to set guidelines for conservation planning.