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Biodiversity protection against anthropogenic climate change: conservation prioritisation of Castanea sativa in the South Caucasus based on genetic and ecological metrics
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  • Berika Beridze,
  • Katarzyna Sękiewicz,
  • Łukasz Walas,
  • Peter, A. Thomas,
  • Irina Danelia,
  • Vahid Farzaliyev,
  • Giorgi Kvartskhava,
  • Jan Sós,
  • Monika Dering
Berika Beridze
Institute of Dendrology Polish Academy of Sciences
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Katarzyna Sękiewicz
Institute of Dendrology Polish Academy of Sciences
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Łukasz Walas
Institute of Dendrology Polish Academy of Sciences
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Peter, A. Thomas
Keele University
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Irina Danelia
Georgian Technical University
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Vahid Farzaliyev
Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan
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Giorgi Kvartskhava
Georgian Technical University, Faculty of Agricultural Science and Biosystems Engineering
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Jan Sós
Poznań University of Life Sciences
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Monika Dering
Poznań University of Life Sciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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The climate drives species distribution and genetic diversity; the latter defines the adaptability of populations and species. The ongoing climate crisis induces tree decline in many regions, compromising the mitigation potential of forests. Scientific-based strategies for prioritising forest tree populations are critical to managing the impact of climate change. Identifying future climate refugia, which are locations naturally buffering the negative impact of climate change, may facilitate local conservation. In this work, we conducted the populations’ prioritisation for Castanea sativa (sweet chestnut), a Neogene relict growing in the Caucasus global biodiversity hotspot. We generated genetic and ecological metrics for 21 sites in Georgia and Azerbaijan, which cover the natural range of sweet chestnut across the region. We demonstrated that climate primarily drives the pattern of genetic diversity in C. sativa, proved with a significant Isolation-by-Environment model. In future, climate change may significantly reorganise the species genetic diversity, inducing even some genetic loss, especially in the very distinct eastern fringe of the species range in Azerbaijan. Based on our combined approach, we mapped populations suitable for ex-situ and in-situ conservation, accounting for genetic variability and the location of future climate refugia.
03 Feb 2023Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
06 Feb 2023Submission Checks Completed
06 Feb 2023Assigned to Editor
07 Feb 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
27 Feb 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
14 Mar 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
12 Apr 20231st Revision Received
13 Apr 2023Submission Checks Completed
13 Apr 2023Assigned to Editor
13 Apr 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
21 Apr 2023Editorial Decision: Accept