Ecological Research

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 341–350 | Cite as

Vulnerability of subalpine fir species to climate change: using species distribution modeling to assess the future efficiency of current protected areas in the Korean Peninsula

  • Jong-Hak Yun
  • Katsuhiro Nakao
  • Ikutaro Tsuyama
  • Tetsuya Matsui
  • Chan-Ho Park
  • Byoung-Yoon Lee
  • Nobuyuki Tanaka
Special Feature Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation in East Asia as a token of memory for the 7th EAFES in Daegu, Korea


To facilitate the adaptive management of subalpine ecosystems in the Korean Peninsula under climate change conditions, we identified the climatic factors that determine the distribution of two dominant subalpine firs (Abies koreana and A. nephrolepis). We also identified sustainable and vulnerable habitats for these species inside and outside of current protected areas under climate change scenarios. The minimum temperature of the coldest month, and the amount of precipitation in the warmest quarter were the most important climatic variables that determined the distribution of these two Abies species. Potential habitats for A. koreana and A. nephrolepis were predicted to decrease to 3.3% and 36.4% of the current areas due to climate change, irrespective of whether inside or outside the protected areas. It was predicted that the potential habitats for A. nephrolepis would be maintained in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, and sustainable potential habitats outside the protected areas were predicted in central parts of the Korean Peninsula. The potential habitats for A. koreana were predicted to disappear from Is. Jeju and shrink significantly in the Korean Peninsula. These results suggest that, in central parts of the Korean Peninsula, revision of protected areas would be effective in preserving A. nephrolepis under conditions of future climate change. In contrast, revision of protected areas would be insufficient to conserve A. koreana due to their high vulnerability and limited populations. Active management is required to ensure the survival of A. koreana under future climate conditions.


Active management Protected area Sustainable habitats General circulation models (GCM) Vulnerability 



Democratic People’s Republic of Korea


The minimum temperature of the coldest month


The mean temperature of the warmest quarter


The precipitation level in the warmest quarter


The precipitation level in the coldest quarter


Potential habitats


Republic of Korea



This research was supported by grants from the species distribution prediction research project of the National Institute of Biological Resources, and by a long-term ecological research project of the National Institute of Ecology of the Ministry of the Environment, Korea and the Environmental Research and Technology Development Fund (S-14) of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan.

Supplementary material

11284_2018_1581_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1810 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jong-Hak Yun
    • 1
  • Katsuhiro Nakao
    • 2
  • Ikutaro Tsuyama
    • 3
  • Tetsuya Matsui
    • 4
  • Chan-Ho Park
    • 5
  • Byoung-Yoon Lee
    • 5
  • Nobuyuki Tanaka
    • 6
  1. 1.Ecosystem Assessment TeamNational Institute of EcologyIncheonRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Kansai Research Center, Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Hokkaido Research Station, Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteSapporoJapan
  4. 4.Center for International Partnerships and Research on Climate Change, Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan
  5. 5.Plant Resources DivisionNational Institute of Biological ResourcesIncheonRepublic of Korea
  6. 6.Department of International Agricultural DevelopmentTokyo University of AgricultureTokyoJapan

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