Chinese Geographical Science ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (6): 1011-1023.doi: 10.1007/s11769-019-1085-4

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Prediction of Suitable Habitat for Lycophytes and Ferns in Northeast China: A Case Study on Athyrium brevifrons

LI Yan1,2,3, CAO Wei1, HE Xingyuan1,2,3,4, CHEN Wei1,2,3,4, XU Sheng1,2,4   

  1. 1. Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China;
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. Shenyang Arboretum, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China;
    4. Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Management, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China
  • Received:2019-01-03 Online:2019-12-27 Published:2019-11-12
  • Contact: HE Xingyuan, XU Sheng;
  • Supported by:

    Under the auspices of National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2016YFC0500300), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41675153)


Suitable habitat is vital for the survival and restoration of a species. Understanding the suitable habitat range for lycophytes and ferns is prerequisite for effective species resource conservation and recovery efforts. In this study, we took Athyrium brevifrons as an example, predicted its suitable habitat using a Maxent model with 67 occurrence data and nine environmental variables in Northeast China. The area under the curve (AUC) value of independent test data, as well as the comparison with specimen county areal distribution of A. brevifrons exhibited excellent predictive performance. The type of environmental variables showed that precipitation contributed the most to the distribution prediction, followed by temperature and topography. Percentage contribution and permutation importance both indicated that precipitation of driest quarter (Bio17) was the key factor in determining the natural distribution of A. brevifrons, the reason could be proved by the fern gametophyte biology. The analysis of high habitat suitability areas also showed the habitat preference of A. brevifrons:comparatively more precipitation and less fluctuation in the driest quarter. Changbai Mountains, covering almost all the high and medium habitat suitability areas, provide the best ecological conditions for the survival of A. brevifrons, and should be considered as priority areas for protection and restoration of the wild resource. The potential habitat suitability distribution map could provide a reference for the sustainable development and utilisation of A. brevifrons resource, and Maxent modelling could be valuable for conservation management planning for lycophytes and ferns in Northeast China.

Key words: Athyrium brevifrons, lycophytes and ferns, Maxent, suitable habitat, Northeast China, gametophyte