Authors:Z. Nazari, H. Ejtehadi, O. Mirshamsi, and F. Memariani
Ferula microcolea (Boiss.) Boiss. is an endemic plant in Iran that some of its habitats have been destroyed in recent decades. Since the bioclimatic variables which determine its potential distribution, are poorly defined, a specific analysis is needed. In this study, the species distribution modelling was used for reaching these goals: (i) identifying the bioclimatic factors that constrain the distribution of this species in Iran, (ii) generating a potential habitat suitability map for F. microcolea using Maxent (iii) determining the high suitable areas where this species could be present (iv) evaluating the final model. In all, 66 records of F. microcolea in Iran were used as the occurrence data. Nineteen bioclimatic variables were obtained from the WorldClim database and collinear variables were removed in a sequential manner with regard to the ecological knowledge of the plant. The maxent parameters were optimised with ENMeval R package. For evaluating the performance of the Maxent model, the Area under curve value (AUC) was calculated. The results showed that the model performance was excellent. Analysis of variable contribution demonstrated that the distribution of this species is most influenced by the Annual Mean Temperature. We revealed that the area about 22,005.5 km2 is highly suitable for F. microcolea that is principally located in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province. Although this region is rich in biodiversity, greater focus should be paid to its conservation. Our findings provide a scientific basis for the habitats conservation of this species in Iran.