An Atlas titled Suitability of key Central American agroforestry species under future climates was published in December 2017 by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in collaboration with Bioversity International and The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE).
The Atlas presents current and future suitability maps for 54 species that are commonly used as shade in agroforestry systems in Central America. The 54 species that were selected include 24 species of fruit trees, 24 timber trees and six species used to improve soil conditions. The results indicated that the modelled distribution for 30 species becomes smaller under both climate change scenarios.
Detailed mapping was possible by substantially expanding previously available data-sets of known presence locations (locations where a species was documented to be suitable in Latin America and the Caribbean) and by applying powerful species distribution modelling methods.
The future climates correspond to Representative Concentration Pathways RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 for the 2050s. Four RCPs (RCP 2.6, 4.5, 6.0 and 8.5) were introduced in the latest assessment report of the IPCC. These scenarios describe possible future climates that depend on potential changes in greenhouse gas emissions. RCP4.5 represents an intermediate emissions scenario, whereas RCP8.5 is a high emissions scenario.
The most threatened species include N-fixing ice-cream bean trees (Inga spp.), the cherimoya trees (Annona cherimola), the economically important avocado (Persea americana), and the timber species Handroanthus ochraceus.
Ten species are expected to increase their distribution under both climate change scenarios, including the under-utilised fruit species Averrhoa bilimbi, coconut (Cocos nucifera), cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco), Spanish lime (Melicoccus bijugatus) and the rain-tree (Albizia saman).
Download the Atlas "Suitability of key" - Central American agroforestry species under future climates