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The distributions of Chinese yak breeds in response to climate change over the past 50 years

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The effects of prior climate change on yak breed distributions are uncertain. Here, we measured changes in the distributions of 12 yak breeds over the past 50 years in China and examined whether the changes could be attributed to climate change. Long‐term records of yak breed distribution, grey relational analysis, fuzzy sets classification techniques and attribution methods were used. Over the past 50 years, the distributions of several yak breeds have changed in multiple directions, mainly shifting northward or westward, and most of these changes are related to the thermal index. Driven by climate change over the past years, the suitable range and the distribution centers of certain yak breeds have changed with fluctuation and have mainly shifted northward, eastward or southward. The consistency of observed versus predicted changes in distribution boundaries or distribution centers is higher for certain yak breeds. Changes in the eastern distribution boundary of two yak breeds over the past 50 years can be attributed to climate change.
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Keywords: attribution; biodiversity; climate change; grey relation analysis; yak breed

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2016

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