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Environmental Drivers and Spatial Prediction of the Critically Endangered Species Thuja sutchuenensis in Sichuan-Chongqing, China

Liang Xie1,2,5, Peihao Peng1,*, Haijun Wang1,3, Shengbin Chen4
1 College of Earth Science, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu, 610059, China
2 School of Geoscience and Technology, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu, 610500, China
3 Engineering and Technical College, Chengdu University of Technology, Leshan, 614000, China
4 College of Ecology and Environment, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu, 610041, China
5 Spatial Information Technology and Big Data Mining Research Center, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu, 610500, China
* Corresponding Author: Peihao Peng. Email:
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Plant Ecophysiology: Recent Trends and Advancements)

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2022, 91(9), 2069-2086.

Received 18 August 2021; Accepted 04 January 2022; Issue published 13 May 2022


Identifying the ecological environment suitable for the growth of Thuja sutchuenensis and predicting other potential distribution areas are essential to protect this endangered species. After selecting 24 environmental factors that could affect the distribution of T. sutchuenensis, including climate, topography, soil and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), we adopted the Random Forest-MaxEnt integrated model to analyze our data. Based on the Random Forest study, the contribution of the mean temperature of the warmest quarter, mean temperature of the coldest quarter, annual mean temperature and mean temperature of the driest quarter was large. Based on MaxEnt model prediction outputs, the potential distribution map not only identified areas that originally recorded T. sutchuenensis, such as Xuanhan County, Kai County and Chengkou County, but also identified highly suitable distribution areas where T. sutchuenensis may exist, including Wanyuan County, Sichuan Province, and the junction of Chongqing and Hubei Province. This provides a more explicit geographic range for ex situ conservation and reintroduction of T. sutchuenensis. Our results also indicate that, in addition to climate factors, topography and soil factors are also important environmental factors that affect distribution. This provides a theoretical basis for subsequent laboratory construction to simulate the indoor growth of T. sutchuenensis.


Thuja sutchuenensis; environmental drivers; spatial prediction; conservation; Random Forest-MaxEnt model

Cite This Article

Xie, L., Peng, P., Wang, H., Chen, S. (2022). Environmental Drivers and Spatial Prediction of the Critically Endangered Species Thuja sutchuenensis in Sichuan-Chongqing, China. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 91(9), 2069–2086.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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