The impact of climate change on species ranges and composition of plant communities

in temperate, boreal and alpine regions. 

Vsmart Extensions



Both temperature and precipitation are important factors for the distribution of species and biological communities, and bioclimatic modeling has predicted considerable range shifts in response to future climate change (Engler et al. 2011). These models generally imply that rapid climatic changes will greatly increase extinction rates for species compared to rates that occurred in pre-historic times (Sala et al. 2000), and that species in the mountain areas are especially vulnerable (Engler et al. 2011)

The ranges of many species are shifting to higher latitudes and altitudes in response to the climatic warming of recent decades. However, species ranges track climate in an individualistic manner and many still defy detailed prediction. If climatic variables change as predicted by IPCC (IPCC 2007), the climate space of parts of Norway may resemble parts of Poland today. Thus, better understanding is imperative if biodiversity is to be conserved effectively and the right choices made in the face of future climate change. We need to investigate how species and communities are reacting to current rapid climatic changes in the fragmented natural habitats and landscapes they live in.



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