May 28, 2005

Climate change threats to plant diversity in Europe

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Wilfried ThuillerI Colin Prentice

Abstract

Climate change has already triggered species distribution shifts in many parts of the world. Increasing impacts are expected for the future, yet few studies have aimed for a general understanding of the regional basis for species vulnerability. We projected late 21st century distributions for 1,350 European plants species under seven climate change scenarios. Application of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List criteria to our projections shows that many European plant species could become severely threatened. More than half of the species we studied could be vulnerable or threatened by 2080. Expected species loss and turnover per pixel proved to be highly variable across scenarios (27-42% and 45-63% respectively, averaged over Europe) and across regions (2.5-86% and 17-86%, averaged over scenarios). Modeled species loss and turnover were found to depend strongly on the degree of change in just two climate variables describing temperature and moisture conditions. Despite the coarse scale of the analysis, species from mountains could be seen to be disproportionably sensitive to climate change (approximately 60% species loss). The boreal region was projected to lose few species, althoug...Continue Reading

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References

Mentioned in this Paper

Projections and Predictions
Rain
Greenhouse Effect
Biodiversity
Biochemical Turnover
Neomalthusianism

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