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Proc Biol Sci. 2010 Aug 7;277(1692):2271-80. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0120. Epub 2010 Mar 24.

Projected impacts of climate change on regional capacities for global plant species richness.

Author information

  • 1Nees Institute for Biodiversity of Plants, University of Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 170, 53115 Bonn, Germany. hsommer@uni-bonn.de

Abstract

Climate change represents a major challenge to the maintenance of global biodiversity. To date, the direction and magnitude of net changes in the global distribution of plant diversity remain elusive. We use the empirical multi-variate relationships between contemporary water-energy dynamics and other non-climatic predictor variables to model the regional capacity for plant species richness (CSR) and its projected future changes. We find that across all analysed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emission scenarios, relative changes in CSR increase with increased projected temperature rise. Between now and 2100, global average CSR is projected to remain similar to today (+0.3%) under the optimistic B1/+1.8 degrees C scenario, but to decrease significantly (-9.4%) under the 'business as usual' A1FI/+4.0 degrees C scenario. Across all modelled scenarios, the magnitude and direction of CSR change are geographically highly non-uniform. While in most temperate and arctic regions, a CSR increase is expected, the projections indicate a strong decline in most tropical and subtropical regions. Countries least responsible for past and present greenhouse gas emissions are likely to incur disproportionately large future losses in CSR, whereas industrialized countries have projected moderate increases. Independent of direction, we infer that all changes in regional CSR will probably induce on-site species turnover and thereby be a threat to native floras.

PMID:
20335215
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2894901
Free PMC Article

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