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Science. 2018 Aug 31;361(6405):920-923. doi: 10.1126/science.aan5360.

Past and future global transformation of terrestrial ecosystems under climate change.

Author information

1
Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.
2
School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
3
Department of Biosciences, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK.
4
Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
5
National Research Program, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA 20192, USA.
6
Geography and Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK.
7
Department of Geography, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.
8
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL 32901, USA.
9
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 5554, Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier, Université Montpellier, Bat. 22, CC061, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier, France.
10
Aix Marseille Université, Avignon Université, CNRS, IRD, Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d'Ecologie, 13545 Aix-en Provence, France.
11
Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre (PANGEA), University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
12
State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an 71002, Shaanxi, China.
13
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA.
14
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, 1090 GE Amsterdam, Netherlands.
15
School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK.
16
Department of Archaeology and Natural History, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
17
Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
18
Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16802, USA.
19
School of Earth, Atmosphere, and Environment, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3800, Australia.
20
Departamento de Ecología, Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB), Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
21
Sorbonne Université, CNRS-IRD-MNHN, LOCEAN/IPSL Laboratory, 4 Place Jussieu, 75005 Paris, France.
22
Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.
23
School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA.
24
North-East Interdisciplinary Scientific Research Institute, Far East Branch Russian Academy of Sciences, Magadan 685000, Russia.
25
Landcare Research, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand.
26
Department of Environment, York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems, University of York, York YO10 5NG, UK.
27
Graduate School of Horticulture, Chiba University, Matsudo-shi, Chiba 271-8510, Japan.
28
Departamento de Ciencias Ecológicas, IEB and (CR)2, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
29
Institute of Geological Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, D-12249 Berlin, Germany.
30
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory, Boulder, CO 80307, USA.
31
Yunnan Normal University, Key Laboratory of Plateau Lake Ecology and Global Change, Kunming, Yunnan 650092, China.
32
School of Culture, History, and Language, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
33
Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyoto, 606-8522, Japan.
34
Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA.
35
Centre Européen de Recherche et d'Enseignement des Géosciences de l'Environnement (CEREGE), 13545 Aix-en-Provence, France.
36
School of Ocean and Earth Science, Tongji University, Shanghai, China.
37
Institute of Nihewan Archaeology and College of Resource and Environmental Sciences, Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang 050024, China.
38
School of Earth Science and Engineering, Guangdong Provincial Key Lab of Geodynamics and Geohazards, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China.
39
Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA. stjackson@usgs.gov.

Abstract

Impacts of global climate change on terrestrial ecosystems are imperfectly constrained by ecosystem models and direct observations. Pervasive ecosystem transformations occurred in response to warming and associated climatic changes during the last glacial-to-interglacial transition, which was comparable in magnitude to warming projected for the next century under high-emission scenarios. We reviewed 594 published paleoecological records to examine compositional and structural changes in terrestrial vegetation since the last glacial period and to project the magnitudes of ecosystem transformations under alternative future emission scenarios. Our results indicate that terrestrial ecosystems are highly sensitive to temperature change and suggest that, without major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, terrestrial ecosystems worldwide are at risk of major transformation, with accompanying disruption of ecosystem services and impacts on biodiversity.

PMID:
30166491
DOI:
10.1126/science.aan5360

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