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Predicting global change impacts on plant species' distributions: Future challenges

  • W. Thuiller
  • C. Albert
  • M.B. Araújo
  • P.M. Berry
  • A. Guisan
  • Thomas Hickler
  • G.F. Midgley
  • J. Paterson
  • F.M Schurr
  • Martin Sykes
  • N:E Zimmermann
Publiceringsår: 2008
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 137-152
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics
Volym: 9
Nummer: 3-4
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Elsevier


Abstract in Undetermined

Given the rate of projected environmental change for the 21st century, urgent adaptation and mitigation measures are required to slow down the on-going erosion of biodiversity. Even though increasing evidence shows that recent human-induced environmental changes have already triggered species' range shifts, changes in phenology and species' extinctions, accurate projections of species' responses to future environmental changes are more difficult to ascertain. This is problematic, since there is a growing awareness of the need to adopt proactive conservation planning measures using forecasts of species' responses to future environmental changes.

There is a substantial body of literature describing and assessing the impacts of various scenarios of climate and land-use change on species' distributions. Model predictions include a wide range of assumptions and limitations that are widely acknowledged but compromise their use for developing reliable adaptation and mitigation strategies for biodiversity. Indeed, amongst the most used models, few, if any, explicitly deal with migration processes, the dynamics of population at the "trailing edge" of shifting populations, species' interactions and the interaction between the effects of climate and land-use.

In this review, we propose two main avenues to progress the understanding and prediction of the different processes A occurring on the leading and trailing edge of the species' distribution in response to any global change phenomena. Deliberately focusing on plant species, we first explore the different ways to incorporate species' migration in the existing modelling approaches, given data and knowledge limitations and the dual effects of climate and land-use factors. Secondly, we explore the mechanisms and processes happening at the trailing edge of a shifting species' distribution and how to implement them into a modelling approach. We finally conclude this review with clear guidelines on how such modelling improvements will benefit conservation strategies in a changing world.


  • Physical Geography


  • ISSN: 1618-0437

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