Plant vulnerability to climate change
Berry, Pam M. Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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- Direct impacts of climate change
- Dispersal ability
- Timing and interactions
- Indirect impacts of climate change
- Other impacts on vulnerability
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The extent to which a plant, or plant ecosystem, is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, the adverse effects of climate change. Plants are constantly changing their ecophysiology and distributions over different timescales as they respond to changes and fluctuations in their environment. There is increasing evidence that current climate change is already affecting some species through the earlier timing of spring events and the poleward and upward shift of plant ranges (Fig. 1). With global temperatures likely to increase (depending on greenhouse gas emissions) by 1.1–6.4°C (2–11.5°F) by the year 2100 (relative to the year 2000), and with precipitation very likely to increase in high latitudes, but likely to decrease in most subtropical regions, it is important to assess the implications of such changes and to identify which plants and ecosystems might be particularly vulnerable. In many cases, plants will suffer detrimental effects as a result of climate change on both regional and global levels. See also: Ecology; Ecosystem; Environment; Global climate change; Plant; Plant geography
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