Additional informationReprints and permissions information is available online at www.nature.com/reprints. Publisher's note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Competing financial interestsThe authors declare no competing financial interests. Europe PMC Funders GroupAuthor Manuscript Nat Clim Chang. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2017 December 01. Forest disturbances are sensitive to climate. However, our understanding of disturbance dynamics in response to climatic changes remains incomplete, particularly regarding large-scale patterns, interaction effects and dampening feedbacks. Here we provide a global synthesis of climate change effects on important abiotic (fire, drought, wind, snow and ice) and biotic (insects and pathogens) disturbance agents. Warmer and drier conditions particularly facilitate fire, drought and insect disturbances, while warmer and wetter conditions increase disturbances from wind and pathogens. Widespread interactions between agents are likely to amplify disturbances, while indirect climate effects such as vegetation changes can dampen long-term disturbance sensitivities to climate. Future changes in disturbance are likely to be most pronounced in coniferous forests and the boreal biome. We conclude that both ecosystems and society should be prepared for an increasingly disturbed future of forests.Natural disturbances, such as fires, insect outbreaks and windthrows, are an integral part of ecosystem dynamics in forests around the globe. They occur as relatively discrete events, and form characteristic regimes of typical disturbance frequencies, sizes and severities over extended spatial and temporal scales1,2. Disturbances disrupt the structure, composition and function of an ecosystem, community or population, and change resource availability or the physical environment3. In doing so, they create heterogeneity on the landscape4, foster diversity across a wide range of guilds and species5,6 and initiate ecosystem renewal or reorganization7,8.Disturbance regimes have changed profoundly in many forest ecosystems in recent years, with climate being a prominent driver of disturbance change9. An increase in disturbance occurrence and severity has been documented over large parts of the globe, for example, for fire10,11, insect outbreaks12,13 and drought14,15. Such alterations of disturbance regimes have the potential to strongly impact the ability of forests to provide ecosystem services to society6. Moreover, a climate-mediated increase in disturbances could exceed the ecological resilience of forests, resulting in lastingly altered ecosystems or shifts to non-forest ecosystems as tipping points are crossed16-18. Consequently, disturbance change is expected to be among the most profound impacts that climate change will have on forest ecosystems in the coming decades19.The ongoing changes in disturbance regimes in combination with their strong and lasting impacts on ecosystems have led to an in...
The accelerating rates of international trade, travel, and transport in the latter half of the twentieth century have led to the progressive mixing of biota from across the world and the number of species introduced to new regions continues to increase. The importance of biogeographic, climatic, economic, and demographic factors as drivers of this trend is increasingly being realized but as yet there is no consensus regarding their relative importance. Whereas little may be done to mitigate the effects of geography and climate on invasions, a wider range of options may exist to moderate the impacts of economic and demographic drivers. Here we use the most recent data available from Europe to partition between macroecological, economic, and demographic variables the variation in alien species richness of bryophytes, fungi, vascular plants, terrestrial insects, aquatic invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Only national wealth and human population density were statistically significant predictors in the majority of models when analyzed jointly with climate, geography, and land cover. The economic and demographic variables reflect the intensity of human activities and integrate the effect of factors that directly determine the outcome of invasion such as propagule pressure, pathways of introduction, eutrophication, and the intensity of anthropogenic disturbance. The strong influence of economic and demographic variables on the levels of invasion by alien species demonstrates that future solutions to the problem of biological invasions at a national scale lie in mitigating the negative environmental consequences of human activities that generate wealth and by promoting more sustainable population growth.climate | economy | exotic plants and animals | geography | prediction
The evolutionary and environmental factors that shape fungal biogeography are incompletely understood. Here, we assemble a large dataset consisting of previously generated mycobiome data linked to specific geographical locations across the world. We use this dataset to describe the distribution of fungal taxa and to look for correlations with different environmental factors such as climate, soil and vegetation variables. Our meta-study identifies climate as an important driver of different aspects of fungal biogeography, including the global distribution of common fungi as well as the composition and diversity of fungal communities. In our analysis, fungal diversity is concentrated at high latitudes, in contrast with the opposite pattern previously shown for plants and other organisms. Mycorrhizal fungi appear to have narrower climatic tolerances than pathogenic fungi. We speculate that climate change could affect ecosystem functioning because of the narrow climatic tolerances of key fungal taxa.
Aim Recent studies using vegetation plots have demonstrated that habitat type is a good predictor of the level of plant invasion, expressed as the proportion of alien to all species. At local scale, habitat types explain the level of invasion much better than alien propagule pressure. Moreover, it has been shown that patterns of habitat invasion are consistent among European regions with contrasting climates, biogeography, history and socioeconomic background. Here we use these findings as a basis for mapping the level of plant invasion in Europe. Location European Union and some adjacent countries. Methods We used 52,480 vegetation plots from Catalonia (NE Spain), Czech Republic and Great Britain to quantify the levels of invasion by neophytes (alien plant species introduced after ad 1500) in 33 habitat types. Then we estimated the proportion of each of these habitat types in CORINE land‐cover classes and calculated the level of invasion for each class. We projected the levels of invasion on the CORINE land‐cover map of Europe, extrapolating Catalonian data to the Mediterranean bioregion, Czech data to the Continental bioregion, British data to the British Isles and combined Czech–British data to the Atlantic and Boreal bioregions. Results The highest levels of invasion were predicted for agricultural, urban and industrial land‐cover classes, low levels for natural and semi‐natural grasslands and most woodlands, and the lowest levels for sclerophyllous vegetation, heathlands and peatlands. The resulting map of the level of invasion reflected the distribution of these land‐cover classes across Europe. Main conclusions High level of invasion is predicted in lowland areas of the temperate zone of western and central Europe and low level in the boreal zone and mountain regions across the continent. Low level of invasion is also predicted in the Mediterranean region except its coastline, river corridors and areas with irrigated agricultural land.
Aim To provide the first comparative overview on the current numbers of alien species that invade representative European terrestrial and freshwater habitats for a range of taxonomic groups. Location Europe.Methods Numbers of naturalized alien species of plants, insects, herptiles, birds and mammals occurring in 10 habitats defined according to the European Nature Information System (EUNIS) were obtained from 115 regional data sets. Only species introduced after ad 1500 were considered. Data were analysed by ANCOVA and regression trees to assess whether differences exist among taxonomic groups in terms of their habitat affinity, and whether the pattern of occurrence of alien species in European habitats interacts with macroecological factors such as insularity, latitude or area. ResultsThe highest numbers of alien plant and insect species were found in human-made, urban or cultivated habitats; if controlled for habitat area in the region, wetland and riparian habitats appeared to support relatively high numbers of alien plant species too. Invasions by vertebrates were more evenly distributed among habitats, with aquatic and riparian, woodland and cultivated land most invaded. Mires, bogs and fens, grassland, heathland and scrub were generally less invaded. Habitat and taxonomic group explained most variation in the proportions of alien species occurring in individual habitats related to the total number of alien species in a region, and the basic pattern determined by these factors was fine-tuned by geographical variables, namely by the mainland-island contrast and latitude, and differed among taxonomic groups.Main conclusions There are two ecologically distinct groups of alien species (plants and insects versus vertebrates) with strikingly different habitat affinities. Invasions by these two contrasting groups are complementary in terms of habitat use, which makes an overall assessment of habitat invasions in Europe possible. Since numbers of naturalized species in habitats are correlated among taxa within these two groups, the data collected for one group of vertebrates, for example, could be used to estimate the habitat-specific numbers of alien species for other vertebrate groups with reasonable precision, and the same holds true for insects and plants.
Abstract. In the framework of the SI2N
A rapid warming in Himalayas is predicted to increase plant upper distributional limits, vegetation cover and abundance of species adapted to warmer climate. We explored these predictions in NW Himalayas, by revisiting uppermost plant populations after ten years (2003–2013), detailed monitoring of vegetation changes in permanent plots (2009–2012), and age analysis of plants growing from 5500 to 6150 m. Plant traits and microclimate variables were recorded to explain observed vegetation changes. The elevation limits of several species shifted up to 6150 m, about 150 vertical meters above the limit of continuous plant distribution. The plant age analysis corroborated the hypothesis of warming-driven uphill migration. However, the impact of warming interacts with increasing precipitation and physical disturbance. The extreme summer snowfall event in 2010 is likely responsible for substantial decrease in plant cover in both alpine and subnival vegetation and compositional shift towards species preferring wetter habitats. Simultaneous increase in summer temperature and precipitation caused rapid snow melt and, coupled with frequent night frosts, generated multiple freeze-thaw cycles detrimental to subnival plants. Our results suggest that plant species responses to ongoing climate change will not be unidirectional upward range shifts but rather multi-dimensional, species-specific and spatially variable.
Current analyses and predictions of spatially explicit patterns and processes in ecology most often rely on climate data interpolated from standardized weather stations. This interpolated climate data represents long-term average thermal conditions at coarse spatial resolutions only. Hence, many climate-forcing factors that operate at fine spatiotemporal resolutions are overlooked. This is particularly important in relation to effects of observation height (e.g. vegetation, snow and soil characteristics) and in habitats varying in their exposure to radiation, moisture and wind (e.g. topography, radiative forcing or cold-air pooling). Since organisms living close to the ground relate more strongly to these microclimatic conditions than to free-air temperatures, microclimatic ground and near-surface data are needed to provide realistic forecasts of the fate of such organisms under anthropogenic climate change, as well as of the functioning of the ecosystems they live in. To fill this critical gap, we highlight a call for temperature time series submissions to SoilTemp, a geospatial database initiative compiling soil and near-surface temperature data from all over the world. Currently, this database contains time series from 7,538 temperature sensors from 51 countries
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