Why would plant species become extinct locally if growing conditions improve?

wo assumptions underlie current models of the geographical ranges of perennial plant species: 1. current ranges are in equilibrium with the prevailing climate, and 2. changes are attributable to changes in macroclimatic 
wo assumptions underlie current models of the geographical ranges of perennial plant species: 1. current ranges are in equilibrium with the prevailing climate, and 2. changes are attributable to changes in macroclimatic factors, including tolerance of winter cold, the duration of the growing season, and water stress during the growing season, rather than to biotic interactions. These assumptions allow model parameters to be estimated from current species ranges. Deterioration of growing conditions due to climate change, e.g. more severe drought, will cause local extinction. However, for many plant species, the predicted climate change of higher minimum temperatures and longer growing seasons means, improved growing conditions. Biogeographical models may under some circumstances predict that a species will become locally extinct, despite improved growing conditions, because they are based on an assumption of equilibrium and this forces the species range to match the species-specific macroclimatic thresholds. We argue that such model predictions should be rejected unless there is evidence either that competition influences the position of the range margins or that a certain physiological mechanism associated with the apparent improvement in growing conditions negatively affects the species performance. We illustrate how a process-based vegetation model can be used to ascertain whether such a physiological cause exists. To avoid potential modelling errors of this type, we propose a method that constrains the scenario predictions of the envelope models by changing the geographical distribution of the dominant plant functional type. Consistent modelling results are very important for evaluating how changes in species areas affect local functional trait diversity and hence ecosystem functioning and resilience, and for inferring the implications for conservation management in the face of climate change.
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Metadaten
Author:Koen Kramer, Rienk-Jan Bijlsma, Thomas Hickler, Wilfried Thuiller
URN:urn:nbn:de:hebis:30:3-249464
URL:http://www.biolsci.org/v08p1121.htm
DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/ijbs.4866
ISSN:1449-2288
Parent Title (English):International journal of biological sciences
Publisher:Ivyspring International Publ.
Place of publication:Lake Haven, N.S.W. [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Date of Publication (online):2012/09/07
Date of first Publication:2012/09/07
Publishing Institution:Univ.-Bibliothek Frankfurt am Main
Release Date:2012/10/29
Tag:biogeographical models; climate; plant species
Volume:8
Pagenumber:9
First Page:1121
Last Page:1129
Note:
© Ivyspring International Publisher. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/). Reproduction is permitted for personal, noncommercial use, provided that the article is in whole, unmodified, and properly cited.
Institutes:Geowissenschaften
Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F)
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Pflanzen (Botanik)
Sammlungen:Universitätspublikationen
Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell-Keine Bearbeitung 3.0

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