August 14, 2008

Climate Change May Alter Plant Ranges

A new study suggests one in five of Germany's plant species could lose parts of its current range due to global warming.

Researchers from Germany's Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, along with the French Laboratory for Alpine Ecology, said such species distribution will be the result of climate change and might have a dramatic impact, particularly on the vegetation in southwestern and eastern Germany.

The researchers modeled and recorded how the ranges of 845 European plant species will shift under three different scenarios. They discovered even moderate climate change and limited land use modifications could have an adverse impact on flora.

The scientists say their findings show how important it is to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level in order to preserve broad biodiversity in plant species.

The research is reported in the journal Biology Letters.