• search hit 3 of 4
Back to Result List

Microclimate moderates plant responses to macroclimate warming

  • Recent global warming is acting across marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems to favor species adapted to warmer conditions and/or reduce the abundance of cold-adapted organisms (i.e., "thermophilization" of communities). Lack of community responses to increased temperature, however, has also been reported for several taxa and regions, suggesting that "climatic lags" may be frequent. Here we show that microclimatic effects brought about by forest canopy closure can buffer biotic responses to macroclimate warming, thus explaining an apparent climatic lag. Using data from 1,409 vegetation plots in European and North American temperate forests, each surveyed at least twice over an interval of 12-67 y, we document significant thermophilization of ground-layer plant communities. These changes reflect concurrent declines in species adapted to cooler conditions and increases in species adapted to warmer conditions. However, thermophilization, particularly the increase of warm-adapted species, is attenuated in forests whose canopiesRecent global warming is acting across marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems to favor species adapted to warmer conditions and/or reduce the abundance of cold-adapted organisms (i.e., "thermophilization" of communities). Lack of community responses to increased temperature, however, has also been reported for several taxa and regions, suggesting that "climatic lags" may be frequent. Here we show that microclimatic effects brought about by forest canopy closure can buffer biotic responses to macroclimate warming, thus explaining an apparent climatic lag. Using data from 1,409 vegetation plots in European and North American temperate forests, each surveyed at least twice over an interval of 12-67 y, we document significant thermophilization of ground-layer plant communities. These changes reflect concurrent declines in species adapted to cooler conditions and increases in species adapted to warmer conditions. However, thermophilization, particularly the increase of warm-adapted species, is attenuated in forests whose canopies have become denser, probably reflecting cooler growing-season ground temperatures via increased shading. As standing stocks of trees have increased in many temperate forests in recent decades, local microclimatic effects may commonly be moderating the impacts of macroclimate warming on forest understories. Conversely, increases in harvesting woody biomass-e.g., for bioenergy-may open forest canopies and accelerate thermophilization of temperate forest biodiversity.show moreshow less

Export metadata

Additional Services

Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar Statistics
Metadaten
Author:Pieter De Frenne, Francisco Rodriguez-Sanchez, David Anthony Coomes, Lander Bäten, Gorik Versträten, Mark Vellend, Markus Bernhardt-Römermann, Carissa D. Brown, Jörg Brunet, Johnny Cornelis, Guillaume M. Decocq, Hartmut Dierschke, Ove Eriksson, Frank S. Gilliam, Radim Hedl, Thilo Heinken, Martin Hermy, Patrick Hommel, Michael A. Jenkins, Daniel L. Kelly, Keith J. Kirby, Fraser J. G. Mitchell, Tobias Naaf, Miles Newman, George Peterken, Petr Petrik, Jan Schultz, Gregory Sonnier, Hans Van Calster, Donald M. Waller, Gian-Reto Walther, Peter S. White, Kerry D. Woods, Monika Wulf, Bente Jessen Graae, Kris Verheyen
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1311190110
ISSN:0027-8424 (print)
Parent Title (English):Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publisher:National Acad. of Sciences
Place of publication:Washington
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2013
Year of Completion:2013
Release Date:2017/03/26
Tag:climate change; climatic debt; forest management; range shifts; understory
Volume:110
Issue:46
Pagenumber:5
First Page:18561
Last Page:18565
Funder:Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO); FWO; European Union [275094]; Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; [RVO 67985939]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert