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Predicting changes in Fennoscandian vascular-plant species richness as a result of future climatic change

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It is anticipated that future climatic warming following the currently enhanced greenhouse effect will change the distribution limits of many vascular plant species. Using annual accumulated respiration equivalents, calculated from January and July mean temperatures and total annual precipitation, simple presence–absence response surface plots are constructed for 1521 native vascular-plant species in 229 75×75-km grid squares within Fennoscandia. The contemporary occurrences in relation to present-day climate and to predicted changes in climate (and hence annual accumulated respiration equivalents) are used to predict possible future immigrations and extinctions within each grid square. The percentage of potential change in species richness for each grid square is estimated from these predictions. Results from this study suggest a mean increase in species richness per grid square of 26%. Increases in species richness are greatest in the southern parts of the alpine/boreal regions in Fennoscandia. There are ten species that potentially may become extinct in Fennoscandia as a result of predicted climatic warming. Possible conservation strategies to protect such endangered species are outlined.

Keywords: Climate change; Fennoscandia; greenhouse effect; species richness; vascular plants

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: , Environmental Change Research Centre, University College London, London WC1H 0AP, U.K.

Publication date: 1998-01-01

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