Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate Change Threatens One In Five Plant Species In Germany

Date:
August 18, 2008
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
One in five of Germany's plant species could lose parts of its current range, a new study reveals. Species distributions will be rearranged as a result of climate change; this could have a dramatic impact particularly on the vegetation in southwestern and eastern Germany.

A loser of climate change: Common spruce (Picea abies) is adapted to cool and humid conditions which are projected to prevail in smaller areas of Germany in the future. Water stress can increase the susceptibility of the tree species to pests and storms.
Credit: Tilo Arnold/UFZ

One in five of Germany’s plant species could lose parts of its current range, a study by scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the French Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine reveals.

Species distributions will be rearranged as a result of climate change; this could have a dramatic impact particularly on the vegetation in south-western and eastern Germany. The researchers have modelled and recorded how the ranges of a total of 845 European plant species will shift under three different future scenarios.

Even moderate climate change and limited land use changes could have an adverse impact on flora, the researchers write in the current edition of Biology Letters. The research shows 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.

Sven Pompe and his colleagues from UFZ evaluated the potential impact of climate change on the distribution of 845 European plant species, 550 of which are currently found in Germany. The research team, which included Franz Badeck from PIK, used climate and land use scenarios up to 2080 based on possible temperature increases of 2.2, 2.9 or 3.8 degrees Celsius.

The impacts of climate change will result in local losses of flora. The reduction in the ranges of plants is a general trend, although some central and southern European species move in which were not previously recorded in Germany. The impacts will vary locally, with the greatest reduction in species richness likely to take place in north-eastern and south-western Germany. The effects in the simulations become greater as the temperature increases. With moderate warming of about 2.2 degrees Celsius, about seven percent of species will lose more than two-thirds of their current ranges. This increases to eleven percent at a warming of 2.9 degrees Celsius and twenty percent at 3.8 degrees Celsius. The fact that the extent of change increases disproportionately to the projected increase in temperature argues in favour of the European Union's stabilisation target of two degrees Celsius in order to protect biodiversity.

Saarland, Rhineland Palatinate and Hesse and the lowland plains of Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony could suffer particularly high species losses. In contrast, the researchers expect the number of species in the low mountain ranges of Baden-Wόrttemberg, Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxony to increase slightly, with some plants moving in. However, for this to happen these species would actually have to reach these areas: climate change could take place too quickly for most plant species to adapt or migrate in line with the shifts in ranges - polewards or to higher altitudes.

"Many plant species could lose their niches in habitats such as mountains or moors,“ Sven Pompe from UFZ explains. Migrating species from southern Europe could not compensate for these losses in the models. The marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), for example, is one of the losers to climate change. The changes in the environmental conditions in the scenarios will result in this species disappearing locally from the low-lying areas of Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony. In contrast, the common walnut (Juglans regia), originally introduced north of the Alps by the Romans, would find more areas with suitable conditions and could extend into eastern Germany.

This research was funded by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) with funds from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and as part of the European Union’s ALARM, MACIS and ECOCHANGE research projects. Impacts of climate change on biodiversity are being researched by UFZ and PIK in the joint projects "Protected Areas in Germany under Global Change - Risks and Policy Options” and ALARM.

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pompe et al. Climate and land use change impacts on plant distributions in Germany. Biology Letters, 2008; 1 (-1): -1 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2008.0231

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Climate Change Threatens One In Five Plant Species In Germany." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813102725.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2008, August 18). Climate Change Threatens One In Five Plant Species In Germany. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813102725.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Climate Change Threatens One In Five Plant Species In Germany." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813102725.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) — Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins