Lost at high latitudes : Arctic and endemic plants under threat as climate warms

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Niskanen , A K J , Niittynen , P , Aalto , J , Väre , H & Luoto , M 2019 , ' Lost at high latitudes : Arctic and endemic plants under threat as climate warms ' , Diversity and Distributions , vol. 25 , no. 5 , pp. 809-821 . https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12889

Title: Lost at high latitudes : Arctic and endemic plants under threat as climate warms
Author: Niskanen, Annina Kaisa Johanna; Niittynen, Pekka; Aalto, Juha; Väre, Henry; Luoto, Miska
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Geosciences and Geography
University of Helsinki, Department of Geosciences and Geography
University of Helsinki, BioGeoClimate Modelling Lab
University of Helsinki, Botany
University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
Date: 2019-05
Language: eng
Number of pages: 13
Belongs to series: Diversity and Distributions
ISSN: 1472-4642
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/301796
Abstract: Aim: Species' biogeographical patterns are already being altered by climate change. Here, we provide predictions of the impacts of a changing climate on species' geographical ranges within high-latitude mountain flora on a sub-continental scale. We then examined the forecasted changes in relation to species' biogeographic histories. Location: Fennoscandia, Northern Europe (55-72 degrees N). Methods: We examined the sensitivity of 164 high-latitude mountain species to changing climate by modelling their distributions in regard to climate, local topography and geology at a 1 km(2) resolution. Using an ensemble of six statistical modelling techniques and data on current (1981-2010) and future (2070-2099) climate based on three Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs 2.6, 4.5, 8.5), we developed projections of current and future ranges. Results: The average species richness of the mountain flora is predicted to decrease by 15%-47% per 1 km(2) cell, depending on the climate scenario considered. Arctic flora is projected to undergo severe range loss along with non-poleward range contractions, while alpine flora is forecasted to find suitable habitat in a warmer North. A substantial majority (71%-92%) of the studied species are projected to lose more than half of their present range by the year 2100. Species predicted to lose all suitable habitat had ranges centred in the northernmost (>68 degrees N) part of continental Europe. Main conclusions: Climate change is predicted to substantially diminish the extent and richness of Europe's high-latitude mountain flora. Interestingly, species' biogeographic histories affect their vulnerability to climate change. The vulnerability of true Arctic and endemic species marks them as highly important for conservation decisions.
Subject: ALPINE VEGETATION
Alpine
Arctic
CHANGE IMPACTS
DISTRIBUTIONS
DIVERSITY
EXTINCTION RISK
GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY
HETEROGENEITY
MOUNTAIN PLANTS
RANGE SHIFTS
SPECIES DISTRIBUTION MODELS
biogeographic history
climate change
range contraction
species distribution models
1172 Environmental sciences
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