, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 65-74

First online:

Climate change and vegetation response

  • J. C. RitchieAffiliated withUniversity of Toronto

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This study, as many other current investigations in palaeoecology is focused on the long-term dynamics of vegetation and the extent to which they are controlled by climate change. Climate and classes of climate change are defined and reviewed, and examples cited of vegetation response. The concepts of vegetation, plant community and equilibrium are examined, with particular emphasis on theories on short term dynamics developed by ecologists working with temperate and boreal forests. Vegetation response to climate change can be modified by anthropogenic factors, topographic diversity and soils, life-cycle characteristics and hysteresis.


Climatic change Equilibrium Fluctuation Long-term change Palynology Short-term change Vegetation response