Journal of Biosciences

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 515–524 | Cite as

Environmental responses of plants and ecosystems as predictors of the impact of global change

  • F Stuart Chapin
  • Emmanuel Rincon
  • Pilar Huante


An understanding of plant responses to fluctuations in environment is critical to predictions of plant and ecosystem responses to climate change. In the northern hemisphere, the northern limits of distribution of major biomes are probably determined by the tolerance of their dominant physiognomic types (e.g., deciduous hardwood trees) to minimum winter temperatures and can thus be predicted from long-term patterns of temperature fluctuations. At a more detailed level, the responses of functional groups of plants to altered climate can be predicted from their known responses to fluctuations in soil resources (nutrients and water) and the expected effect of climatic change on these soil resources. Laboratory and field experiments demonstrate the feasibility of this approach.


Climate change growth rate plasticity 


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • F Stuart Chapin
    • 1
  • Emmanuel Rincon
    • 2
  • Pilar Huante
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Centro de EcologiaUniversidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Apdo.Mexico 04510 D F

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