Global Change and Mountain Regions pp 467-476
Monitoring Networks for Testing Model-Based Scenarios of Climate Change Impact on Mountain Plant Distribution
In recent years, predictive modelling of plant species’ distribution has been shown to be a powerful method for obtaining preliminary assessments of potential ecological impact of rapid climatic change (e.g. Brzeziecki et al. 1995; Kienast et al. 1996; Saetersdal and Birks 1997; Iverson and Prasad 1998; Lischke et al. 1998; Gottfried et al. 1999; Guisan and Theurillat 2000; 2001; Bakkenes et al. 2002). Such models give static results: they reveal where suitable species’ habitats might be located in a climatically changed future, but they do not explicitly consider all the processes leading to the predicted changes. A basic assumption behind their application is thus to consider present and future distributions of species to be in equilibrium, or at least in pseudo-equilibrium, with their environment (Guisan and Theurillat 2000). Although this assumption obviously does not hold in all ecological situations, scenarios obtained from these models nevertheless constitute an interesting spatially-explicit and quantitative basis for discussing how climate change might impact plant distribution. Examples of such discussions are provided in the next section.
KeywordsClimate change Distributional changes Monitoring network Mountain flora Permanent plots Phenological change Predictive modelling Swiss Alps
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