Modeling the Response of Vegetation Distribution and Biodiversity to Climate Change

  • Martin T. Sykes
  • Alex Haxeltine
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 152)


The natural ecosystems of the world may be divided into a small set of biomes, each characterized by the dominance of one or more functional types of plants. At regional-to-global scales climate exerts a dominant influence over the distribution of these plant functional types (Woodward 1987). Smaller-scale variations in distribution may be controlled by smaller-scale features of the environment (e.g., soils and topography). Specific climatic controls on the distribution of these dominant plant functional types may be categorized as ecophysiological constraints, resource availability, and competition mediated by the effects of climate. Ecophysiological constraints on individual plant functional types account for the gross qualitative features of biome distribution, and such constraints have been incorporated into a number of rule-based vegetation models (Woodward 1987); (Neilson et al. 1992); (Prentice et al. 1992).


Species Richness Vegetation Distribution Plant Functional Type Vegetation Model Global Biogeochemical Cycle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

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  • Martin T. Sykes
  • Alex Haxeltine

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