• climate change scenarios;
  • consensus analysis;
  • niche-based models;
  • plant diversity;
  • species turnover;
  • uncertainty


Although bioclimatic modelling is often used to estimate potential impacts of likely climate changes, little has been done to assess the reliability and variability of projections. Here, using four niche-based models, two methods to derive probability values from models into presence–absence data and five climate change scenarios, I project the future potential habitats of 1350 European plant species for 2050. All 40 different projections of species turnover across Europe suggested high potential species turnover (up to 70%) in response to climate change. However variability in the potential distributional changes of species across climate scenarios was obscured by a strong variability in projections arising from alternative, yet equally justifiable, niche-based models. Therefore, projections of future species distributions and derived community descriptors cannot be reliably discussed unless model uncertainty is quantified explicitly. I propose and test an alternative way to account for modelling variability when deriving estimates of species turnover (with and without dispersal) according to a range of climate change scenarios representing various socio-economic futures.