21st century climate change threatens mountain flora unequally across Europe

Authors

  • ROBIN ENGLER,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Biophore, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • CHRISTOPHE F. RANDIN,

    1. Botanisches Institut der Universität Basel, Schönbeinstrasse 6, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland
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  • WILFRIED THUILLER,

    1. Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, UMR CNRS-UJF 5553, Université J. Fourier – Grenoble I, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble, France
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  • STEFAN DULLINGER,

    1. Vienna Institute for Nature Conservation and Analyses, Giessergasse 6/7, 1090 Vienna, Austria
    2. Department of Conservation Biology, Vegetation and Landscape Ecology, University of Vienna, Rennweg 14, 1030 Vienna, Austria
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  • NIKLAUS E. ZIMMERMANN,

    1. Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zuercherstr. 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
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  • MIGUEL B. ARAÚJO,

    1. National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC, C/José Gutierrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
    2. ‘Rui Nabeiro’ Biodiversity Chair, CIBIO, University of Évora, Largo dos Colegiais, 7000 Évora, Portugal
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  • PETER B. PEARMAN,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Biophore, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
    2. Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zuercherstr. 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
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  • GWENAËLLE LE LAY,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Biophore, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • CHRISTIAN PIEDALLU,

    1. AgroParisTech, UMR1092, Laboratoire d' Étude des Ressources Forêt-Bois (LERFoB), ENGREF, 14 rue Girardet, FR-54000 Nancy, France
    2. INRA, UMR1092, Laboratoire d' Étude des Ressources Forêt-Bois (LERFoB), Centre INRA de Nancy, F-54280 Champenoux, France
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  • CÉCILE H. ALBERT,

    1. Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, UMR CNRS-UJF 5553, Université J. Fourier – Grenoble I, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble, France
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  • PHILIPPE CHOLER,

    1. Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, UMR CNRS-UJF 5553, Université J. Fourier – Grenoble I, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble, France
    2. Station Alpine J. Fourier, UMS CNRS-UJF 2925, Université J. Fourier – Grenoble I, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble, France
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  • GHEORGHE COLDEA,

    1. Department of Plant Ecology, Institute of Biological Research, Republicii Street, No. 48, 400015 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
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  • XAVIER De LAMO,

    1. Laboratory of Functional Ecology and Global Change. Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia. 25280 Solsona, Spain
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  • THOMAS DIRNBÖCK,

    1. Environment Agency Austria, Dep. Ecosystem Research & Monitoring, Spittelauer Lände 5, 1090 Vienna, Austria
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  • JEAN-CLAUDE GÉGOUT,

    1. AgroParisTech, UMR1092, Laboratoire d' Étude des Ressources Forêt-Bois (LERFoB), ENGREF, 14 rue Girardet, FR-54000 Nancy, France
    2. INRA, UMR1092, Laboratoire d' Étude des Ressources Forêt-Bois (LERFoB), Centre INRA de Nancy, F-54280 Champenoux, France
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  • DANIEL GÓMEZ-GARCÍA,

    1. Instituto Pirenaico de Ecologia CSIC, Postbox 64, 22700 Jaca, Spain
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  • JOHN-ARVID GRYTNES,

    1. Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Postbox 7803, N-5020 Bergen, Norway
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  • EINAR HEEGAARD,

    1. Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, Fanaflaten 4, N-5244 Fana, Norway
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  • FRIDE HØISTAD,

    1. Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Postbox 7803, N-5020 Bergen, Norway
    2. Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, Fanaflaten 4, N-5244 Fana, Norway
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  • DAVID NOGUÉS-BRAVO,

    1. National Museum of Natural Sciences, CSIC, C/José Gutierrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
    2. Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • SIGNE NORMAND,

    1. Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zuercherstr. 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
    2. Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity, Department of Biological Sciences, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
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  • MIHAI PUŞCAŞ,

    1. A. Borza Botanical Garden, Babeş-Bolyai University, 42 Republicii street, 400015 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
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  • MARIA-TERESA SEBASTIÀ,

    1. Laboratory of Functional Ecology and Global Change. Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia. 25280 Solsona, Spain
    2. ETSEA, University of Lleida, 25198 Lleida, Spain
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  • ANGELA STANISCI,

    1. Envirometrics Lab, University of Molise, I-86090 Pesche (Isernia), Italy
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  • JEAN-PAUL THEURILLAT,

    1. Centre alpien de Phytogéographie, Fondation J.-M. Aubert, CH-1938 Champex-Lac, Switzerland
    2. Laboratoire de Biogéographie, Section de Biologie, Université de Genève, Case postale 60, CH-1292 Chambésy, Switzerland
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  • MANDAR R. TRIVEDI,

    1. Global Canopy Programme, John Krebs Field Station, Wytham, Oxford OX2 8QJ, UK
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  • PASCAL VITTOZ,

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Biophore, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
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  • ANTOINE GUISAN

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Biophore, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
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Robin Engler, e-mail: Robin.Engler@gmail.com

Abstract

Continental-scale assessments of 21st century global impacts of climate change on biodiversity have forecasted range contractions for many species. These coarse resolution studies are, however, of limited relevance for projecting risks to biodiversity in mountain systems, where pronounced microclimatic variation could allow species to persist locally, and are ill-suited for assessment of species-specific threat in particular regions. Here, we assess the impacts of climate change on 2632 plant species across all major European mountain ranges, using high-resolution (ca. 100 m) species samples and data expressing four future climate scenarios. Projected habitat loss is greater for species distributed at higher elevations; depending on the climate scenario, we find 36–55% of alpine species, 31–51% of subalpine species and 19–46% of montane species lose more than 80% of their suitable habitat by 2070–2100. While our high-resolution analyses consistently indicate marked levels of threat to cold-adapted mountain florae across Europe, they also reveal unequal distribution of this threat across the various mountain ranges. Impacts on florae from regions projected to undergo increased warming accompanied by decreased precipitation, such as the Pyrenees and the Eastern Austrian Alps, will likely be greater than on florae in regions where the increase in temperature is less pronounced and rainfall increases concomitantly, such as in the Norwegian Scandes and the Scottish Highlands. This suggests that change in precipitation, not only warming, plays an important role in determining the potential impacts of climate change on vegetation.

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