Global Change Biology

Cover image for Vol. 21 Issue 9

Edited by: Steve Long

Impact Factor: 8.044

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 1/43 (Biodiversity Conservation); 3/221 (Environmental Sciences); 5/144 (Ecology)

Online ISSN: 1365-2486

Associated Title(s): GCB Bioenergy

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Global Change Biology exists to promote understanding of the interface between all aspects of current environmental change that affects a substantial part of the globe and biological systems.

The journal publishes primary research articles, technical advances, research reviews, commentaries and letters.

Global Change Biology defines global change as any consistent trend in the environment - past, present or projected - that affects a substantial part of the globe. Examples include:

Global Change BiologySpecies with wide geographic ranges are more likely to survive

To predict how marine biodiversity will respond to future climate change, researchers must understand how environmental conditions of the past influenced the link between ecology and extinction risk. The authors conducted the first quantitative summary of published studies on extinction risk in fossil marine bivalves and gastropods that span almost 500 million years. Species that burrow into the seafloor are relatively buffered from extinction during warmer climate states. Species with broad geographic distributions are three times more likely to survive an extinction than narrow-ranging species, regardless of the environmental conditions. This emphasizes the critical role of geographic range size in setting conservation priorities.

Global Change BiologyQuantifying GHG emissions from cryptogamic covers

Technical Advance: Cryptogamic covers including lichens, cyanobacteria and mosses are among the oldest forms of terrestrial life on Earth and cover a large area of terrestrial soil and plant surfaces. They have recently been found to fix large amounts of nitrogen and carbon from the atmosphere (Elbert et al. 2012, Nature Geosciences). Since these communities have never been previously considered as emitters of nitrous oxide or methane, the authors undertook a study to measure emissions of these greenhouse gases from 68 different cryptogamic covers.

Global Change BiologyCharcoal and its role in the global C cycle

Research Review: Pyrogenic carbon (PyC; charcoal) is produced in every burnt landscape. Its pyrogenic nature increases its resistance to degradation, with over half of the PyC produced by vegetation fires potentially sequestering carbon over centuries. Here the authors evaluate current knowledge, identify critical gaps and propose new research directions to achieve a full understanding of the role of PyC in the global carbon cycle. They suggest that the PyC produced annually could account for up to a quarter of the missing terrestrial carbon sink. Global climate change is expected to increase PyC production due to the rise in extent and intensity of wildfires in some regions.

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