Changement climatique - Recherche française (avec laboratoires CNRS) - 2010-2015


Extinction debt of high-mountain plants under twenty-first-century climate change

Publication Year


  • Dullinger, Stefan
  • Gattringer, Andreas
  • Thuiller, Wilfried
  • Moser, Dietmar
  • Zimmermann, Niklaus E.
  • Guisan, Antoine
  • Willner, Wolfgang
  • Plutzar, Christoph
  • Leitner, Michael
  • Mang, Thomas
  • Caccianiga, Marco
  • Dirnboeck, Thomas
  • Ertl, Siegrun
  • Fischer, Anton
  • Lenoir, Jonathan
  • Svenning, Jens-Christian
  • Psomas, Achilleas
  • Schmatz, Dirk R.
  • Silc, Urban
  • Vittoz, Pascal
  • Huelber, Karl
NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE Volume: 2 Issue: 8 Pages: 619-622 Published: 2012

Quantitative estimates of the range loss of mountain plants under climate change have so far mostly relied on static geographical projections of species' habitat shifts(1-3). Here, we use a hybrid model(4) that combines such projections with simulations of demography and seed dispersal to forecast the climate-driven spatio-temporal dynamics of 150 high-mountain plant species across the European Alps. This model predicts average range size reductions of 44-50% by the end of the twenty-first century, which is similar to projections from the most 'optimistic' static model (49%). However, the hybrid model also indicates that population dynamics will lag behind climatic trends and that an average of 40% of the range still occupied at the end of the twenty-first century will have become climatically unsuitable for the respective species, creating an extinction debt(5,6). Alarmingly, species endemic to the Alps seem to face the highest range losses. These results caution against optimistic conclusions from moderate range size reductions observed during the twenty-first century as they are likely to belie more severe longer-term effects of climate warming on mountain plants.

KeyWord(s) Plus
  • ALPS
ESI Discipline(s)
  • Environment/Ecology
  • Geosciences
  • Social Sciences
Web of Science Category(ies)
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Environmental Studies
  • Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences

[Dullinger, Stefan; Gattringer, Andreas; Moser, Dietmar; Willner, Wolfgang; Plutzar, Christoph; Mang, Thomas; Huelber, Karl] Vienna Inst Nat Conservat & Anal, A-1090 Vienna, Austria; [Dullinger, Stefan; Mang, Thomas; Ertl, Siegrun] Univ Vienna, Fac Ctr Biodivers, A-1030 Vienna, Austria; [Thuiller, Wilfried] Univ Grenoble 1, CNRS, Lab Ecol Alpine, UMR 5553, F-38041 Grenoble 9, France; [Zimmermann, Niklaus E.; Psomas, Achilleas; Schmatz, Dirk R.] Swiss Fed Res Inst WSL, Landscape Dynam Unit, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland; [Guisan, Antoine; Vittoz, Pascal] Univ Lausanne, Dept Ecol & Evolut, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland; [Plutzar, Christoph] Alpen Adria Univ, Inst Social Ecol Vienna SEC, A-1070 Vienna, Austria; [Leitner, Michael] Univ Vienna, Fac Phys, A-1090 Vienna, Austria; [Leitner, Michael] Tech Univ Munich, FRM 2, D-85747 Garching, Germany; [Caccianiga, Marco] Univ Milan, Dept Biol, I-20133 Milan, Italy; [Dirnboeck, Thomas] Environm Agcy Austria, Dept Ecosyst Res & Monitoring, A-1090 Vienna, Austria; [Fischer, Anton] Tech Univ Munich, Ctr Life & Food Sci, D-85354 Freising Weihenstephan, Germany; [Lenoir, Jonathan; Svenning, Jens-Christian] Aarhus Univ, Dept Biosci, Ecoinformat & Biodivers Grp, DK-8000 Aarhus, Denmark; [Lenoir, Jonathan] Univ Picardie Jules Verne, Ecol & Dynam Syst Anthropises EA4698, F-80037 Amiens, France; [Silc, Urban] Inst Biol Zrc Sazu, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Reprint Adress

Dullinger, S (reprint author), Vienna Inst Nat Conservat & Anal, Giessergasse 6-7, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.

  • Austria
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Slovenia
  • Switzerland
CNRS - Adress(es)
  • Laboratoire d'écologie alpine (LECA), UMR5553
Accession Number
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