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


21st century climate change threatens mountain flora unequally across Europe

Publication Year


  • Engler, Robin
  • Randin, Christophe F.
  • Thuiller, Wilfried
  • Dullinger, Stefan
  • Zimmermann, Niklaus E.
  • Araujo, Miguel B.
  • Pearman, Peter B.
  • Le Lay, Gwenaelle
  • Piedallu, Christian
  • Albert, Cecile H.
  • Choler, Philippe
  • Coldea, Gheorghe
  • De Lamo, Xavier
  • Dirnbock, Thomas
  • Gegout, Jean-Claude
  • Gomez-Garcia, Daniel
  • Grytnes, John-Arvid
  • Heegaard, Einar
  • Hoistad, Fride
  • Nogues-Bravo, David
  • Normand, Signe
  • Puscas, Mihai
  • Sebastia, Maria-Teresa
  • Stanisci, Angela
  • Theurillat, Jean-Paul
  • Trivedi, Mandar R.
  • Vittoz, Pascal
  • Guisan, Antoine
GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY Volume: 17 Issue: 7 Pages: 2330-2341 Published: 2011
1354-1013 eISSN: 1365-2486

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.

Author Keyword(s)
  • alpine plants
  • Europe vegetation
  • global change
  • impact assessment
  • species distribution models
KeyWord(s) Plus
  • ALPS
ESI Discipline(s)
  • Environment/Ecology
Web of Science Category(ies)
  • Biodiversity Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Sciences

[Engler, Robin; Pearman, Peter B.; Le Lay, Gwenaelle; Vittoz, Pascal; Guisan, Antoine] Univ Lausanne, Dept Ecol & Evolut, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland; [Randin, Christophe F.] Univ Basel, Inst Bot, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland; [Thuiller, Wilfried; Albert, Cecile H.; Choler, Philippe] Univ Grenoble 1, CNRS, UJF, Lab Ecol Alpine,UMR 5553, F-38041 Grenoble, France; [Dullinger, Stefan] Vienna Inst Nat Conservat & Analyses, A-1090 Vienna, Austria; [Dullinger, Stefan] Univ Vienna, Dept Conservat Biol Vegetat & Landscape Ecol, A-1030 Vienna, Austria; [Zimmermann, Niklaus E.; Pearman, Peter B.; Normand, Signe] Swiss Fed Res Inst WSL, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland; [Araujo, Miguel B.] CSIC, Natl Museum Nat Sci, E-28006 Madrid, Spain; [Araujo, Miguel B.; Nogues-Bravo, David] Univ Evora, CIBIO, Rui Nabeiro Biodivers Chair, P-7000 Evora, Portugal; [Piedallu, Christian; Gegout, Jean-Claude] AgroParisTech, ENGREF, UMR1092, Lab Etude Ressources Foret Bois LERFoB, FR-54000 Nancy, France; [Piedallu, Christian; Gegout, Jean-Claude] Ctr INRA Nancy, INRA, UMR1092, Lab Etude Ressources Foret Bois LERFoB, F-54280 Champenoux, France; [Choler, Philippe] Univ Grenoble 1, CNRS, UJF, Stn Alpine J Fourier,UMS 2925, F-38041 Grenoble, France; [Coldea, Gheorghe] Inst Biol Res, Dept Plant Ecol, Cluj Napoca 400015, Romania; [De Lamo, Xavier; Sebastia, Maria-Teresa] Forest Technol Ctr Catalonia, Lab Funct Ecol & Global Change, Solsona 25280, Spain; [Dirnbock, Thomas] Environm Agcy Austria, Dep Ecosyst Res & Monitoring, A-1090 Vienna, Austria; [Grytnes, John-Arvid] Univ Bergen, Dept Biol, N-5020 Bergen, Norway; [Gomez-Garcia, Daniel] CSIC, Inst Pirenaico Ecol, Jaca 22700, Spain; [Heegaard, Einar; Hoistad, Fride] Norwegian Forest & Landscape Inst, N-5244 Fana, Norway; [Nogues-Bravo, David] Univ Copenhagen, Dept Biol, Ctr Macroecol Evolut & Climate, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark; [Normand, Signe] Aarhus Univ, Dept Biol Sci, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark; [Puscas, Mihai] Univ Babes Bolyai, A Borza Bot Garden, Cluj Napoca 400015, Romania; [Sebastia, Maria-Teresa] Univ Lleida, ETSEA, Lleida 25198, Spain; [Stanisci, Angela] Univ Molise, Envirometr Lab, I-86090 Pesche, Isernia, Italy; [Theurillat, Jean-Paul] Fdn JM Aubert, Ctr Alpien Phytogeog, CH-1938 Champex Lac, Switzerland; [Theurillat, Jean-Paul] Univ Geneva, Lab Biogeog, Biol Sect, CH-1292 Chambesy, Switzerland; [Trivedi, Mandar R.] John Krebs Field Stn, Global Canopy Programme, Oxford OX2 8QJ, England

Reprint Adress

Engler, R (reprint author), Univ Lausanne, Dept Ecol & Evolut, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.

  • Austria
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
CNRS - Adress(es)
  • Laboratoire d'écologie alpine (LECA), UMR5553
  • Station alpine Joseph Fourier (SAJF), UMS3370
Accession Number
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