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You are here: Home / Publications / Continent-wide response of mountain vegetation to climate change

Continent-wide response of mountain vegetation to climate change

This paper, in the journal Nature Climate Change, is based on analyses of data from mountain-top locations across Europe, including ECN Cairngorms.

© 2012 Nature Publishing Group

Gottfried, M., Pauli, H., Futschik, A., et al. (2012). Continent-wide response of mountain vegetation to climate change. Nature Climate Change, 2, 111-115. doi:10.1038/nclimate1329



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The authors of this paper used 867 vegetation samples above the treeline from 60 summit sites in all major European mountain systems to show that ongoing climate change gradually transforms mountain plant communities. They provide evidence that the more cold-adapted plant species decline and the more warm-adapted species increase, a process described here as thermophilization. At a whole continental scale the authors observed a significantly higher abundance of thermophilic species in 2008, compared with 2001. In view of the projected climate change the observed transformation suggests a progressive decline of cold mountain habitats and their biota.

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