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How will climate variability interact with long-term climate change to affect the persistence of plant species in fragmented landscapes?

Renton, M., Shackelford, N. and Standish, R.J. (2014) How will climate variability interact with long-term climate change to affect the persistence of plant species in fragmented landscapes? Environmental Conservation, 41 (2). pp. 110-121.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0376892913000490
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Abstract

As climates change, some plant species will need to migrate across landscapes fragmented by unsuitable environments and human activities to colonize new areas with suitable climates as previously habited areas become uninhabitable. Previous modelling of plant's migration potential has generally assumed that climate changes at a constant rate, but this ignores many potentially important aspects of real climate variability. In this study, a spatially explicit simulation model was used to investigate how interannual climate variability, the occurrence of extreme events and step changes in climate might interact with gradual long-term climate change to affect plant species’ capacity to migrate across fragmented landscapes and persist. The considered types of climate variability generally exacerbated the negative effects of long-term climate change, with a few poignant exceptions where persistence of long-lived trees improved. Strategic habitat restoration ameliorated negative effects of climate variability. Plant functional characteristics strongly influenced most results. Any modelling of how climate change may affect species persistence, and how actions such as restoration may help species adapt, should account for both short-term climate variability and long-term change.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: © 2013 Foundation for Environmental Conservation
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/55403
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