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Climate change threatens many tree species, say Hebrew U. researchers
Date:1/24/2011

maturation is that which prevails, giving rise to faster spread in the future compared to current conditions. Still, this research showed that the faster spread predicted for these trees in the future will be much slower than the expected poleward shift of climate (temperature) ranges. Consequently, these tree species might not be able to withstand the climate change.

"Our research indicates that the natural wind-driven spread of many species of trees will increase, but will occur at a significantly lower pace than that which will be required to cope with the changes in surface temperature," said Prof. Nathan. "This will raise extinction risk of many tree populations because they will not be able to track the shift in their natural habitats which currently supply them with favorable conditions for establishment and reproduction. As a result, the composition of different tree species in future forests is expected to change and their areas might be reduced, the goods and services that these forests provide for man might be harmed, and wide-ranging steps will have to be taken to ensure seed dispersal in a controlled, directed manner."

The new research, published in the journal Ecology Letters is based on a unique, fully mechanistic model developed to predict trends in plant spread. This model is the first to consider how projected changes in biological and environmental factors would impact tree spread in future environments. Predictions which were made until now were founded on past trends and did not take into consideration the expected future changes in the key biological and environmental factors that determine plant spread.

In Israel, the research has bearing on various native tree species whose seeds are dispersed by the wind, such as Aleppo pine, Syrian maple and Syrian ash. The model that has been developed will be useful also in predicting the invasive spread of alien tree species, such as the tree of heaven, into Israeli nat
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Contact: Jerry Barach
jerryb@savion.huji.ac.il
972-258-82904
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Source:Eurekalert  

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