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Global warming threatens plant diversity
Date:3/23/2010

his is a field about which we still know far too little", Sommer explains. Nevertheless, the published results do provide an important pointer to the likelihood of the scales of immigration or losses to be expected in given areas.

Globalisation in the Plant Kingdom

It is possible that the worst effects of global warming on plant species numbers could be felt in the tropical Amazonian rain forests in South America. For Germany and other temperate regions worldwide, on the other hand, scientists are expecting future climatic conditions which will promote the provision of habitat space for an increased number of species. "But this can scarcely be described as a gain as the intensified redistribution of plant species will promote worldwide uniformity in the regional composition of species at the expense of unique species which have adapted to special habitat conditions", says Sommer. And as a result, globalisation would also come to the plant kingdom.

In their study, the researchers have emphasised the clear division of our planet into two parts as regards the impact of climate change on plant diversity. "Additional capacity for plants species richness could be created everywhere where today cool and moist climatic conditions prevail", says Dr. Holger Kreft, the young research scientist from Bonn and co-author of the study, who has meanwhile assumed an appointment as junior professor at Gttingen University." On the other hand, in areas which today have a hot tropical or sub-tropical climate the prerequisites for high species numbers will deteriorate".

The main Originators of Climate Change less affected

This division also has a political dimension: favoured areas coincide largely with the industrialised nations, who are responsible for the majority of global warming due to their high amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The study also points clearly to the consequences of a half-hearted climate policy. Sho
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Contact: Dr. Jan Henning Sommer
hsommer@uni-bonn.de
49-228-732-125
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert  

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