Extinction debts and colonization credits of non-forest plants in the European Alps
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Mountain plant species shift their elevational ranges in response to climate change. However, to what degree these shifts lag behind current climate change, and to what extent delayed extinctions and colonizations contribute to these shifts, are under debate. Here, we calculate extinction debt and colonization credit of 135 species from the European Alps by comparing species distribution models with 1576 re-surveyed plots. We find extinction debt in 60% and colonization credit in 38% of the species, and at least one of the two in 93%. This suggests that the realized niche of very few of the 135 species fully tracks climate change. As expected, extinction debts occur below and colonization credits occur above the optimum elevation of species. Colonization credits are more frequent in warmth-demanding species from lower elevations with lower dispersal capability, and extinction debts are more frequent in cold-adapted species from the highest elevations. Local extinctions hence appear to be already pending for those species which have the least opportunity to escape climate warming. Show more
Journal / seriesNature Communications
Pages / Article No.
PublisherNature Publishing Group
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