A previously developed plant species-climatic envelope model was evaluated further and used to predict effects of hypothesized climatic change on the potential distribution of 124 native woody plant species in Florida, U.S.A. Twelve scenarios were investigated. These included mean annual temperature increases of 1 °C or 2 °C, achieved either by equal 1 °C or 2 °C increases on a monthly basis throughout the year, or by disproportionately larger seasonal increases in winter and smaller ones in summer. The various temperature increases were then combined with each of several precipitation changes, ranging from +10% to –20%, to produce the final set of scenarios. More detailed analysis involving six of the scenarios and a subset of 28 representative, ecologically important species suggested that (1) large decreases in the Florida range of many temperate species would result if 1 °C warming occurs predominantly in winter or with a 20% decrease in annual precipitation, or (2) if 2 °C warming occurs, with or without decrease in annual precipitation, and regardless of whether there is a uniform monthly warming pattern or one that is higher in winter than in summer. Available information concerning other factors that might also affect climatic-change responses suggests that these large predicted impacts on temperate Florida species may be underestimates. Subtropical Florida species will tend to move north and inland with warming but extensive human assistance may be needed, if they are to realize their newly expanded, potential natural ranges.
Climatic Change – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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