Mountain plants constitute an important part of the Norwegian flora. They are also believed to be the plant group in Norway most threatened by the expected climatic warming due to an enhanced greenhouse effect in the near future. In this study the distributions of 107 mountain Norwegian vascular plants were modelled in relation to present‐day climate using Gaussian logit regression. Most species are found to have a surprisingly broad amplitude to mean July and January temperatures, suggesting that a 2°C increase in summer temperature and 4°C increase in winter temperature (as expected with a 2×CO2 increase) may not have a dramatic direct effect on most of the species investigated. A comparative study between estimated July and January temperature optima and tolerances and other ecological attributes such as habitat characteristics, dispersal mechanisms, range sizes and other climatic optima and tolerances was done using multivariate analysis. The results suggest that species most vulnerable to climatic warming, namely the species with narrow July and January temperature tolerances, are characterized by small range sizes and small population sizes, i.e. they are nationally rare species. Furthermore, these vulnerable species are found in all habitats along the major moisture gradient in alpine vegetation. A classification of the species into Rabinowitz's seven forms of rarity confirms that the species most vulnerable to climatic warming are characterized by being habitat specialists with a small geographic range size.
Journal of Biogeography – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 1997
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