INTRODUCTION In a recent issue of Global Ecology and Biogeography , Pearson & Dawson (2003 ) provided an informative review of the use of bioclimate envelope models (BEM) for predicting future distributional ranges of temperate plant species under expected global climate change. The authors discuss several criticisms of the BEM approach and they conclude that these need not be a major drawback when applied as a starting point for predicting the impacts of potential climate change on species ranges. Here, I argue that the strongly deterministic and reductionist BEM rely on biological assumptions that are much more commonly violated in nature than Pearson & Dawson (2003 ) assume. Moreover, the statistical methods currently used for model validation overestimate model fits as a result of pseudoreplication. Both features make BEM prone to produce artificially optimistic scenarios of future climate change impacts on plant distributions. Little doubt exists that climate determines the large‐scale distributions of many temperate plant species ( Woodward, 1987 ). However, ongoing range shifts are affected by a multitude of other constraints and processes acting on population performance (e.g. Ibrahim ., 1996 ; Clark ., 2001 ; Travis, 2003 ). These differ greatly across species’ ranges from
Global Ecology and Biogeography – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 2004
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