. Earth Science News .

Holm oaks will gain ground in northern forests due to climate change
by Staff Writers
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Nov 10, 2011

Current and predicted distribution of the holm oak in the central mountains of the Iberian Peninsula during the 21st century according to one of the scenarios generated by the models. Credit: J. Vias, M. Fuentes, D. Ruiz-Labourdette et al.

Holm oaks and other forests in lowland areas of Mediterranean mountains could expand by up to 350% due to global warming. In contrast, those forest formations that are more adapted to cold and humid conditions, such as beech and Sylvester pines, could shrink by up to 99%.

Both scenarios could be quite possible in the 21st century according to a model created to study the effects of climate change on the forests of the Sistema Central and the Sistema Iberico (Spain).

A team led from the Complutense University of Madrid has estimated the possible changes that could be seen in the distribution of 15 of the Iberian Peninsula's tree species due to climate change from 2041-2070 and 2071-2100. According to what was published in the Journal of Biogeography they used two of the CO2 emissions models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) when making their estimations.

The main researcher of the study, Diego Ruiz-Labourdette, tells SINC that "the results predict an increase in arid conditions across low mountain areas in the coming decades. This will favour the expansion of Mediterranean perennial species like the holm oak, juniper, the Portuguese oak and the Pyrenean oak, which are better adapted to high temperatures and drought."

These plant communities could increase their dominance by up to 350% with CO2 atmosphere concentrations 0.70 mg/g by 2080 according to one of the scenarios generated by the models. The predictions suggest that spring will progressively arrive earlier, autumn will arrive later and there will be increased summer water shortages in the Iberian Peninsula during the 21st century.

As a result, the models reveal that there will be a reduction in the amount of deciduous forests with trees such as beech and birch, which are adapted to humidity. Eurosiberian conifers (Sylvester pine, high mountain juniper), native to Central and Northern Europe, will also see their distribution area progressively reduced. On the whole, those species adapted to cold and humid conditions could fall by between 80% and 99%.

Researchers outline that the results of the study would have "a significant impact on biodiversity conversation." They propose to prioritise the protection of the eastern massifs of the Sistema Central and its connection with the Sistema Iberico in order to preserve those tree species found there that are adapted to cold and humid climates. In this way, the mobility of the species through their historic migration paths would be encouraged.

"The study also reveals that in the mountains of the south of Europe the plant formations that will suffer most in terms of distribution will be those found in foothills and low mountain areas. This is due to the increase in water shortages during the season that is good for growth," says another of the co-authors of the study, David Nogues-Bravo, researcher at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark).

This prediction differs from that of the mountain ranges of the temperate regions of Northern Europe. There, the high mountain vegetation will be more affected by climate change, not the vegetation of the lowland areas.

References: Diego Ruiz-Labourdette, David Nogues-Bravo, Helios Sainz Ollero, Maria F. Schmitz, Francisco D. Pineda. "Forest composition in Mediterranean mountains is projected to shift along the entire elevational gradient under climate change". Journal of Biogeography, September 2011 (on line). Doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02592.x.

Related Links
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Forestry News - Global and Local News, Science and Application

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Climate change causing massive movement of tree species across the West
Corvallis, OR (SPX) Nov 08, 2011
A huge "migration" of trees has begun across much of the West due to global warming, insect attack, diseases and fire, and many tree species are projected to decline or die out in regions where they have been present for centuries, while others move in and replace them. In an enormous display of survival of the fittest, the forests of the future are taking a new shape. In a new report, sci ... read more

Thaksin keeps low profile in Thai flood crisis

Japan lower house approves $156bn recovery budget

Thai opposition challenges PM over flood budget

Tokyo city starts radiation tests on food in shops

New metamaterial allows transmission gain while retaining negative refraction property

Are electron tweezers possible

NASA Develops Super-Black Material That Absorbs Light Across Multiple Wavelength Bands

Adobe pulls plug on Flash for mobile

Weird world of water gets a little weirder

Hey bacterial slime get off of my boat

Drinking water from plastic pipes - is it harmful?

Brazil court refuses to stop work on Amazon dam

International Team to Drill Beneath Massive Antarctic Ice Shelf

Preparing for a thaw: How Arctic microbes respond to a warming world

Chinese tycoon one step closer to Icelandic land purchase

Canada bolsters protection of polar bears

How parasites modify plants to attract insects

China food chain shares up after buyout gets OK

Nitrogen Fertilizers' Impact on Lawn Soils

Research team unravels tomato pathogen's tricks of the trade

Rescuers hunt for survivors in fresh Turkey quake

More than 1,000 die in Southeast Asia floods

Turkey quake kills seven, topples buildings

Thai PM to skip APEC summit due to flood crisis

US condemns bombing by Sudan Armed Forces

S.Sudan accuses Khartoum of deadly air strike on camp

Climate to widen sleeping sickness risk to southern Africa

Hitting the bottle to solve Nigeria's housing problem

The selective advantage of being on the edge of a migration wave

Erasing the signs of aging in cells is now a reality

The benefits of being the first to settle

Human skin begins tanning in seconds, and here's how


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement