Climate Change Ecology

Mountain forests in a warming world

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  17 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6292, pp. 1422-1423
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6292.1422-c

Paleoecological records of past distributions of plants and animals can be useful guides to their potential responses to current changing climate. Ivory et al. compared the present distributions of several common species of African mountain forests with their distributions (inferred from pollen records) in the mid-Holocene and Last Glacial Maximum (6000 and 21,000 years ago, respectively). Paleoclimate data indicate that these species occupied warmer habitats than those in which they currently occur, in some cases expanding their ranges into the lowlands. Hence, present-day distributions of these species are not necessarily representative of their entire climatic niche space. Their future response to a warming climate may thus be more constrained by human land use than by increasing temperature.

Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 10.1111/geb.12446 (2016).

Navigate This Article