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Past and future global transformation of terrestrial ecosystems under climate change

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Science  31 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6405, pp. 920-923
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan5360

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Future predictions from paleoecology

Terrestrial ecosystems will be transformed by current anthropogenic change, but the extent of this change remains a challenge to predict. Nolan et al. looked at documented vegetational and climatic changes at almost 600 sites worldwide since the last glacial maximum 21,000 years ago. From this, they determined vegetation responses to temperature changes of 4° to 7°C. They went on to estimate the extent of ecosystem changes under current similar (albeit more rapid) scenarios of warming. Without substantial mitigation efforts, terrestrial ecosystems are at risk of major transformation in composition and structure.

Science, this issue p. 920