Plant Ecology

Spring predictability explains different leaf‐out strategies in the woody floras of North America, Europe and East Asia

Intuitively, interannual spring temperature variability (STV) should influence the leaf‐out strategies of temperate zone woody species, with high winter chilling requirements in species from regions where spring warming varies greatly among years. We tested this hypothesis using experiments in 215 species and leaf‐out monitoring in 1585 species from East Asia (EA), Europe (EU) and North America (NA). The results reveal that species from regions with high STV indeed have higher winter chilling requirements, and, when grown under the same conditions, leaf out later than related species from regions with lower STV. Since 1900, STV has been consistently higher in NA than in EU and EA, and under experimentally short winter conditions NA species required 84% more spring warming for bud break, EU ones 49% and EA ones only 1%. These previously unknown continental‐scale differences in phenological strategies underscore the need for considering regional climate histories in global change models.

Day length unlikely to constrain climate-driven shifts in leaf-out times of northern woody plants

Our results do not support previous ideas about phenological strategies in temperate woody species (the ‘high temperature variability’ hypothesis; the ‘oceanic climate’ hypothesis; the ‘high latitude’ hypothesis). In regions with long winters, trees appear to rely on cues other than day length, such as winter chilling and spring warming. By contrast, in regions with short winters, some species—mostly from lineages with a warm-temperate or subtropical background, for example, Fagus additionally rely on photoperiodism. Therefore, photoperiod may be expected to constrain climate-driven shifts in spring leaf unfolding only at lower latitudes.

Forecasting plant range collapse in a mediterranean hotspot: when dispersal uncertainties matter

The Mediterranean Basin is threatened by climate change, and there is an urgent need for studies to determine the risk of plant range shift and potential extinction. In this study, we simulate potential range shifts of 176 plant species to perform a detailed prognosis of critical range decline and extinction in a transformed mediterranean landscape. Particularly, we seek to answer two pivotal questions: (1) what are the general plant‐extinction patterns we should expect in mediterranean landscapes during the 21st century? and (2) does dispersal ability prevent extinction under climate change?.

Simulating potential effects of climatic warming on altitudinal patterns of key species in Mediterranean-alpine ecosystems

According to the simulations, the suitable habitat for the key species inhabiting the summit area, where most of the endemic and/or rare species are located, may disappear before the middle of the century. The other key species considered show moderate to drastic suitable habitat loss depending on the considered scenario. Climate warming should provoke a strong substitution dynamics between species, increasing spatial competition between both of them. In this study, we introduce the application of differential suitability concept into the analysis of potential impact of climate change, forest management and environmental monitoring, and discuss the limitations and uncertainties of these simulations.