Can we predict the fate of forest tree communities under climate change?
MetadataShow full item record
Climate is changing and human acts are accelerating that change raising many concerns for living organism’s survival. Under climate change tree species will probably either become extinct, or migrate or adapt. A crucial role in their adaptation and survival will be played by their phenotypic plasticity. Many experiments have been carried out and many models designed in order to predict the trees species’ future response. Experiments like common garden experiments and models based on Breeder’s equation used to record and predict the responses of different species to predicted climate change. Here, we mention the limitation of these experiments in models and the crucial gaps to our knowledge in order to precisely predict future fate of forest communities in global scale. Many abiotic factors such as the rapid climatic changes, low precipitation and fluctuations in temperature usually are not included in many models and experiments. Moreover, many biotic factors are excluded. Herbivory might have a significant impact on plants’ migration or/and survival and plant-plant interactions (e.g competition) can alter vegetation composition are usually not be taken into account. Moreover, many anthropogenic actions such as the introduction of new species and the fragmentation due to changes in land use influence the maintenance of native species and reduces the extend of gene flow respectively. All these parameters are changing the strength of selection and the genetic variation of populations in an unexpected way which in addition to our knowledge gaps on phenotypic plastic response, fitness traits and generally on ecosystem dynamics set other limiting factors for accurate prediction.