BONN, Germany, March 25 (UPI) — German and U.S. scientists say climate change will create global changes in the living conditions for plants, thereby producing major regional differences.
The researchers from Bonn, Gottingen and Yale Universities say climate change could bring “great confusion to the existing pattern of plant diversity,” with unpredictable consequences for ecosystems and mankind.
However, Jan Hennin Sommer of Bonn University’s Nees Institute for Biodiversity of Plants says the findings do not permit any predictions regarding the degree to which the biodiversity of any given region will, in fact, adapt to new conditions or — in other words — whether additional species will migrate into favored regions, or whether disadvantaged areas will in reality suffer mass losses of species.
“That would be fortune-telling,” Sommer said, but noting it is possible the worst effects of global warming on plant species numbers could be felt in the Amazonian rain forests of South America.
He said the adaptability of species and their interactions in the ecosystem can, like human land use, exert great influence on their distribution.
“This is a field about which we still know far too little,” Sommer said, while noting the study’s results provide an important pointer to the likelihood of the scales of immigration or losses to be expected in given areas.
The complex research is reported in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
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