Plants are potentially threatened by climate change in German nature conservation areas
Jan Hanspach1, Ingolf Kühn1, Sven Pompe1, Stefan Klotz1
1 Department of Community Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ
D6.O-1 in Macroecology meets Global Change Research
16.09.2009, 09:30-09:45, H18, NWII
Climate change is known to influence plant species distribution, hence becoming a mayor threat of species extinctions. Protected areas are the strongest and most important device of current nature conservation strategies. Consequently, species response to climate change needs to be estimated on a regional scale, thus enabling focused conservation strategies for the endangered species and habitats in protected areas. In this study we modelled the distribution of more than 600 plant species in conservation areas of Germany. Therefore we applied species distribution modelling techniques (GLM, GAM) using climate data and species distribution in Europe. Additionally we incorporate data on soil properties and land cover into the model. Projections of the future distribution were modelled using two different regionalized climate change scenarios (STAR scenarios, +2.4°C and +2.7°C) to assess the climatic risks for plant species in a most of the German conservation areas protected by the Habitats Directive. We present the results of this risk analysis by mean of changes in potential species number, changes in potential range size of some selected species and derive the possible impacts on different habitat types. Generally, ranges of species shrink under both scenarios and in most conservation areas potential species numbers decrease. Species occurring in the communities of swamps, fens and bogs as well as dwarf shrub communities are possibly most strongly affected by climate change in German conservation areas.