Distribution of terrestrial ecosystems and changes in plant community composition

Michael J. Schuster, Lorena Torres Martinez, Jeffrey S. Dukes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Plant communities have been transformed by global changes such as land-use change and biological invasion in recent decades, and climate change will drive further transformation in the coming decades. Plant species can respond to changing climates by shifting their ranges to new areas in order to track optimal conditions and/or by adapting to these changes in situ. Future climates have the potential to alter species’ productivity, phenology, and biotic interactions. In addition, species’ ranges are expected to shift towards higher latitudes, tracking favorable climate conditions as the planet warms. The same trend is expected along altitudinal gradients, where species are expected to move uphill. However, distributions of communities and ecosystems depend on their individual species’ responses to climate change and are therefore more complicated to predict. Future plant community assemblages will differ from the ones that have existed historically, and these changes could themselves influence the rate of global climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGlobal Environmental Change
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9789400757844
ISBN (Print)9789400757837
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014.


  • Adaptive potential
  • Biotic interactions
  • Distributional shifts
  • Niche envelope models
  • Niche evolution
  • Plant community composition
  • Terrestrial ecosystem distribution


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