Title: Garden plants get a head start on climate change
Authors: Van der Veken, Sebastiaan ×
Hermy, Martin
Vellend, M
Knapen, Anne
Verheyen, K #
Issue Date: May-2008
Publisher: Ecological Society of America
Series Title: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment vol:6 issue:4 pages:212-216
Abstract: By the end of the 21st century, anthropogenic climate
change is projected to cause global temperatures to
rise by 1.8–4.0°C (IPCC 2007a). This rise is expected to
increase the risk of extinction for 20–30% of plants and
animals that have been examined to date, with profound
consequences for global biodiversity (IPCC 2007b; see
also Thomas et al. 2004). For any particular species,
extinction risk will increase if suitable habitat conditions
either disappear entirely (Williams et al. 2007) or, as is
more probable, if habitats shift more rapidly than resident
species can migrate (Parmesan 2006). This prospect has
contributed to the debate over “assisted migration”; to
what degree should humans intervene to prevent extinctions
by transporting species to locations where suitable
conditions exist (McLachlan et al. 2007)?
As climate change outpaces some species’ abilities to
migrate, human-mediated exotic species introductions
have allowed other species to migrate rapidly across the
globe, in some cases causing tremendous ecological and
economic harm (Sax et al. 2005). For plants, the horticulture
industry provides a major pathway for the cross-continental
establishment and invasion of non-native species
(Reichard and White 2001). However, nurseries also carry
many species that are native to the continents where plants
are sold, with possible benefits for migration within continents.
To date, climate change has allowed many species to
shift their geographic ranges northward (Walther et al.
2002; Parmesan 2006), in some cases facilitated by the presence
of plants in gardens (Walther et al. 2002, 2005, 2007),
and there is an expectation that gardeners in northern
regions will be able to grow many new plant species in the
future, thanks to a warmer climate (Bisgrove and Hadley
2002). Here, we investigate the potential for commercial
nurseries to provide a head start for northward range shifts
of native European plant species in the face of ongoing climate
change, and address the question: to what degree
have we already inadvertently assisted plant migrations?
ISSN: 1540-9295
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Division Forest, Nature and Landscape Research
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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