The altitude-for-latitude disparity in the range retractions of woody species


Jump A, Matyas C & Penuelas J (2009) The altitude-for-latitude disparity in the range retractions of woody species. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24 (12), pp. 694-701.

Increasing temperatures are driving rapid upward range shifts of species in mountains. An altitudinal range retreat of 10 m is predicted to translate into a ~10 km latitudinal retreat, based on the rate at which temperatures decline with increasing altitude and latitude, yet reports of latitudinal range retractions are sparse. Here we examine potential climatic, biological, anthropogenic and methodological explanations for this disparity. We argue that the lack of reported latitudinal range retractions stems more from a lack of research effort, compounded by methodological difficulties, rather than from their absence. Given the predicted negative impacts of increasing temperatures on wide areas of the latitudinal distributions of species, the investigation of range retractions should become a priority in biogeographical research.

climate change; range edge; drought; range shift; Plant populations; Global environmental change; Plant diversity; Environmental change

Trends in Ecology and Evolution: Volume 24, Issue 12

Publication date31/12/2009
Publication date online31/08/2009
PublisherElsevier (Cell Press)