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Climate Change and the Future of California's Endemic Flora

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posted on 25.06.2008, 00:07 by Scott R. Loarie, Benjamin E. Carter, Katharine Hayhoe, Sean McMahon, Richard Moe, Charles A. Knight, David D. Ackerly

The flora of California, a global biodiversity hotspot, includes 2387 endemic plant taxa. With anticipated climate change, we project that up to 66% will experience >80% reductions in range size within a century. These results are comparable with other studies of fewer species or just samples of a region's endemics. Projected reductions depend on the magnitude of future emissions and on the ability of species to disperse from their current locations. California's varied terrain could cause species to move in very different directions, breaking up present-day floras. However, our projections also identify regions where species undergoing severe range reductions may persist. Protecting these potential future refugia and facilitating species dispersal will be essential to maintain biodiversity in the face of climate change.

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