Meta-analysis of the effect of global warming on local species richness

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We carried out a systematic review of global and regional modelling studies in which shifts in species distributions under climate change were modelled. These studies included a large range of species groups and biomes worldwide. Based on the model results we calculated the fraction of species that would remain at a locality in response to projected climate change and related this to the global mean temperature increase (GMTI) that was associated with projected climate change. Out of 207 articles meeting our search terms used in Web of Science, 21 studies met our selection criteria and were included. This resulted in 239 data points of combinations of global mean temperature increase and effect on local species richness across different species groups and biomes. Based on this we carried out a meta-analysis to investi¬gate the relation between changes in global mean tem-perature increase and the fraction of remaining plant and vertebrate species at a geographic location. The results showed that global mean temperature increases of more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels significantly affect local species richness. Both plants and vertebrate species showed a strong decline in the fraction remaining species with increasing temperature. The effect impacts seemed to be strongest in warm biomes and tended to be smaller in cool biomes. The resulting meta-model can be used to calculate the fraction of remaining species under different climate change scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWettelijke Onderzoekstaken Natuur & Milieu
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

PublisherWettelijke Onderzoekstaken Natuur & Milieu
ISSN (Print)1879-4688


  • climatic change
  • species diversity
  • impact prediction
  • meta-analysis


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