Feb 17, 2016

Sensitivity of global terrestrial ecosystems to climate variability

by
Alistair W. R. Seddon, Marc Macias-Fauria, Peter R. Long, David Benz, Kathy J. Willis
,
Nature
  • Develops a new metric, the vegetation sensitivity index, that identifies areas sensitive to climate variability over the past 14 years
  • Finds ecologically sensitive regions with amplified responses to climate variability in the Arctic tundra, parts of the boreal forest belt, the tropical rainforest, alpine regions worldwide, steppe and prairie regions of central Asia and North and South America, the Caatinga deciduous forest in eastern South America, and eastern areas of Australia
  • Provides a quantitative methodology for assessing the relative response rate of ecosystems—be they natural or with a strong anthropogenic signature—to environmental variability, which is the first step towards addressing why some regions appear to be more sensitive than others, and what impact this has on the resilience of ecosystem service provision and human well-being