Climate change

Climate plays a key role in determining the distribution and persistence of conifers in their natural habitats. Climates change over both contemporary and geological timescales and in response to this, some species may become locally or even globally extinct or they may disperse to more suitable areas. Over shorter time scales, the longevity and resilience of many species may allow them to persist in the same area.  In the recent past, these processes generally occurred within a landscape locally impacted by humans but more recently, large areas of natural vegetation have been converted for other uses. Ecosystems have become fragmented and degraded, many individual species have been intensively exploited and the introduction of alien plants, animals and diseases has also caused significant problems.  Against this backdrop, climate changes associated with global warming such as increases or decreases in precipitation levels and average temperatures are having increasing direct and indirect effects on many conifer species and their habitats. Impacts include more intensive or prolonged droughts, higher frequency and intensity of fires and increases in pests and disease.

Juniperus excelsa ssp. polycarpos. Oman

Juniperus excelsa ssp. polycarpos. Oman

Taxa in the category - Climate change:

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Abies beshanzuensis M.H.Wu

Endemic to eastern China in Zhejiang Province where only a handful of mature individuals survive Read full species entry >

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Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.

Distributed in three States of eastern USA but as a result of severe infestation from the Balsam woolly adelgid, only one population remains unaffected Read full species entry >

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Abies kawakamii (Hayata) T.Itô

A subtropical alpine fir restricted to a few areas in Taiwan. Climate change is likely to have a significant impact on this species. Currently it is assessed as Near Threatened Read full species entry >

Mature cones
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Abies pinsapo Boiss.

The Spanish fir has two subspecies distributed in southern Spain and northern Morocco where threats include fire, grazing and climate change. Read full species entry >

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Abies pinsapo var. marocana (Trabut) Ceballos & Bolanos

The Moroccan fir is restricted to two small forests in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco where over a period of 60 years it has suffered a 70% decline. Read full species entry >

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Abies pinsapo var. pinsapo

One of two varieties of the Spanish fir restricted to three areas of southern Spain where in the last 45 years large areas of  forest have been lost mainly as a result of fire. Read full species entry >

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Agathis montana de laub.

Endemic to the Mt. Panié range in northern New Caledonia where recent research has found that the decline and loss of old-growth trees is probably due to a combination of factors including root damage by feral pigs, pathogen attack and climate change. Read full species entry >

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Araucaria humboldtensis J. Buchholz

One of 13 species of Araucaria endemic to New Caledonia where it is restricted to less than five locations. There has been a recent decline in the health of some high altitude stands. Read full species entry >

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