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Extremes of climate affect spread of tree species

Fagus sylvatica

Extremes of climate could result in a shift in the incidence of the common beech in Switzerland © GünterSchad / pixelio

In a recently published study scientists at the WSL (the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape) working with an international research team demonstrated for the first time that the disappearance of tree species in certain regions is due not just to the higher mean temperature but also to extremes of climate-related events.
Using comprehensive meteorological data on climate variability in Switzerland and national dissemination data for eleven species of trees the research team found that the survival of certain tree species had been hindered - not to say rendered impossible - by extended periods of drought and sharp frosts.
The new findings are of significance to the global discussion on the impact of climate change, especially since climate researchers are expecting an increase in extreme climatic events.
Sources: www.wsl.ch/news/091117_klimavariabilitaet_DE, www.pnas.org/content/106/suppl.2/19723.full (en)