Global Warming and its effect on plant communities

As we all know, global warming is a phenomenon that has had a major impact on many plant and animal species. Over the past 100 years, global temperatures have gone up about 1°C, and is only predicted to continue with this increase, at a very rapid rate. With this rapid increase in temperature a challenge plant species and their ecosystems are facing currently, is how to adapt to these changes in order to survive(Root, 2003).

With climate change, there can be many changes in species. One of these changes can include, having the density of species to change at various locations. Another change can be that when the earth begins warming, species will begin to have their phenology affected. The phenology of a species is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events. Phenology examines how these life cycle events are influenced by seasonal changes in climate. From this increase in temperature many species of plants have shown changes such as having earlier flowering dates, longer live spans, as well as changes in morphology (Root, 2003).

These changes in phenology can overtime lead faster generation times. These faster generations times can in turn cause plants to from mutations in their development. In order to help stop the increase of global warming, we must reduce our production of man-made greenhouse gases. Some of these man made greenhouse gases include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), as well as sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) (Root, 2003).

There were several efforts that have been done to lower greenhouses gas emissions, especially CO2. Of these efforts have been to plant more trees in the environment. As you know trees use CO2 for their photosynthetic process. By planting more trees, we will be able to try and reduce these CO2 emissions and help save more plant species as well as the environment.


Image source :


Root T, Price J, Hall K, Schneider S, Rosenzweig C, Pounds J. Fingerprints of global warming on wild animals and plants. Nature. 2003;421(6918):57-60.

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