Will plant movements keep up with climate change?

Trends Ecol Evol. 2013 Aug;28(8):482-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2013.04.003. Epub 2013 May 28.


In the face of anthropogenic climate change, species must acclimate, adapt, move, or die. Although some species are moving already, their ability to keep up with the faster changes expected in the future is unclear. 'Migration lag' is a particular concern with plants, because it could threaten both biodiversity and carbon storage. Plant movements are not realistically represented in models currently used to predict future vegetation and carbon-cycle feedbacks, so there is an urgent need to understand how much of a problem failure to track climate change is likely to be. Therefore, in this review, we compare how fast plants need to move with how fast they can move; that is, the velocity of climate change with the velocity of plant movement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization
  • Biodiversity
  • Carbon / metabolism
  • Climate Change*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods
  • Ecosystem
  • Human Activities
  • Humans
  • Seed Dispersal*
  • Species Specificity
  • Time Factors


  • Carbon