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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d96jul14

"Atmospheric Modification and Vegetation Responses to Environmental Stress," R.F. Sage (Dept. Botany, Univ. Toronto, Toronto ON M5S 3B2, Can.), Global Change Biol., 2(2), 79-83, Apr. 1996.

Summarizes an international workshop (May 1995, Lake Tahoe, Calif.) with 31 presentations on the current understanding of the interacting effects on plants and soils of: rising CO2 and drought, salinity, temperature, nutrient deficiency, and ozone and UV-B stress. Consensus statements were formulated on a number of questions, separately by one working group composed of agricultural researchers, and by another consisting of natural systems specialists. Both agreed that increasing land use by humans could easily obscure direct responses of ecosystems to changing atmospheric conditions, and that this factor must be incorporated into estimates of global change impacts.

Item #d96jul15

"Physiological and Growth Responses of Arctic Plants to a Field Experiment Simulating Climate Change," F.S. Chapin III (Dept. Integrative Biol., Univ. California, Berkeley CA 94720), G.R. Shaver, Ecology, 77(3), 822-840, Apr. 1996.

Manipulations of light, temperature, nutrients, and length of growing season in directions to simulate global environmental change altered the biomass of the four most abundant vascular plant species in tussock tundra of northern Alaska. Discusss why the processes that are readily integrated at annual time steps (shoot, growth, shoot mortality, allocation) were more useful than instantaneous physiological measurements in predicting decadal vegetation changes.

Item #d96jul16

"Recent Advance of the Arctic Treeline Along the Eastern Coast of Hudson Bay," K. Lescop-Sinclair (Dept. Biol., Univ. Laval, Ste.-Foy PQ G1K 7P4, Can.), S. Payette, J. Ecol., 83(6), 929-936, Dec. 1995.

Although previous studies have examined the impact on trees of the general warming in the Northern Hemisphere since the end of the 1800s, few have dealt specifically with Arctic treeline shifts. This survey shows that the treeline has been displaced about 12 km towards Hudson Bay over the period, most likely as a result of the recent warming.

Item #d96jul17

"Evolution of Body Size in the Woodrat over the Past 25,000 Years of Climate Change," F.A. Smith (Dept. Biol., Univ. New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131), J.L. Betancourt, J.H. Brown, Science, 270(5244), 2012-2014, Dec. 22, 1995.

Microevolutionary changes in the body size of the bushy-tailed woodrat (Neotoma cinerea) since the last glacial maximum were estimated from measurements of fecal pellets preserved in paleomiddens in the western U.S. The changes closely track regional temperature fluctuations simulated by a climate model, and those estimated by isotope analysis, with body size increasing during times of warming. By providing detailed temporal sequences of body sizes from many locations, fossil woodrat middens permit precise quantification of responses to climate change that have occurred in the past and may occur in the future.

Item #d96jul18

"Protecting Endangered Species Under Future Climate Change: From Single-Species Perservation to an Anticipatory Policy Approach," C.A. Bloomgarden (Dept. Natural Resour., Fernow Hall 312C, Cornell Univ., Ithaca NY 14853), Environ. Mgmt., 19(5), 641-648, Sep.-Oct. 1995.

Discusses how anthropogenic climate change presents a unique challenge for endangered species policy, and an opportunity for policy makers to develop a more productive and robust approach to preserving the nation's biological resources. The U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 will not accomplish the task as long as it remains focused on protecting species individually. The act must not be abandoned, but should be reinforced by better integration of scientific expertise into habitat and community preservation, and accomodation to a longer-term perspective.

Item #d96jul19

"Responses of Arctic Tundra to Experimental and Observed Changes in Climate," F.S. Chapin III (Dept. Integrative Biol., Univ. California, Berkeley CA 94720), G.R. Shaver et al., Ecology, 76(3), 694-711, 1995.

Light, temperature and nutrients were manipulated in moist tussock tundra. Some manipulations altered certain ecosystem properties in less than a decade, showing that Arctic vegetation at this site is sensitive to climate change. In general, short-term (three-year) responses were poor predictors of long-term (nine-year) changes in community composition. During the nine-year study, which coincided with the warmest decade on record in the region, biomass of one dominant tundra species unexpectedly changed in control plots in the direction predicted by these experiments and by Holocene pollen records. This suggests that regional climatic warming may already be altering the species composition of Alaskan Arctic tundra.

Item #d96jul20

"The Effects of Long-Term Elevation of Air Temperature and CO2 on Frost Hardiness of Scots Pine," T. Repo (Faculty of Forestry, Univ. Joensuu, POB 111, FIN-80101 Joensuu, Finland), Plant, Cell & Environ., 19(2), 209-216, Feb. 1996.

Studied 20- to 25-year-old saplings for two years. The risks of frost damage are marked in the predicted climatic conditions in Finland, and depend on how the occurrence of the frost episodes changes with respect to climatic warming during the annual cycle, especially in autumn and spring. Conditions in mid-winter are not thought to be critical for frost injury to trees in the future.

Item #d96jul21

"Towards a Better Experimental Basis for Upscaling Plant Responses to Elevated CO2 and Climate Warming," Ch. Körner (Inst. Botany, Univ. Basel, CH-4056 Basel, Switz.), Plant, Cell & Environ., 18(10), 1101-1110, Oct. 1995.

Few of the most common assumptions used in modeling plant and ecosystem responses to elevated CO2 and temperatures have been tested under realistic life conditions. Identifies unexpected discrepancies between predictions and experimental findings, which indicate that a better empirical basis is required for predictions. Offers ten suggestions for improving our ability to scale up from experimental conditions to the real world.

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