The number of simultaneously acting global change factors has a negative impact on the diversity of plant communities – regardless of the nature of the factors.
The number of simultaneously acting global change factors has a negative impact on the diversity of plant communities – regardless of the nature of the factors. This is one of the findings of a recent study by ecologists from the University of Konstanz.
Global warming, as a component of climate change, is probably one of the best-known risks to the ecological balance of ecosystems and global biodiversity. However, ecosystems worldwide are also exposed to many other human-induced global change factors (GCFs) – with the number and intensity of simultaneously acting factors increasing. Examples include phenomena such as light pollution, i.e. the brightening of the night sky caused by artificial light sources, or the accumulation of pesticides, such as fungicides, in the environment.
“We have a pretty clear picture of how some of these factors individually can affect parts of an ecosystem, such as a plant community. In fact, their individual impacts on a community can be quite different and even opposite,” explains Benedikt Speißer, first author of the recent study and doctoral student in the laboratory of Mark van Kleunen in the Department of Biology at the University of Konstanz. What happens when an ecosystem is exposed to several of these factors simultaneously has been less well studied, although this is likely the case in most natural ecosystems.
Read more at University of Konstanz
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