Researchers have discovered that the numbers of plant species recorded by botanists have increased in locations where the climate has changed most rapidly, and especially in relatively cold parts of the world.
Human activity has been responsible for substantial declines in biodiversity at the global level, to such an extent that there are calls to describe the modern epoch as ‘The Anthropocene’.
But although the total number of plant species on the planet may be in decline, the average number of plant species found locally – the so-called local or alpha diversity of a site – seems to be stable, or even increasing in places.
Scientists at the University of York think that the ‘disruption’ of these local plant communities by rapid climate change, especially changes in rainfall, may be allowing new species in and fuelling these local diversity increases. MORE
Header image: Warmth-loving bee orchids (Ophrys apifera) have started arriving at a much wider variety of sites across the north of England, taking advantage of the changing climate. Credit: Prof Chris Thomas, University of York.