Research Topic

Predicting and Managing Climate-Driven Range Shifts in Plants

About this Research Topic

As the Earth's climate warms and precipitation patterns shift, we expect the geographic ranges of many species, including plants, to shift as well. However, as sessile organisms, plants face a number of challenges such as dispersal limitation (including seed number, dispersal distance, availability of animal dispersers, and landscape connectivity) and establishment limitation (including unsuitable soil conditions or competition from existing vegetation). Predicting changes in habitat suitability is also challenging given uncertainties in climate projections; that different plant species may have different responses to changes in the amount, timing, and extremes of temperature and precipitation; and that populations may exhibit evolutionary responses that change their sensitivity. Such predictions are important for targeting conservation and management actions. Some tools that may help include greater computational power for running complex models and increasing availability of both plant trait data and observational data of ongoing range shifts.

The goal of this Research Topic is to highlight the importance of understanding range shifts in plants, to review what is known about factors shaping plant range shift responses to climate change, and to identify key knowledge gaps that must be addressed by future research.

Papers addressing any of these issues are welcome; those that integrate several will be favored.


Keywords: Climate change, Range shift, Dispersal, Competition, Adaptation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

As the Earth's climate warms and precipitation patterns shift, we expect the geographic ranges of many species, including plants, to shift as well. However, as sessile organisms, plants face a number of challenges such as dispersal limitation (including seed number, dispersal distance, availability of animal dispersers, and landscape connectivity) and establishment limitation (including unsuitable soil conditions or competition from existing vegetation). Predicting changes in habitat suitability is also challenging given uncertainties in climate projections; that different plant species may have different responses to changes in the amount, timing, and extremes of temperature and precipitation; and that populations may exhibit evolutionary responses that change their sensitivity. Such predictions are important for targeting conservation and management actions. Some tools that may help include greater computational power for running complex models and increasing availability of both plant trait data and observational data of ongoing range shifts.

The goal of this Research Topic is to highlight the importance of understanding range shifts in plants, to review what is known about factors shaping plant range shift responses to climate change, and to identify key knowledge gaps that must be addressed by future research.

Papers addressing any of these issues are welcome; those that integrate several will be favored.


Keywords: Climate change, Range shift, Dispersal, Competition, Adaptation


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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