uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Determining the response of African biota to climate change: using the past to model the future
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
Show others and affiliations
2013 (English)In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8436, Vol. 368, no 1625, 20120491- p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Prediction of biotic responses to future climate change in tropical Africa tends to be based on two modelling approaches: bioclimatic species envelope models and dynamic vegetation models. Another complementary but underused approach is to examine biotic responses to similar climatic changes in the past as evidenced in fossil and historical records. This paper reviews these records and highlights the information that they provide in terms of understanding the local-and regional-scale responses of African vegetation to future climate change. A key point that emerges is that a move to warmer and wetter conditions in the past resulted in a large increase in biomass and a range distribution of woody plants up to 400-500 km north of its present location, the so-called greening of the Sahara. By contrast, a transition to warmer and drier conditions resulted in a reduction in woody vegetation in many regions and an increase in grass/savanna-dominated landscapes. The rapid rate of climate warming coming into the current interglacial resulted in a dramatic increase in community turnover, but there is little evidence for widespread extinctions. However, huge variation in biotic response in both space and time is apparent with, in some cases, totally different responses to the same climatic driver. This highlights the importance of local features such as soils, topography and also internal biotic factors in determining responses and resilience of the African biota to climate change, information that is difficult to obtain from modelling but is abundant in palaeoecological records.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 368, no 1625, 20120491- p.
Keyword [en]
Africa, ecosystem services, climate change, aridity, precipitation, palaeoecology
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-220962DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0491ISI: 000331220500018OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-220962DiVA: diva2:707461
Available from: 2014-03-24 Created: 2014-03-24 Last updated: 2014-03-24Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(1024 kB)115 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 1024 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Bennett, Keith D.
By organisation
In the same journal
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences
Natural Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 115 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 210 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link