Plant database provides insight into climate change effects

Plant traits determine how plants compete for resources (light, water, soil nutrients), where and how fast they can grow and, ultimately, how plants influence ecosystem properties such as rates of nutrient cycling, water use and carbon dioxide uptake.

A major bottleneck to modelling the effects of climate change at ecosystem and whole-earth scales has been a lack of trait data for sufficiently large numbers of species. A database was published this week that contains about three million trait entries for 69,000 out of the world’s 300,000 plant species.

“This huge advance in data availability will lead to more reliable predictions of how vegetation boundaries and ecosystem properties will shift under future climate and land-use change scenarios”, said Dr Ian Wright, one of the researchers involved in the project.

Read more at Macquarie University