Canadian Forest Service Publications

Global fern and lycophyte richness explained: How regional and local factors shape plot richness. 2020. Weigand, A.; Abrahamczyk, S.; Aubin, I.; Bita-Nicolae, C.; Bruelheide, H.; Carvajal-Hernández, C.I.; Cicuzza, D.; Nascimento da Costa, L.E.; Csiky, J.; Dengler, J.; de Gasper, A.L.; Guerin, G.R.; Haider, S.; Hernández‐Rojas, A.; Jandt, U.; Reyes‐Chávez, J.; Karger, D.N.; Khine, P.K.; Kluge, J.; Krömer, T.; Lehnert, M.; Lenoir, J.; Moulatlet, G.M.; Aros-Mualin, D.; Noben, S.; Olivares, I.; Quintanilla, L.G.; Reich, P.B.; Salazar, L.; Silva-Mijangos, Tuomisto, H.; Weigelt, P.; Zuquim, G.; Kreft, H.; Kessler, M. Journal of Biogeography 47(1): 59-71.

Year: 2020

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40097

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Plain Language Summary

A fundamental question in plant ecology and biogeography relates to patterns of species diversity, which environmental factors control it and how these controls change with spatial scale. Ferns are an ideal group to study because the ecological and biogeographical processes that link local and regional diversity are relatively well understood, but these patterns are not well understood at broader scales. Using a global dataset that aggregates data on fern diversity from over 83000 plots, a series of models were tested that examined the influence of climate, habitat and topography variables at different scales. Overall, local fern diversity increases with regional diversity up to a limit, after which the trend reverses. Regional fern richness is primarily driven by coarse-scale climatic and environmental factors in combination with strong differences in historical influences between continents. Local richness is most strongly impacted by small scale climatic factors, but also regional climate and its species pool. Models linking coarse scale environment and local diversity had stronger support than those without. By leveraging collaboration between numerous scientists and new statistical tools, these global studies help to better understand current fern diversity and predict how environmental changes could affect it in the future.