Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group

Vegetation sensitivity and climate

Alistair Seddon


A world map showing the sensitivity of vegetation to climate
Sensitivity of vegetation productivity to climate variability (based on temperature, water availability and cloudiness). The index ranges from 0 (low sensitivity, green) to 100 (high sensitivity, red).

How sensitive are Earth's ecosystems to climate variability?

We recently developed a new method to map sensitivity to climate variability, from which two key questions arise.

  • Are these persistent features of different ecosystem types (i.e. sensitive ecosystems are always sensitive because of plant adaptation strategies/traits)?
  • Are they the result of historical disturbances (e.g. climate, land-use)?

A number of different methods (e.g. satellite-based, field-based, palaeoecological studies) can be used to address these questions, involving research with global implications.

Interested? Contact Alistair Seddon