The Plant Community Composition of Canada's Southwest Yukon
Danby, R.K., Koh, S., Hik, D.S. and Price L.W. 2011. Four decades of plant community change in the alpine tundra of southwest Yukon, Canada. Ambio 40: 660-671.
The four researchers report that "species richness increased on all slopes, diversity increased on three of the four slopes, and community composition changed significantly on each of the four slopes, with the most significant change occurring on the southwest aspect." These changes, as they continue "were the result of two factors: (1) the addition of many new, less abundant, species and (2) the reduction in relative importance values of many of the most dominant species." And they say that the increase in species richness and diversity they observed "is consistent with the results of repeat surveys from several other alpine and subarctic sites," citing the studies of Kullman (2007), Holzinger et al. (2008), Vittoz et al. (2009) and Odland et al. (2010)," while noting that "dominant species were not entirely replaced or eliminated over the 42 years."
The results of this study suggest that as earth's climate warms and ever more species expand the cold-limited boundaries of their current ranges northward in the Northern Hemisphere, high-latitude ecosystems will likely begin to support a greater number of more diverse species, but without necessarily displacing the species that previously resided there.
Holzinger, B., Hulber, K., Camenisch, M. and Grabherr, G. 2007. Changes in plant species richness over the last century in the eastern Swiss Alps: Elevational gradient, bedrock effects and migration rates. Plant Ecology 195: 179-196.
Kullman, L. 2007. Long term geobotanical observations of climate change impacts in the Scandes of West-Central Sweden. Nordic Journal of Botany 24: 45-467.
Odland, A., Hoitomt, T. and Olsen, S.L. 2010. Increasing vascular plant richness on 13 high mountain summits in southern Norway since the early 1970s. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 42: 458-470.
Vittoz, P., Randin, C., Dutoit, A., Bonnet, F. and Hegg, O. 2009. Low impact of climate change on subalpine grasslands in the Swiss Northern Alps. Global Change Biology 15: 209-220.