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Comment on “Changes in Climatic Water Balance Drive Downhill Shifts in Plant Species’ Optimum Elevations”.

Released: 2011
Stephenson, Nathan L. and Adrian J. Das. 2011. Comment on “Changes in Climatic Water Balance Drive Downhill Shifts in Plant Species’ Optimum Elevations”.  Science 334: 177.3. DOI: 10.1126/science.1205740

Crimmins et al. (Reports, 21 January 2011, p. 324) attributed an apparent downward elevational shift of California plant species to a precipitation-induced decline in climatic water deficit. We show that the authors miscalculated deficit, that the apparent decline in species’ elevations is likely a consequence of geographic biases, and that unlike temperature changes, precipitation changes should not be expected to cause coordinated directional shifts in species’ elevations. 

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