A recent paper from the University of Arizona claims “Grasses across the globe may be unable to keep pace with a changing climate, threatening some of the world’s most critical food sources, according to new research by University of Arizona ecologists.”
The study compared “past rates of niche change in 236 species of plants in the grass family with projected rates of climatic change by 2070, the team led by Alice Cang and John Wiens found that the rate of future climate change may dramatically outpace the capabilities of grasses to change their niches and survive.” (Read press release here and the full paper here.)
I see two problems with the claim:
1) Past rates of niche change reflected existing conditions at the time and does not prove that plants cannot adapt at a faster rate if they had to. The authors admit this deep in the paper.
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