To predict further invasions of pests it is important to understand what factors contribute to the genetic structure of their populations. Cosmopolitan pest species are ideal for studying how different agroecosystems affect population genetic structure within a species at different climatic extremes. We undertook the first population genetic study of the greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum), a cosmopolitan invasive herbivore, and examined the genetic structure of this species in Northern and Southern Europe. In Finland, cold temperatures limit whiteflies to greenhouses and prevent them from overwintering in nature, and in Greece, milder temperatures allow whiteflies to inhabit both fields and greenhouses year round, providing a greater potential for connectivity among populations. Using nine microsatellite markers, we genotyped 1274 T. vaporariorum females collected from 18 greenhouses in Finland and eight greenhouses as well as eight fields in Greece.
Populations from Finland were less diverse than those from Greece, suggesting that Greek populations are larger and subjected to fewer bottlenecks. Moreover, there was significant population genetic structure in both countries that was explained by different factors. Habitat (field vs. greenhouse) together with longitude explained genetic structure in Greece, whereas in Finland, genetic structure was explained by host plant species. Furthermore, there was no temporal genetic structure among populations in Finland, suggesting that year-round populations are able to persist in greenhouses.
Taken together our results show that greenhouse agroecosystems can limit gene flow among populations in both climate zones. Fragmented populations in greenhouses could allow for efficient pest management. However, pest persistence in both climate zones, coupled with increasing opportunities for naturalization in temperate latitudes due to climate change, highlight challenges for the management of cosmopolitan pests in Northern and Southern Europe.
Conservation strategies are often established without consideration of the impact of climate change. However, this impact is expected to threaten species and ecosystem persistence and to have dramatic effects towards the end of the 21st century. Landscape suitability for species under climate change is determined by several interacting factors including dispersal and human land use. Designing effective conservation strategies at regional scales to improve landscape suitability requires measuring the vulnerabilities of specific regions to climate change and determining their conservation capacities. Although methods for defining vulnerability categories are available, methods for doing this in a systematic, cost-effective way have not been identified. Here, we use an ecosystem model to define the potential resilience of the Finnish forest landscape by relating its current conservation capacity to its vulnerability to climate change. In applying this framework, we take into account the responses to climate change of a broad range of red-listed species with different niche requirements. This framework allowed us to identify four categories in which representation in the landscape varies among three IPCC emission scenarios (B1, low; A1B, intermediate; A2, high emissions): (i) susceptible (B1 = 24.7%, A1B = 26.4%, A2 = 26.2%), the most intact forest landscapes vulnerable to climate change, requiring management for heterogeneity and resilience; (ii) resilient (B1 = 2.2%, A1B = 0.5%, A2 = 0.6%), intact areas with low vulnerability that represent potential climate refugia and require conservation capacity maintenance; (iii) resistant (B1 = 6.7%, A1B = 0.8%, A2 = 1.1%), landscapes with low current conservation capacity and low vulnerability that are suitable for restoration projects; (iv) sensitive (B1 = 66.4%, A1B = 72.3%, A2 = 72.0%), low conservation capacity landscapes that are vulnerable and for which alternative conservation measures are required depending on the intensity of climate change. Our results indicate that the Finnish landscape is likely to be dominated by a very high proportion of sensitive and susceptible forest patches, thereby increasing uncertainty for landscape managers in the choice of conservation strategies.
Ongoing changes in global climate are altering ecological conditions for many species. The consequences of such changes are typically most evident at the edge of the geographical distribution of a species, where range expansions or contractions may occur. Current demographical status at geographical range limits can help us to predict population trends and their implications for the future distribution of the species. Thus, understanding the comparability of demographical patterns occurring along both altitudinal and latitudinal gradients would be highly informative. In this study, we analyse the differences in the demography of two woody species through altitudinal gradients at their southernmost distribution limit and the consistency of demographical patterns at the treeline across a latitudinal gradient covering the complete distribution range. We focus on Pinus sylvestris and Juniperus communis, assessing their demographical structure (density, age and mortality rate), growth, reproduction investment and damage from herbivory on 53 populations covering the upper, central and lower altitudes as well as the treeline at central latitude and northernmost and southernmost latitudinal distribution limits. For both species, populations at the lowermost altitude presented older age structure, higher mortality, decreased growth and lower reproduction when compared to the upper limit, indicating higher fitness at the treeline. This trend at the treeline was generally maintained through the latitudinal gradient, but with a decreased growth at the northern edge for both species and lower reproduction for P. sylvestris. However, altitudinal and latitudinal transects are not directly comparable as factors other than climate, including herbivore pressure or human management, must be taken into account if we are to understand how to infer latitudinal processes from altitudinal data.
Climate change is a major public health threat that is exacerbated by food production. Food items differ substantially in the amount of greenhouse gases their production generates and therefore individuals, if willing, can mitigate climate change through dietary choices. We conducted a population-based cross-sectional study to assess if the understanding of climate change, concern over climate change or socio-economic characteristics are reflected in the frequencies of climate-friendly food choices. The study population comprised 1623 young adults in Finland who returned a self-administered questionnaire (response rate 64.0%). We constructed a Climate-Friendly Diet Score (CFDS) ranging theoretically from -14 to 14 based on the consumption of 14 food items. A higher CFDS indicated a climate-friendlier diet. Multivariate linear regression analyses on the determinants of CFDS revealed that medium concern raised CFDS on average by 0.51 points (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.03, 0.98) and high concern by 1.30 points (95% CI 0.80, 1.80) compared to low concern. Understanding had no effect on CFDS on its own. Female gender raised CFDS by 1.92 (95% CI 1.59, 2.25). Unemployment decreased CFDS by 0.92 (95% CI -1.68, -0.15). Separate analyses of genders revealed that high concern over climate change brought about a greater increase in CFDS in females than in males. Good understanding of climate change was weakly connected to climate-friendly diet among females only. Our results indicate that increasing awareness of climate change could lead to increased consumption of climate-friendly food, reduction in GHG emissions, and thus climate change mitigation.
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Apex predators may buffer bottom-up driven ecosystem change, as top-down suppression may dampen herbivore and mesopredator responses to increased resource availability. However, theory suggests that for this buffering capacity to be realized, the equilibrium abundance of apex predators must increase. This raises the question: will apex predators maintain herbivore/mesopredator limitation, if bottom-up change relaxes resource constraints? Here, we explore changes in mesopredator (red fox Vulpes vulpes) abundance over 220 years in response to eradication and recovery of an apex predator (Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx), and changes in land use and climate which are linked to resource availability. A three-step approach was used. First, recent data from Finland and Sweden were modelled to estimate linear effects of lynx density, land use and winter temperature on fox density. Second, lynx density, land use and winter temperature was estimated in a 22 650 km(2) focal area in boreal and boreo-nemoral Sweden in the years 1830, 1920, 2010 and 2050. Third, the models and estimates were used to project historic and future fox densities in the focal area. Projected fox density was lowest in 1830 when lynx density was high, winters cold and the proportion of cropland low. Fox density peaked in 1920 due to lynx eradication, a mesopredator release boosted by favourable bottom-up changes - milder winters and cropland expansion. By 2010, lynx recolonization had reduced fox density, but it remained higher than in 1830, partly due to the bottom-up changes. Comparing 1830 to 2010, the contribution of top-down limitation decreased, while environment enrichment relaxed bottom-up limitation. Future scenarios indicated that by 2050, lynx density would have to increase by 79% to compensate for a projected climate-driven increase in fox density. We highlight that although top-down limitation in theory can buffer bottom-up change, this requires compensatory changes in apex predator abundance. Hence apex predator recolonization/recovery to historical levels would not be sufficient to compensate for widespread changes in climate and land use, which have relaxed the resource constraints for many herbivores and mesopredators. Variation in bottom-up conditions may also contribute to context dependence in apex predator effects.
The urgent need to mitigate climate change invokes both opportunities and challenges for forest biomass utilization. Fossil fuels can be substituted by using wood products in place of alternative materials and energy, but wood harvesting reduces forest carbon sink and processing of wood products requires material and energy inputs. We assessed the extended life cycle carbon emissions considering substitution impacts for various wood utilization scenarios over 100 years from 2010 onward for Finland. The scenarios were based on various but constant wood utilization structures reflecting current and anticipated mix of wood utilization activities. We applied stochastic simulation to deal with the uncertainty in a number of input variables required. According to our analysis, the wood utilization decrease net carbon emissions with a probability lower than 40% for each of the studied scenarios. Furthermore, large emission reductions were exceptionally unlikely. The uncertainty of the results were influenced clearly the most by the reduction in the forest carbon sink. There is a significant trade-off between avoiding emissions through fossil fuel substitution and reduction in forest carbon sink due to wood harvesting. This creates a major challenge for forest management practices and wood utilization activities in responding to ambitious climate change mitigation targets.
Global environmental challenges require changes in both the production and the consumption of goods. In this paper we analyse how consumers perceive the high environmental burden of meat. We analysed consumer environmental consciousness, including problem awareness and a support to action dimensions, latter including perceived self-efficacy as well as solutions to problems. The solutions were positioned on a continuum from increasing the efficiency of production to discussing sufficiency levels in consumption practices (techno-optimism, local meat, organic meat and meat reduction, respectively). We used a statistically representative survey sample (n = 1890) from the population of Finland and cluster analysis to explore differences among consumers. The analysis revealed that most Finns seem to be rather unsure of the study topic. At the same time they tend to have a comparably high level of self-efficacy (55 per cent of respondents) and endorsement of particularly local meat solution type (55%), followed by organic meat (35%), meat reduction (25%) and techno-optimism (15%), though the neutral stand was the most common one across the data. We also identified six consumer groups that reveal not only a high number of Highly unsure consumers (40%), but also some Rather conscious (20%) and a relatively small number of Highly conscious (8%). In addition, there were also easily observable groups of Careless conscious (14%), Rather unsure (9%) and Resistant (8%). The results highlight the need for a multitude of political actions to guide meat consumption, as there are groups that may benefit from practical tools for making dietary changes as well as groups in need for more comprehensive selection of measures, including environmental information.
Climate change impact assessments are plagued with uncertainties from many sources, such as climate projections or the inadequacies in structure and parameters of the impact model. Previous studies tried to account for the uncertainty from one or two of these. Here, we developed a triple-ensemble probabilistic assessment using seven crop models, multiple sets of model parameters and eight contrasting climate projections together to comprehensively account for uncertainties from these three important sources. We demonstrated the approach in assessing climate change impact on barley growth and yield at Jokioinen, Finland in the Boreal climatic zone and Lleida, Spain in the Mediterranean climatic zone, for the 2050s. We further quantified and compared the contribution of crop model structure, crop model parameters and climate projections to the total variance of ensemble output using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Based on the triple-ensemble probabilistic assessment, the median of simulated yield change was -4% and +16%, and the probability of decreasing yield was 63% and 31% in the 2050s, at Jokioinen and Lleida, respectively, relative to 1981-2010. The contribution of crop model structure to the total variance of ensemble output was larger than that from downscaled climate projections and model parameters. The relative contribution of crop model parameters and downscaled climate projections to the total variance of ensemble output varied greatly among the seven crop models and between the two sites. The contribution of downscaled climate projections was on average larger than that of crop model parameters. This information on the uncertainty from different sources can be quite useful for model users to decide where to put the most effort when preparing or choosing models or parameters for impact analyses. We concluded that the triple-ensemble probabilistic approach that accounts for the uncertainties from multiple important sources provide more comprehensive information for quantifying uncertainties in climate change impact assessments as compared to the conventional approaches that are deterministic or only account for the uncertainties from one or two of the uncertainty sources.
Changes in climate are influencing the distribution and abundance of the world's biota, with significant consequences for biological diversity and ecosystem processes. Recent work has raised concern that populations of moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera) may be particularly susceptible to population declines under environmental change. Moreover, effects of climate change may be especially pronounced in high latitude ecosystems. Here, we examine population dynamics in an assemblage of subarctic forest moths in Finnish Lapland to assess current trajectories of population change. Moth counts were made continuously over a period of 32?years using light traps. From 456 species recorded, 80 were sufficiently abundant for detailed analyses of their population dynamics. Climate records indicated rapid increases in temperature and winter precipitation at our study site during the sampling period. However, 90% of moth populations were stable (57%) or increasing (33%) over the same period of study. Nonetheless, current population trends do not appear to reflect positive responses to climate change. Rather, time-series models illustrated that the per capita rates of change of moth species were more frequently associated negatively than positively with climate change variables, even as their populations were increasing. For example, the per capita rates of change of 35% of microlepidoptera were associated negatively with climate change variables. Moth life-history traits were not generally strong predictors of current population change or associations with climate change variables. However, 60% of moth species that fed as larvae on resources other than living vascular plants (e.g. litter, lichen, mosses) were associated negatively with climate change variables in time-series models, suggesting that such species may be particularly vulnerable to climate change. Overall, populations of subarctic forest moths in Finland are performing better than expected, and their populations appear buffered at present from potential deleterious effects of climate change by other ecological forces.