Climate warming drives local extinction: Evidence from observation and experimentation

Despite increasing concern about elevated extinction risk as global temperatures rise, it is difficult to confirm causal links between climate change and extinction. By coupling 25 years of in situ climate manipulation with experimental seed introductions and both historical and current plant surveys, we identify causal, mechanistic links between climate change and the local extinction of a widespread mountain plant (Androsace septentrionalis). Climate warming causes precipitous declines in population size by reducing fecundity and survival across multiple life stages.

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