Ciência e Agrotecnologia
Print version ISSN 1413-7054
BARBOSA, João Paulo Rodrigues Alves Delfino et al. Plant physiological ecology and the global changes. Ciênc. agrotec. [online]. 2012, vol.36, n.3, pp. 253-269. ISSN 1413-7054. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-70542012000300001.
The global changes are marked by alteration on the normal patterns of important biochemical and biophysical processes of the Earth. However, the real effects as well as the feedbacks of the global changes over vegetation are still unclear. Part of this uncertainty can be attributed to the inattention of stakeholders and scientists towards vegetation and its complex interrelations with the environment, which drive plant physiological processes in different space-time scales. Notwithstanding, some key subjects of the global changes could be better elucidated with a more plant physiological ecology approach. We discuss some issues related to this topic, going through some limitations of approaching vegetation as a static component of the biosphere as the other sub-systems of the Earth-system change. With this perspective, this review is an initial reflection towards the assessment of the role and place of vegetation structure and function in the global changes context. We reviewed the Earth-system and global changes terminology; attempted to illustrate key plant physiological ecology researches themes in the global changes context; consider approaching plants as complex systems in order to adequately quantify systems characteristics as sensibility, homeostasis, and vulnerability. Moreover, we propose insights that would allow vegetation studies and scaling procedures in the context of the Earth-system. We hope this review will assist researchers on their strategy to identify, understand and anticipate the potential effects of global changes over the most vulnerable vegetation processes from the leaf to the global levels.
Keywords : Landscape ecology; vegetation modeling; remote sensing; scaling problems; vulnerability.