Many individual studies have shown that the timing of leaf senescence in boreal and temperate deciduous forests in the northern hemisphere is influenced by rising temperatures, but there is limited consensus on the magnitude, direction and spatial extent of this relationship.
Gill et al. conduct a meta-analysis of studies that report the timing of autumn leaf senescence in the northern hemisphere and show that increased temperatures are associated with larger senescence delays at low latitudes than at high latitudes. Senescence at high-latitude sites is more sensitive to photoperiod and at low-latitude sites it is more sensitive to temperature. Differences in the drivers of senescence between high- and low-latitude ecosystems have implications for both plant community interactions and ecosystem carbon storage.
This article appears in the special issue Plants and Climate Change.