Project in the picture

Plant responses to climate change in ecological corridors

Climate change is causing changes in the distribution of vegetation across the globe. When plants are migrating to track the shifting isotherms, they often have to move through fragmented landscapes. Ecological corridors (e.g. hedgerows and road verges) are being conserved and established mostly to improve landscape connectivity. However, we still lack a thorough understanding of how plant dynamics and migration in these corridors is affected by climate change. In this project, we will address this knowledge gap by applying a rarely used combination of observational, experimental and modelling methods.


Understanding the role of hedgerows and road verges as a potential conservation corridor for plant species in the face of climate change is urgently needed to improve their management and conservation in agricultural landscapes on the longer term.


We will apply a rarely used combination of observational, experimental and modelling methods: (1) Observation of plant species in ecological corridors (hedgerows & road verges) and original habitats (forests and grasslands) along a macroclimatic gradient from northern France to central Norway. (2) Experimental warming of two forest herb species in hedgerows and adjacent forests along a latitudinal gradient. (3) Modelling the rate of population spread for forest herbs in ecological corridors in the face of climate change.


The project is coordinated by Fornalab, Ghent University, Belgium, by Thomas Vanneste (, Pieter De Frenne and Kris Verheyen, in collaboration with the FLEUR network.