London: Forests featuring dense canopies develop a microclimate that protects many cold-adapted plant species from climate change, a new study has shown.
According to researchers, plants that favoured cooler conditions were better off better under dense canopies than in ones that were more open to the elements.
A team of international researchers asserted that the conditions may be "critical mechanism" in the conservation of forest plant diversity.
The scientists headed by scientists from Belgium said that around the Earth, climate warming is increasing the dominance of warm-adapted species - a process described as `thermophilisation.`
The team gathered information from vegetation survey from more than 1,400 plots in temperate forests across North America and Europe and then compared the findings from an original survey with a repeated survey that was carried out 34.5 years later.
They discovered that the thermophilisation of vegetation was lowest in forests which featured dense canopies.
The researchers said that these conditions offered protection to forest herbs and tree seedlings from summer drought, which decreased mortality and buffered the impacts of large-scale climate change.
The findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.