Biologists have widely documented how the local environment influences plants. Recent findings suggest the reverse is also true: plant distribution and functioning control the local energy balance at Earth’s surface and directly modify regional and global scale climate. These downstream climate impacts initiated by ecosystem change further impact ecosystems living far from the original perturbation.
“Ecoclimate teleconnections” are an emerging frontier in ecological research, linking terrestrial ecosystems to one another mediated by the atmosphere. Here we will give an overview of the conceptual framework of ecoclimate teleconnections and review past work on the subject. We will discuss how the framework can be used generate and test hypotheses about the linkages between ecosystems and climate.