I've been taking a few walks in the countryside in Scotland and England this winter (end of December 2014). Some parts of England haven't had any frosts yet, which is very unusual, and it's been generally quite warm since summer ended.
My friends and I agree that there's quite a lot of stuff putting out shoots and buds, as if it's April already. I can imagine that this means a lot of small fragile plants could get killed if a hard frost comes in the next few weeks. If so, it seems natural to expect that next summer will be marked by an absence of these plants, and, being dead, they won't put out seeds or otherwise reproduce for next year. In other words, we're expecting some species to experience localised die-off.
Is this plausible or are we just imagining it? If it's actually happening, is it something to actually be worried about? i.e. will a large portion of the seeds/shoots/buds/whatever refrain from growing even if some are being tricked by the mild winter, or will they be cold-resistant if they're coming up now, or is some other mechanism going to make it all okay? Alternatively, is this winter likely to trigger a large ecological change?
I realise this question doesn't single-out any particular species for attention, and perhaps it's too much of an open question for StackExchange's taste, but I'd very much appreciate some insight into how fragile or robust is the distribution of British plant life when the weather is abnormal, as it is right now.