Climate change lets invaders beat Alpine plants in mountain race

Jul 10, 2017

By Andy Coghlan

As the climate warms up, invasive weeds are outpacing native Alpine plants to the tops of mountains, threatening them with extinction.

To avoid warming temperatures, Alpine plants can migrate to cooler habitats higher up mountains, but new research is showing that invasive species are beating them to it.

“We find that invasive species are responding to climate change far more quickly than the native ones,” says Matteo Dainese of the University of Würzburg in Germany, who led the team studying the phenomenon.

Dainese and his colleagues discovered the unequal race to the summit after studying the distributions of 1300 plant species over 20 years – from 1989 to 2009 – on an Alpine mountain area around Mount Baldo in northeast Italy.

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2 comments on “Climate change lets invaders beat Alpine plants in mountain race

  • To avoid warming temperatures, Alpine plants can migrate to cooler habitats higher up mountains, but new research is showing that invasive species are beating them to it.

    This is happening globally.
    The alpine climate belt is moving up the mountains as the planet warms, so as plants migrate with it, the high alpine species run out of habitat when they reach the summits and can go no higher.

    The same type of habitat reductions are happening for tundra species and ice-age “fossil” remnants, on mountains further north, in places like Scotland and Norway.

    More dire for larger habitats down stream, is the loss of mountain ice-caps which provide dry-season melt water, for greening dry-climate valleys, drinking water, and irrigation of crops.

    Once the seasonal snow cover and harsh winters are gone, the habitats are opened up to invasive species with longer growing seasons and more rapid rates of growth.



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  • As the climate warms up, invasive weeds are outpacing native Alpine plants to the tops of mountains, threatening them with extinction.

    It seems there are also places where humans and their livestock and crops face extinction!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40793019

    Millions of people living in South Asia face a deadly threat from heat and humidity driven by global warming according to a new study.

    Most of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will experience temperatures close to the limits of survivability by 2100, without emissions reductions.

    The research says the fraction of the population exposed to dangerous, humid heat waves may reach 30%.

    South Asia is home to one-fifth of the world’s inhabitants.

    I don’t think there is room for them all in the Himalayas!



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