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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