09 Jan 2012:
Mountain Plants Disappearing
As The Climate Warms, New Study Says
A new study says that a warming climate is having a more profound effect on the world’s mountain vegetation than previously believed and that some alpine meadows could vanish altogether
within a few
The alpine species Nevadensia purpurea
decades. After comparing vegetation samples from 60 mountain summits in 13 European nations — collected in 2001 and then again in 2008 — a team of scientists found that cold-loving plants are being pushed out by plants that thrive in warmer temperatures. While earlier studies have made this conclusion at regional levels, researchers say this is the first time that the phenomenon has been shown on a continental scale. And they say it is happening more quickly than expected. “Many cold-loving species are literally running out of mountain,” said Michael Gottfried, a researcher with the Austria-based Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments
, which coordinated the study. “In some of the lower mountains in Europe, we could see alpine meadows disappearing and dwarf shrubs taking over within the next few decades.” The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Accepting entries through June 15, 2015.
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.