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High-altitude trees are seeing an all-time low in the face of climate change.

Photo credit: Nature World News

(Photo : FIU) Kenneth Feeley measures the diameter of a tree in the lowland Amazonian rainforest.

Amazonian Trees are Migrating: More Climate Change Troubles

The trees are moving, the trees are moving! And that’s bad news for the trees that already have nowhere to go. New research has revealed that while low-land tropical forests are reaching new heights, high-altitude trees are seeing an all-time low in the face of climate change.

That’s at least according to a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which details how tropical tree species in the Andes are at risk of extinction with ongoing warming.

The forests that surround the iconic ruins of Machu Picchu may be in for a bit of an overhaul if climate change has its way. (Photo : icelight) - http://images.natureworldnews.com/data/images/full/17696/machu-picchu.jpg?w=600
The forests that surround the iconic ruins of Machu Picchu may be in for a bit of an overhaul if climate change has its way. (Photo : icelight) – http://images.natureworldnews.com/data/images/full/17696/machu-picchu.jpg?w=600

“The effects of climate change are everywhere – you can’t escape it,” Kenneth J. Feeley, a researcher with Florida International University, said in a statement. “Some people hold the notion that the Amazon is an isolated ecosystem, immune to [temperature] disturbances. We need to change our mindset and open our eyes to the fact that even in the middle of the Amazon or the remote Andes Mountains, species are at risk. Tropical forests, and the thousands of rare or endemic species they support, are highly sensitive to changes in climate and that they are perhaps some of the most threatened ecosystems of all. Climate change is pervasive and dangerous.”

According to Feeley, while the effects climate change and rising temperatures have on forests have indeed been extensively studied, researchers have mostly focused on aging adult trees or a forest as a whole. That’s why the researcher and his team decided to look closer – specifically at low-altitude verses high-altitude trees. What they found was a stark example of how climate change’s influence can go unnoticed.

Read the full article: Nature World News

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.