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dwf1967 t1_j9153sm wrote

I've seen it in my adult lifetime. I first started climbing in the Wind River Range in the late 1980's. Today the entire species composition of the upper basins has changed.


realestatebay t1_j97vrlf wrote

It's striking how fast the changes are happening, even in our own lifetimes. The impact on the ecosystem could be significant.


hookertime t1_j94cysi wrote

I went to geology field camp in the Wind River Range in 2012. What's the difference been?


schad4574 t1_j98t5a7 wrote

The difference is that the plant species composition in the upper basins of the Wind River Range has changed.


androbran t1_j91bbck wrote

Yep, there are places I have routinely backpacked for decades and during that time places that were once alpine meadows have now slowly turned into forests because of changing temperatures


meat_thistle t1_j96dg2d wrote

Sometimes forest encroachment happens in meadows and grasslands due to the lack of forest fires rather than climate changes. Climate change is real and is affecting plant and animal composition at higher elevations and northern latitudes. Smokey the Bear isn’t real.


nikidisucy t1_j98ybqt wrote

That's a good point - forest encroachment can also be caused by the suppression of natural wildfires, but climate change is still a major factor.


howmuchisazjay t1_j96cgc6 wrote

I could be wrong but isn't most vegetation hindered by reduced oxygen level after 7k ft?


yagodemalina t1_j99621r wrote

Reduced oxygen levels at higher elevations can certainly impact vegetation, but climate change is also playing a role in the rapid spread of plants up mountains.


710211 t1_j99hiai wrote

Changing temperatures are causing alpine meadows to turn into forests over time, which can impact the ecosystem in complex ways.


Lonny_loss t1_j92gm5g wrote

To be fair, that’s just how succession in forests works. Meadows don’t stay meadows forever.


dumnezero t1_j92my6e wrote

Alpine meadows, natural ones, grow in places where it's hostile for trees. There are multiple stressors that are correlated with altitude.

Here's an intro article:

If you're thinking of semi-natural (man made) grasslands in mountainous areas, then, yes, the succession to trees is natural.

Mountains are hotspots of biodiversity. But the climate warming effect is known already: as the climate is warming, species are moving up the mountain, and it's not just plants. The mountain gets narrower towards the top, which leads to more crowding, and the species at the top already have nowhere to go.


kingbao888 t1_j99obfk wrote

Yes, natural factors like altitude can also play a role in determining which plant species thrive in different areas.


Lonny_loss t1_j93ozd6 wrote

It really just depends on the topography


placeflacepleat t1_j94izgd wrote

It really doesn't though. Out here in the US pacific NW, timberline lodge on Mt hood is an example. You get to an elevation where it's simply too cold for trees to grow any further up. Obviously close to the lodge the flora are somewhat maintained, but the altitude and temp have kept it tree free since before white guys showed up. Succession simply can't happen, at least currently.


harishahuja t1_j98q74g wrote

In some areas, the altitude and temperature are simply too extreme for trees to grow, but this is not the case everywhere.


huangjiajia8 t1_j96vy35 wrote

Topography is certainly a factor, but climate change is still playing a major role in the rapid spread of plants up mountains.


AllanfromWales1 t1_j91k010 wrote

Read the title. "How fast does thought spread up mountains?".

The actual paper is both interesting and hopeful for our futures assuming continuing global warming, though further research in other locations would be helpful.


iperus0351 t1_j91v673 wrote

It is a neat fact. The area of the world that is at high elevation compared to what we are loosing below is significant. We need more aggressive legislation to protect wilderness and clean up industries.

Big plastic could have been solved with proper infrastructure. Instead they ran a campaign to convince the world it was the end users fault. Plants and power stations that break down plastic are band and protested. It’s really frustrating because a industrial problem needs a industrial solution. People don’t believe more reactors and distillation towers are the solution.

Sorry I rant about plastic waste a lot.


AllanfromWales1 t1_j92bklg wrote

I've had recent involvement in carbon capture technology for power plants and other large CO2 emitters, and there's still an anti-technology bias there also. I don't personally hold with conspiracy theories, I suspect it's just that those who shout the loudest against emissions and pollutants tend to see 'green' as being equated with pre-industrial approaches.


kopytt86 t1_j97raj8 wrote

It's important to explore all possible solutions to reduce emissions and address climate change, including innovative technologies like carbon capture.


Xinlitik t1_j93zmgh wrote

Honest question: is this actually a bad thing, aside from the implications (ie climate change)? More vegetation could be good, no?


rocketsocks t1_j94oebl wrote

It's complicated. It could push some species to extinction, which would generally be considered bad.


Roy111222 t1_j998ots wrote

Agreed - the impact of these changes is complicated and hard to predict with certainty.


DeepSpaceNebulae t1_j95vfhy wrote

In short, it’s complicated

It could effect wildlife as a niche is being encroached. It could also effect growth as perhaps the lack of certain vegetation helps with nutrient rich runoff coming down the mountain.

As for the change in number of trees, I’m going to take a guess that it would be a drop in the bucket relative to the forest clearings we’ve been doing elsewhere


stevepremo t1_j97qpnf wrote

Heck, here in California logging seems to be a drop in the bucket compared to disease and fire. Our forests are dying.


o0_Shark_0o t1_j97spt6 wrote

Yes, there are many factors to consider and more research is needed to fully understand the impact of this phenomenon.


re4ctor t1_j961t1z wrote

There are animals that live up mountain as a way to escape predators. Their refuge would be at risk. Similar to plant species that would not be able to compete. So it’s more about diversity of these unique ecologies.


sonona70 t1_j98o351 wrote

More vegetation can be good, but it can also impact the ecosystem in complex ways, potentially leading to extinctions and other negative outcomes.


Lord_Bob_ t1_j9ag8wh wrote

Did you see that plants are moving 4 times faster than anticipated and at the same time not fast enough to keep pace with the temperature change.


RasperGuy t1_j92i6aa wrote

I tried to read most of the study, does it speak to variances in extreme temperatures or weather conditions (hail, wind)? Trees to not do well at high altitudes for generally one reason, high winds mixed with significantly low temperatures. If we're seeing a warming trend, I wonder if extreme lows are also climbing.


Corrupted_G_nome t1_j92wqwx wrote

They are. Usually very newswortht when they become major events. The US suffered hundreds of billions in damages in the last 3 years from intense snowstorms in places that very rarely if ever get light snow, getting real snowstorms (laughs in Canadian).

We also have been having arctic lows mixed with warm air causing freezing rain and dangerous conditions in our much shotened winter.

Melting ice cools the air arround it making for colder oceans and atmospheres in summer months. Usually lots of shelf ice melting can impact sheet ice development.


hogird t1_j97sg38 wrote

Extreme weather conditions and temperature variances are certainly a factor in how plants and trees respond to changes in their environment.


RasperGuy t1_j98n8ix wrote

So then why are trees growing at higher altitudes.?


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DollyPartWithOn t1_j93iik4 wrote

So, how do we stop these insidious chlorophyllian invaders? Blow up the mountains?


LiterallyKey t1_j94lah7 wrote

They heard wind of the kudzu advance and are trying to flee


gangqiang0214 t1_j98u8fc wrote

Kudzu and other invasive species can have a significant impact on native plant and animal populations, so it's important to address these issues as well.


noopenusernames t1_j94tanl wrote

I’m guessing because global warming is shifting the plants’ preferred climate further up in altitude?


Bitcoinz4us t1_j97ra3a wrote

Yes, global warming is causing plant species to shift their preferred climate further up in altitude, leading to changes in the composition of ecosystems.