Northern California (WiredPRNews.com) — A new research study conducted in the mountains of Southern California suggests that the recent warming trend is responsible for the massive dying off and migration of nine different plants from white furs to desert shrubs to higher ground.
Within the past three decades, most of the plants have moved to elevations around 200 ft above their earlier range of growth. The findings give a glimpse into what might happen to the vegetation around the world as the planet faces unavoidable global warming. The scientists have issued a warning that the climatic changes caused by humans has been threatening enough to turn plants into a refugee status as they are migrating to cooler, higher spots for survival. The recent study is the first one to measure physically the changes in location of plants in relation to regional warming.
The Mountains of Santa Rosa is host to diversified habitats that include chaparral, conifer forests, desert scrubs and woodlands. Since the 1970s, this region had been experiencing an average rise in temperature by 2 degrees and extended drought periods. To the surprise of scientists, a large number of dead shrubs and trees were found at low altitudes while flourishing plants were present in higher altitudes. The study found that 9 out of 10 species have moved up by an average of 213 feet on the mountain face.
John Keeley, a research scientist in the U.S. Geological Survey, said that this study gives convincing evidence of plants being migrated. But he also said that the prolonged drought may be one of the major factors behind the migration, rather than rising temperatures. Air pollution had been ruled out as a cause of plant deaths since there were no signs of ozone related damage to the plants in the area.
Wildfires were ruled out as the last blaze occurred over 50 years ago. Though it has not been determined whether the hot temperatures are due to green house gas emissions or not, it has been decided that widespread migration and death of plants is much similar to the global warming forecasts.
Wired Weather Reporter