Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate changes creating green and flowering mountains

15.05.2008
Our mountains are growing greener. At the border between woods and bare mountain, trees that require warm temperatures, such as oak, elm, maple, and black alder, have become established for the first time in 8,000 years. This is shown in current studies led by Leif Kullman, professor of physical geography at Umeå University in Sweden.

Over the last century, the temperature has risen by more than one degree. The cooling trend over several thousand years is broken, and this has triggered changes in flora, fauna, and landscapes. In important respects, the present state is similar to what occurred directly after the latest ice age.

"Most noticeable, alongside the melting of glaciers, is an elevating of the timberline by 200 meters. Bare alpine areas are shrinking, and typical Nordic mountain birch forests are losing ground to spruce and pine, which are more competitive in a warmer and drier climate," says Leif Kullman.

The alpine landscape is becoming generally greener and more inviting. Many mountain plants have produced profuse blossoms as well as prodigious amounts of seeds and fruits in the last few years.

Plants that were previously limited to the borderline between woods and bare mountain are now rapidly climbing alpine slopes.

"The changes are so rapid that plants like fireweed (rose bay) and rowan have even taken root in the gravel up on melting glaciers. Even wood anemones are appearing higher up the mountain," says Leif Kullman.

The alpine flora and biodiversity are thus burgeoning dramatically. More and more plants are migrating to the high mountains since the warmer climate is conducive to them, including contorta pine and cembra pine, which are not native to Scandinavia.

The distribution of the mountain landscape's various plant communities is in flux. Certain plants, such as mosses and low-growing herbs, are adapted to a short growing period after the snow melts. As the snow thaws earlier and earlier, these plants have been replaced by brush and grass heaths, which has lent the mountain slopes a steppe-like appearance. Mountain fens are drying up, which means that sedge and grass vegetation is growing denser, new species are migrating in, and in some places glorious alpine meadows are appearing. At the highest elevations, formerly the domain of sterile gravel and boulders, fens are occurring.

Changes in flora impact the conditions for the mountain fauna. Leif Kullman has observed new bird and butterfly species, such as wrens and admirals, at ever higher elevations.

The knowledge generated by the current monitoring system is a precondition for models that describe the development of a possibly warmer future.

"The alpine world is evincing truly major changes despite the modest increase in temperature. Present prognoses of a temperature increase of three degrees by 2100 will entail considerably more sweeping changes. We can expect fewer bare mountain areas, even more lush vegetation, and a richer flora," says Leif Kullman.

The studies were carried out primarily in Sweden's southern mountain regions in the provinces of Jämtland, Härjedalen, and Dalarna. Data from more than 200 sites have been recorded at various times since 1915. There is no other series of this scope in the world.

Fore further information, please contact:
Leif Kullman, professor of physical geography
Phone: +46 (0)90-786 68 93; cell phone: +46 (0)70-5641848
E-mail: leif.kullman@emg.umu.se
Pressofficer Karin Wikman; karin.wikman@adm.umu.se; +46-703 136 124

Karin Wikman | idw
Further information:
http://www.teknat.umu.se/aktuellt/kullman.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

Information integration and artificial intelligence for better diagnosis and therapy decisions

24.05.2017 | Information Technology

CRTD receives 1.56 Mill. Euro BMBF-funding for retinal disease research

24.05.2017 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>