Climate and Mountain Forests Study: Abstract

Background analysis
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“Climate change is not a new topic in
biology….. Observations of range shifts in
parallel with climate change … date back to the
mid-1700s.”

Parmesan, Camille. “Ecological and Evolutionary
Responses to Recent Climate Change.” The Annual
Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
2006.
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Recent paper available as PDF file

Proceedings National Academy of Sciences
August 19, 2008
vol. 105  no. 33  pp. 11823-11826

“Rapid shifts in plant distribution with recent climate change”
Anne E. Kelly and Michael L. Goulden

Edited by Christopher B. Field, Carnegie
Institution of Washington, Stanford, CA, and
approved June 6, 2008 (received for review March
24, 2008)

ABSTRACT: A change in climate would be expected
to shift plant distribution as species expand in
newly favorable areas and decline in increasingly
hostile locations. We compared surveys of plant
cover that were made in 1977 and 2006 -2007 along
a 2,314-m elevation gradient in Southern
California’s Santa Rosa Mountains. Southern
California’s climate warmed at the surface, the
precipitation variability increased, and the
amount of snow decreased during the 30-year
period preceding the second survey. We found that
the average elevation of the dominant plant
species rose by appox 65 meters between the
surveys. This shift cannot be attributed to
changes in air pollution or fire frequency and
appears to be a consequence of changes in
regional climate.

KEYWORDS: plant migration  range shift

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