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New research from the University of Guelph is dispelling a commonly held assumption about climate change and its impact on forests in Canada and abroad.
It's long been thought that climate change is enabling treelines to march farther uphill and northward. But it turns out that climate warming-induced advances may be halted by unsuitable soils.
Finding - Resource - Managers - Species - Ecosystems
It is an important finding for resource managers looking to preserve individual species or entire ecosystems.
"There's a common belief about the impacts of climate change," said U of G researcher Emma Davis. "It's actually a more complicated story than people believe."
Studies - Canada - Factors - Soil - Properties
Her studies are the first in southwestern Canada to test how factors such as soil properties may affect treeline advance.
Along with Prof. Ze'ev Gedalof, Davis, a recent Ph.D. graduate in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics, looked at plant growth at higher altitudes than normal in the Canadian Rockies. Normally, travelling northward means a temperature drop of about 1 C every 130 kilometres, equivalent to climbing 65 to 100 metres up a mountainside.
Scientists - Warming - Movement - Plants - Alpine
Just as scientists expect climate-induced warming to enable more northerly movement of plants, they also predict the alpine treeline will climb warming mountain slopes.
The U of G researchers grew spruce and fir seedlings at varying elevations beyond their current limits in four locations, including Jasper National Park in Alberta and Kootenay National Park in British Columbia. They also collected soil samples from the same areas in which to grow spruce seeds in growth chambers at the University.
Controlling for conditions...
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