How climate change could hinder reforestation efforts, according to experts
Warming temperatures could contribute to the maladaptation of species.
Scientists are researching how to promote global diversity amid warming temperatures, but some of the methods that could prove effective may be further hindered by climate change, according to new research.
The mass-clearing of trees is occurring around the world due to a plethora of culprits, including wildfires, logging and clearing development. More than 18 million acres of forest are lost every year, according to the Ecological Society of America, and the forests that remain are often weakened by severe drought and disease. All of these things are exacerbated as the earth warms.
One method some scientists are confident will help vegetation survive the inevitable heat of the future is assisted migration, which involves planting a species of tree that is native to the area but sourcing the seed from farther south, where the temperature is warmer. Theoretically, this would ensure that the forest will endure, because that variation has already adapted to warmer temperatures.
But new research has shown that populations of some species of warm-adapted plants are actually decreasing in their native habitats -- and if a plant population is dwindling, its seedlings may not be available to be migrated. A study published in Nature on Monday found that alpine plants in the European Alps are among the many plant and animal species responding to recent global warming, and climate change could be leading to the reduction of plants within each species that has adapted to warmer weather.
"These individuals that are adapted to warmer climatic conditions may get lost in the future climate change," Johannes Wessely, author of the study and a researcher in the University of Vienna's department of botany and biodiversity research, told ABC News.
New research has shown that populations of some species of warm-adapted plants are actually decreasing in their native habitats.
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