As species migrate to escape climate change, plants get left behind

mt-tam

Climate Central reports: Willis Linn Jepson encountered a squat shrub while he was collecting botanical specimens on California’s Mount Tamalpais in the fall of 1936. He trimmed off a few branches and jotted down the location along the ridge trail where the manzanita grew, 2,255 feet above sea level.

The desiccated specimen is now part of an herbarium here that’s named for the famed botanist. It was among hundreds of thousands of specimens of thousands of different species that were used recently to track the movement of plant species up the state’s many hills.

The results of the analysis warn that native plants are struggling to keep up with changes around them as pollution from fuel burning and deforestation continues to warm the planet. Earlier research into the movement of Californian animals shows they’re shifting more quickly than the native plants.

“The big takeaway is that species are on the move, and they’re moving at different rates,” said Jon Christensen, a scientist and historian at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Which raises the concern that the ecosystems of California could be unraveling.” [Continue reading…]

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