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Mountain treelines are rising due to climate crisis, study finds

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: According to a study conducted by scientists from the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen (China) mountain treelines are shifting upward globally in response to climate change
• Using remote sensing, the researchers found that 70% of mountain treelines had moved uphill between 2000 and 2010, with an accelerating rate of change

The shift was greatest in tropical regions, where the average increase in elevation was 3.1 meters per year.

🔭 The context: The study mapped the highest points of tree coverage on mountains across nearly 1 million kilometers (620,000 miles) of treeline in 243 mountain regions around the world
• The researchers specifically studied closed-loop mountain treelines, which are isolated from human influence, demonstrating that they are sensitive to climatic changes

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: The upward movement of treelines signifies more than just a physical shift; it has important implications for biodiversity, natural resources, and ecosystem adaptation
• Rising temperatures may enhance tree growth above current treelines, helping to remove more carbon from the atmosphere and possibly expanding habitats for forest species 
However, this may also reduce the area of tundra, endangering alpine species and possibly affecting water supplies in certain regions

⏭️ What's next: Strategic planning and collaboration between environmentalists, governments, and scientists will be vital in adapting to these changes

📈 One stat: On average, mountain treelines moved upwards by 1.2 meters (4ft) a year between 2000 and 2010

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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