Earth's oldest trees in climate-induced race up the tree lineSeptember 13, 2017
Bristlecone pine and limber pine trees in the Great Basin region are like two very gnarled, old men in a slow-motion race up the mountaintop, and climate change is the starting gun, according to a study from the University of California, Davis.
The study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, shows that the tree line has been steadily moving upslope over the past 50 years in the Great Basin. The region extends from California's Sierra Nevada, across Nevada to Utah's Uinta Mountains. Its north and south are framed by the Columbia and Colorado rivers' watersheds.
The study also found that limber pine is successfully ? "leapfrogging" over bristlecone pine. They are growing in soils once almost completely dominated by bristlecone pine, and they are moving upslope at a faster rate than the bristlecone pine.
"We are seeing very little regeneration anywhere in bristlecone ranges except in the tree line and, there, limber pine is taking all the good spots," said the study's corresponding author Brian Smithers, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. "It's jarring because limber pine is a species you normally see further downslope, not at tree line. So it's very odd to see it charging upslope and not see bristlecone charging upslope ahead of limber pine, or at least with it."
The study concludes that if bristlecone pine trees are unable to advance upslope because they are blocked by limber pine, bristlecones could face a reduction of their range and possibly local extinctions.
EARTH'S OLDEST LIVING TREES
Bristlecone pine trees are Earth's oldest individual trees and can live for more than 5,000 years. No spring chicken, limber pine trees can live 2,000 years or more.
Both tree species have seen many climate changes during their time on Earth -- from extremely warm periods to ice ages -- and have slowly advanced across the landscape. Over millennia, bristlecone pine trees have moved from the lowlands of the Great Basin up to the current tree line. But, the study notes, neither bristlecone nor limber pine have ever experienced climate change and temperature increases as rapidly as what has been occurring in recent decades.
Smithers said he doesn't expect bristlecone pine adult trees to be impacted much by current climatic shifts, as those trees are well-established. But how, if and where new bristlecone pine trees will regenerate is less certain, particularly as other species like limber pine take up valuable space for them to germinate.
"The things we're doing today have legacy effects for thousands of years in the Great Basin," Smithers said. "When those trees do start to die, they won't likely be replaced because it's just too hot and dry."
The study suggests that land managers identify the specific bottlenecks for a species to live long enough to reproduce, and focus on that stage. For long-lived trees like bristlecone and limber pines, the bottleneck is at the time of their initial establishment, not hundreds and thousands of years into their adulthoods.
The study was financially supported by the UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology, White Mountains Research Center, California Native Plant Society, the Henry A. Jastro Fund, Nevada Native Plant Society, and the Davis Botanical Society.
University of California - Davis
Related Climate Change Articles:
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.
Related Climate Change Reading:
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change (The Politically Incorrect Guides)
by Marc Morano (Author)
Less freedom. More regulation. Higher costs. Make no mistake: those are the surefire consequences of the modern global warming campaign waged by political and cultural elites, who have long ago abandoned fact-based science for dramatic fearmongering in order to push increased central planning. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change gives a voice -- backed by statistics, real-life stories, and incontrovertible evidence -- to the millions of "deplorable" Americans skeptical about the multibillion dollar "climate change" complex, whose claims have time and time again been... View Details
Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know®
by Joseph Romm (Author)
Climate change will have a bigger impact on humanity than the Internet has had. The last decade's spate of superstorms, wildfires, heat waves, and droughts has accelerated the public discourse on this topic and lent credence to climatologist Lonnie Thomson's 2010 statement that climate change "represents a clear and present danger to civilization." In June 2015, the Pope declared that action on climate change is a moral issue.
This book offers the most up-to-date examination of climate change's foundational science, its implications for our future, and the core clean energy solutions.... View Details
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
by Naomi Klein (Author)
The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.
In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option.
In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and... View Details
Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know®
by Joseph Romm (Author)
"This is, for my money, the best single-source primer on the state of climate change." - New York Magazine
"The right book at the right time: accessible, comprehensive, unflinching, humane." - The Daily Beast
"A must-read." - The Guardian
The essential primer on what will be the defining issue of our time, Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know® is a clear-eyed overview of the science, conflicts, and implications of our warming planet.
From Joseph Romm, Chief Science... View Details
Climate Change: The Facts
by J.Abbot (Author), J.S. Armstrong (Author), A.Bolt (Author), R.Carter (Author), R.Darwall (Author), J.Delingpole (Author), C.Essex (Author), S.Franks (Author), K.Green (Author), D.Laframboise (Author), N.Lawson (Author), B.Lewin (Author), R.Lindzen (Author), J.Marohasy (Author), R.McKitrick (Author), P.Michaels (Author), A.Moran (Author), J.Nova (Author), G.Paltridge (Author), I.Plimer (Author), W.Soon (Author), M.Steyn (Author), A.Watts (Author), Alan Moran (Editor)
Tirelessly promoted by princes, presidents, actors and activists, "climate change" has become a dominant theme of global politics. But what's really going on as the "pause" in global warming prepares to enter its third decade? In this new anthology, leading scientists and commentators from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia consider the climate from every angle - the science, the policy and the politics. View Details
A Global Warming Primer: Answering Your Questions About The Science, The Consequences, and The Solutions
by Jeffrey Bennett (Author)
2017 NSTA, Outstanding Science Trade Books
2017 Children's Book Council, Best STEM Books
Nautilus Book Award, Silver, Ecology and Environment
Is human-induced global warming a real threat to our future? Most people will express an opinion on this question, but relatively few can back their opinions with solid evidence. Many times we’ve even heard pundits say “I am not a scientist” to avoid the issue altogether. But the truth is, the basic science is not that difficult. Using a question and answer format, this book will help readers achieve three major... View Details
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert (Author)
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST
A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes
Over the last half-billion years, there have been Five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists... View Details
Climate Change: The Facts 2017
by Jennifer Marohasy (Editor)
Climate Change: The Facts 2017 contains 22 essays by internationally-renowned experts and commentators, including Dr Bjorn Lomborg, Dr Matt Ridley, Professor Peter Ridd, Dr Willie Soon, Dr Ian Plimer, Dr Roy Spencer, and literary giant Clive James. The volume is edited by Dr Jennifer Marohasy, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. Fourteen of the contributors currently hold or have held positions at a university or a scientific research organisation.
Dr Jennifer Marohasy said, "Climate Change: The Facts 2017 presents the case for climate change policies... View Details
Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change
by Mary Beth Pfeiffer (Author)
"Superbly written and researched." —Booklist
"Builds a strong case." —Kirkus
Lyme disease is spreading rapidly around the globe as ticks move into places they could not survive before. The first epidemic to emerge in the era of climate change, the disease infects half a million people in the US and Europe each year, and untold multitudes in Canada, China, Russia, and Australia.
Mary Beth Pfeiffer shows how we have contributed to this growing menace, and how modern medicine has underestimated its danger. She... View Details
The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change
by Robert Henson (Author)
Everybody can be a thinking person when it comes to climate change, and this book is a perfect roadmap. Start a web search for “climate change” and the first three suggestions are “facts,” “news,” and “hoax.” The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change is rooted in the first, up to date on the second, and anything but the last. Produced by one of the most venerable atmospheric science organizations, it is a must-read for anyone looking for the full story on climate change.
Using global research and written with nonscientists in mind, the Guide... View Details