Ecosystems strain to keep pace with global warming
Source: Reuters, Environmental Health News, Date: December , 2009
Earth's various ecosystems, with all their plants and animals, will
need to shift about a quarter-mile per year on average to keep pace
with global climate change.How well particular species can survive rising
worldwide temperatures attributed to excess levels of heat-trapping
"greenhouse" gases emitted by human activity hinges on those species'
ability to migrate or adapt in place.The farther individual species -- from
shrubs and trees to insects, birds and mammals -- need to move to stay
within their preferred climate, the greater their chance of extinction.The new research
suggests that denizens of mountainous habitats will experience the
slowest rates of climate change because they can track relatively large
swings in temperature by moving just a short distance up or down slope.