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Issue 21
January , 2010
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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.

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