Canadian tundra is rapidly disappearing

March 13, 2007

Canadian scientists say much of their nation's northern tundra is rapidly disappearing, being replaced by trees and shrubs, forcing wildlife from the region.

A University of Alberta study shows the climate shift is occurring at a rate much faster than scientists had predicted, adding to a growing body of evidence concerning effects of global climate change.

The boundary, or tree line, between forest and tundra ecosystems is a prominent landscape feature in both Arctic and mountain environments. As global temperatures continue to increase, the tree line is expected to advance, but the new research shows the shift will not always be a gradual one.

"The conventional thinking on tree line dynamics has been that advances are very slow," said Ryan Danby, of the university's department of biological sciences. "But what our data indicate is that there was an upslope surge of trees in response to warmer temperatures. It's like it waited until conditions were just right and then it decided to get up and run, not just walk."

The research by Danby and David Hik, also from the school's faculty of science, is detailed in the Journal of Ecology.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Invading trees?

Related Stories

Invading trees?

March 9, 2012

Rumours of trees ‘invading’ the Arctic as a by-product of climate change have been ‘greatly exaggerated’ according to a polar scientist due to lecture on the subject at Cambridge University’s annual ...

Climate change generates more Arctic tundra vegetation

April 11, 2012

Researchers in Finland have discovered that climate change has impacted various regions of the Arctic tundra by helping increase the levels of vegetation. Their data suggest that this rise could potentially speed up global ...

Black wolves: The first genetically modified predators?

February 5, 2009

Emergence of black-colored wolves is the direct result of humans raising dogs as pets and beasts of burden, according to new research by a University of Calgary biologist published today by the prestigious academic journal ...

Recommended for you

Scientists examine bacterium found 1,000 feet underground

December 8, 2016

Pioneering work being carried out in a cave in New Mexico by researchers at McMaster University and The University of Akron, Ohio, is changing the understanding of how antibiotic resistance may have emerged and how doctors ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.