From: Tim Radford, The Ecologist, More from this Affiliate
Published January 16, 2014 08:22 AM

Plants and wildlife adapting to climate change in Switzerland

Wildlife in Switzerland is seeking relief from warming temperatures by moving higher up the mountains, reports Tim Radford.

Animals and plants are already today adapting to the rising temperatures at a surprising pace.

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Alpine ecosystems are on the rise. Between 2003 and 2010, plants have managed to scramble up another eight metres of mountain slope.

On the way up, they were overtaken by butterflies, which collectively gained another 38 metres of higher ground. Alpine birds in turn fluttered an average of 42 metres higher.

Tobias Roth and colleagues from the University of Basel and the Petite Camargue Alsacienne research station at St Louis in France report in PLOS One, the journal of the Public Library of Science, that, at least in the short term, alpine landscapes offer safe habitats in a warming world.

"An average of eight metres difference in eight years and across all plant species is quite impressive for the often not very mobile plant communities", said Valentin Amrhein, one of the authors.

"The results show that the biological impacts of climate change will not only become apparent in the long term. Animals and plants are already today adapting to the rising temperatures at a surprising pace."

Edelweiss image via Shutterstock.

Read more at ENN Affiliate, The Ecologist.

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