Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring comes 10 days earlier in changed US climate

Reuters: Spring comes about 10 days earlier in the United States than it did two decades ago, a consequence of climate change that favors invasive species over indigenous ones, scientists said on Tuesday. The phenomenon known as "spring creep" has put various species of U.S. wildlife out of balance with their traditional habitats, from the rabbit-like American pika in the West to the roses and lilies in New England, the environmental experts said in a telephone news briefing.

"The losers tend to be our native plant species," said Charles Davis of Harvard University, who studied plant changes in Concord, Massachusetts, where American conservationist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau lived a century and a half ago.

"Climate change is not affecting species uniformly," Davis said. "Certain groups are hit harder than others, and those species that are not able to respond to climate change ... are being hit the hardest." In Massachusetts, Davis said, those include some of the most charismatic species, such as lilies, orchids, roses and dogwoods.

Based on Thoreau's notes and research by botanists in the area, Davis and other scientists figure that about 30 percent of the plant species Thoreau saw are locally extinct and a further 30 percent are in scarce supply, crowded out by southern invaders that can now thrive in New England. Invasive non-native plants can succeed in a changing climate because some of them are better able to adjust their development…..

Alfons Mucha, Spring, 1896

No comments: