Climate change may allow plants to expand downhill as precipitation increases in addition to expanding uphill as temperatures rise, a University of Idaho geographer says.
John Abatzoglou, an assistant professor of geography at Moscow, is among co-authors of a report in the current issue of Science magazine that shows plants in California’s Sierra Nevada and coast range have responded to changes in precipitation and temperature.
The report counters the widely held notion that plants will be forced uphill by rising temperatures. These findings suggest that species response to anticipated changes in climate might be less dire than predicted earlier.
The report by University of Montana forestry researchers Shawn Crimmins, Solomon Dobrowski and Alison Mynsberge, and Jonathan A. Greenberg of the University of California at Davis examined the distribution of 64 species of plants in central and northern California.