Tourism intimidate wild plants of New Zealand to spread to higher altitudes

Published on : Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New Zealand to spread to higher altitudesAs per a recent international study which was published few days back in Nature Climate Change shows that as temperature is increasing continuously, plants have with weeds spread up mountainsides, as moving to higher altitudes twice as fast as native plants.


To quote Philip Hulme, co-author Professor of Lincoln University’s Bio-Protection Research Centre, “We know native plants are moving up mountains as climate warms, but until now no one had looked at how non-native weeds might respond.” The researchers examined over130, 000 records of 1334 different plant species, collected over 20 years in a single region of the European Alps, to explore that weeds rapidly spread faster than other plants.


It emerged that roads were one of the major issues, with traffic helping to transport their seeds further.


Hulme said the results should raise concerns for the exclusive alpine environment of New Zealand.


To quote Hume, “I suspect the situation is possibly more dire in New Zealand given that our lowland regions are far more invaded by non-native weeds than similar regions in Europe and our [mountain ecosystems] are coming under increasing pressure from tourism, skiing developments and other infrastructure such as roads.The challenge for New Zealand is that we are no longer collecting the systematic, long-term data on how our flora is changing in these environments – such data are essential if we want to keep our glorious mountain landscapes free of weeds such as gorse, broom and wilding pines.”


The authors of the study brings to the forefront that such quick spread into susceptible habitats is a additional threat to species which are by now stressed by higher temperatures.


“We must take action soon otherwise our native alpine plant communities are likely to suffer dramatic changes with ongoing warming and increasing human activity in mountain regions.”


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