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Changing Climate Will Make Massive Shifts in Earth's Vegetation: Scientific American

Climate change will alter the mix of vegetation on 49 percent of Earth's land surface by the end of this century, scrambling and shifting existing ecosystems, according to a new study.

Researchers at NASA and the California Institute of Technology say the changing climate will also convert 37 percent of the world's land ecosystems from one type -- such as tundra, forest or grassland -- into another by 2100.

Those vegetation shifts are likely to affect animals and insects that have evolved to live among particular plant species and within certain temperature and precipitation ranges, said the study's lead author, independent scientist Jon Bergengren.

"Animals that are dependent on plants will either have to migrate with the plants, if the plants can successfully migrate, or hang on with plants that are struggling to survive," said Bergengren, who conducted the research as a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Either way, there are problems."

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Dec 18th, 2011 at 12:38:26 PM EST
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