Shrubs are increasingly becoming treelike in the tundra region; Research

Alder (dark green) and willow (greyish) shrubs grow on the northernmost foothills of the Polar Ural in West Siberia, Russia
Alder (dark green) and willow (greyish) shrubs grow on the northernmost foothills of the Polar Ural in West Siberia, Russia

Scientists have found that shrubs in tundra region are growing to reach the size of trees in recent decades.

This research has been published online in the June 3 issue of the journal Nature Climate Change.

[hana-code-insert name=’StumbleUpon’ /][hana-code-insert name=’Reddit’ /]Tundra region is basically known for being treeless areas but it is opposite to the nature of Tundra that in a part of Eurasian Arctic, willow and alder shrubs are becoming trees. Scientists point warming Arctic climate to this change.

The shrubs of the region commonly stood to a height of 1 meter and there were no known trees in the northwestern Eurasian tundra, which extends from Finland to western Siberia, about 3 decades ago but now from 10% – 15% of area in the southern part of northwestern Eurasian tundra has been covered by new tree size shrubs reaching to a height of 2 meters and above.

Scientists used high resolution satellite images to determine the area of the land covered with treelike shrubs.

“What we have found essentially is that the growth of these shrubs is really linked to temperatures,” said study researcher Marc Macias-Fauria of Oxford University’s Biodiversity Institute. “They are reacting to warming temperatures by growing more.”

Scientists started thinking on this when nomadic reindeer herdsmen, the indigenous Nenets said that now it becomes difficult to find the reindeer in the trees Macias-Fauria reported.

It has been reported that shrubs grew most in the warmer times of the year i.e. in July.

Via: Live Science Reference: Marc Macias-Fauria, Bruce C. Forbes, Pentti Zetterberg & Timo Kumpula, (2012). Eurasian Arctic greening reveals teleconnections and the potential for structurally novel ecosystems. Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate1558

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