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These Trees Are Spreading North in Alaska. That’s Not Good

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by Shashank
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Top 3 Best Trees: In the summer Of 2019, Roman Dial and his friend Brad Meiklejohn hired a single-engine bushplane from Kotzebue on Alaska’s northwest coast. As per environmental latest news, Even with those wings, he could only reach where he wanted to go in a five-day hike. Deep in the tundra, Dial noticed strange shadows appearing on satellite imagery.

On the fourth day of that hike, the two were walking the Caribou Trail when Meiklejohn yelled “Stop!” Dial thought his friend saw a bear. But it was more troublesome. A grove of white spruce trees. The plant was shaped like a small Christmas tree, up to chest height. And from a planetary perspective, they were bad news. In this Alaskan tundra, fierce winds and bitter cold favor shrubs, grasses, and grassy sedges. Even if the seed manages to move north, the growing season is thought to be too short for the tree removal to gain a foothold. Tree cutting services opposed it.

The trip confirmed Dial’s speculation that the shadows in the satellite imagery were actually trees out of place, part of a phenomenon known as arctic greening. As the Arctic warms more than four times faster than the rest of the globe, ecological barriers are being removed for plants in the far north, and more vegetation is marching toward the poles. “As we headed east the next day, we found more and more until we discovered Arctic savannah overgrown with white spruce trees,” recalls Dial, an ecologist at the University of the Pacific in Alaska. “It may sound silly, but it was probably the most exciting hike I’ve ever done.”

A huge white spruce around 60 years old.

Courtesy of Roman Dial

Greening the Arctic is a dashboard warning light for climate damage, both locally and globally. Shrub proliferation is one thing, they’re small and grow relatively quickly, but long-lived white spruce is quite another. I know you did,” says Dial. “This is different than five years of weather or he ten years of weather. It is thirty years of climate that establishes new trees in new places.”

write in this month in the journal Nature, Dial and his colleagues put specific numbers on what they found in the Alaskan tundra. White spruce is growing exponentially there, both as individuals and as populations. Conifer populations are currently moving northward at a rate of 2.5 miles per decade. This is faster than the treeline of any other conifer that scientists have measured, and he should be one of the most inhospitable places on earth for trees.

This is probably 5 years old.

Courtesy of Roman Dial

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