In this neck of ground — the north coast of California — we’re whimsically-considered as secluded behind “The Redwood Curtain,” coined in reality of the ginormous trees making up that cloak fencing us off from the big, old and much-ugly world. The redwoods do make a fortress, and routes to us, clinging to a rocky beachhead right-close to waters edge, requires passage through forests of giants. (Good overview of the region via PasteMagazine earlier this month).
However, the changing climate is could apparently effect the redwood tree. And moving the monsters an absurdity of how wretched the environment.
Research at UC Merced down in the San Joaquin Valley revealed the complexities of climate change on our ‘curtain‘ surrounding us — via UCMerced.edu:
This method gets us over a hump that has been challenging climate modelers for many years,” said Lara Kueppers, a researcher with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and former professor in the School of Natural Sciences.
“Usually, models use down-scaled global predictions, but the coastal climate is harder to predict because it’s such a narrow strip of land that is strongly affected by the ocean.”
Working with Kueppers, then-graduate student Miguel Fernández used the past century’s record of years with exceptional weather to make predictions about future redwood habitat, because what is now exceptional will be normal in the coming 10 to 20 years.
“Climate change, in the context of biodiversity, has extremely complicated synergies that we are just starting to uncover,” Fernández said.
“It surprised me how sensitive the redwood’s habitat is to near-term climate change effects. It made me wonder if the long-term effects might be catastrophic if we don’t improve our climate adaptation efforts today.”
However, redwoods, which grow to about 400 feet tall and live 1,800 years or more, can’t simply move farther north at will.
Kueppers said the trees will need to spread about 200 kilometers northwest over the next 10 to 20 years to track their shifting habitat, and “that’s going to be difficult without intervention.”
The question is one for resource managers.
The trend has been restoration of habitats, but Kueppers asked whether we should be planting to replicate the past or planning for the future.
“On actively managed lands, managers are going to have to make those choices,” she said.
Last October, published in the journal Global Change Biology, another study indicated the same situation, (via Nature Word News):
‘Ultimately, redwood forest bioclimate will cause trees to expand their range northward by 34 percent. This will in general cause them to relocate from the coast of California into southern Oregon, the researchers explained in their study.’
An ‘intervention‘ with a redwood…?