An ancient prairie may have thrived in a changing climate, but now it faces the challenge of warming temperatures.
In a new study, researchers have shown that the landscape is undergoing a profound change as it loses its original forest cover.
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University and College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, used satellite imagery to analyse the state’s grasslands over a 10-year period.
Their analysis found that the prairies in Minnesota and Worcester are undergoing a rapid change from a forested area to a grasslands, with more and more vegetation being lost.
“It’s not only that the grasslands are disappearing, it’s also that there’s an enormous amount of new species, and they’re all coming from a completely different ecosystem, which is a really important thing to consider,” says study author David J. Hodge, a professor of ecology at the University at Buffalo and professor of plant sciences at the College of Holy Cross.
“The prairies that were here hundreds of thousands of years ago were actually the habitats of animals that were not native to this region.
So that meant that there were a lot of animals moving in, moving out, that were very different from the animals that we’ve now seen on this site.”
They were completely different.
“The researchers then used their satellite imagery analysis to reconstruct a picture of how the landscape has changed since the 19th century.
They found that some of the vegetation had been lost and that some new species were being introduced.
The new species they discovered included new grasses, shrubs and grasses that have not been seen in the past 10,000 years.”
This is a major change in the landscape,” says Hodge.”
There’s a very good reason for that.
The climate has been changing very fast, and it has resulted in a very rapid change of habitats, and we’re seeing the effects now.
Hodge and his colleagues used a combination of satellite imagery and remote sensing to map changes in the area over the past 100 years.”
It’s the result of a very abrupt change in ecosystem, but the process of this process is very similar to that that we saw in the 20th century, which was a gradual loss of habitat,” Hodge says.
Hodge and his colleagues used a combination of satellite imagery and remote sensing to map changes in the area over the past 100 years.
They found that as temperatures increase, there are more plants that can thrive in the prairie, and new species are being introduced into the landscape.
“We have this great idea that if you remove vegetation from a landscape, that then it makes it a more habitable landscape,” Hoke says.
“And it’s actually the opposite of that.”
The prairie that used to be forested is now being converted to grasslands.
“What we have seen in our work is that the ecosystem has adapted very quickly to the increased temperatures, but that it has not adapted as quickly to this increase in the temperature,” he says.
While scientists believe that some species may have survived the climate change, others may have lost their habitats, or are not surviving at all.
Hokes says that it is still possible that these new species may eventually return to the praiseworthy areas, but there is a risk that these areas will become unsuitable for human settlement.
“Because these areas are very rich in biodiversity, you would expect that those that are already there would be able to recover,” he adds.
“But I would say that the worst-case scenario is that there is just not a lot left to recover, and that they’ll eventually disappear.”
Topics:earth-sciences,environment,environmental-impact,climate-change,climate,climate change-education,human-interest,human,science-and-technology,science,united-statesFirst posted October 02, 2020 13:24:46Contact Sarah SmithMore stories from New Zealand