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Picture of the Day

Better predicting mountains' flora and fauna in a changing world

Climbing a mountain is challenging. So too is providing the best possible information to plan for climate change's impact on mountain vegetation and wildlife. Understanding how plant and animal species in mountainous areas will be affected by climate change is complicated and difficult. Mountain ranges take up about a quarter of the world's land area, are rich in biodiversity, and are home to many endangered or threatened wildlife, including the iconic giant panda. Mountains also have notoriously complex climates. Their landscapes harbor microclimates, varied air circulation patterns and elevations and usually are too remote to have many weather and climate observing stations. To get a better read on the climate patterns of mountain regions, researchers examined a newly compiled dataset of remotely-sensed measurements of temperature and precipitation gathered from satellite sensors. These measurements have a finer resolution and more continuous spatial coverage than conventional climate observing networks. They modeled the future distributions of bamboo species in the mountains of southwestern China that are essential for giant panda conservation efforts.

Visit Website | Image credit: Michigan State University/Wolong Nature Reserve, China