Visible effects of climate change in Leaota Mountains

A quiet and unusual sunny and warm day in Leaota Mountains at the end of November.

The signs of weather warming are everywhere. The subalpine forests and even the alpine meadows are not covered yet by snow, as they usually were at this period of the year since thousands of years.

Due to this unusual warm weather we recorded many plant species in blossom, the most frequent being Bell Flower (Campanula sp.), Lawn Daisy (Bellis perennnis), Mullein (Verbascum sp.), Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), Chicory (Cichorium intybus) and Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). In the subalpine areas, the fruits of Lingonberry (Vaccinum vitis-idea) are still unfrozen.

Climate change is being considered the primary reason for the shifting of vegetation worldwide: There is scientific evidence that over the past decades, mountain and alpine vegetation has been gradually moving towards the poles and up mountain slopes where temperatures are cooler.

In Leaota, we can see this change in the vegetation composition as well: Spruce forests are spreading into higher altitudes following climate change and grazing abandonment. Also dwarf shrubs have the tendency to grow in higher altitudes and invade alpine meadows where they weren’t before.

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