Strong Upslope Shifts in Chimborazo's Vegetation over Two Centuries since Humboldt. Morueta-Holme, N.; Engemann, K.; Sandoval-Acuña, P.; Jonas, J. D.; Segnitz, R. M.; and Svenning, J. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September, 2015.
doi  abstract   bibtex   
[Significance] Tropical regions harbor the majority of the world's biodiversity, but there is debate about whether montane species here are able to track global warming at the same rate as in temperate regions. By following in Humboldt's footsteps and revisiting his pioneering documentation of vegetation elevation ranges, we show that the limit of plant growth has already been strongly pushed upslope. Although the rate of plant range shifts matches that found in other studies, the total magnitude of change in vegetation and glacier coverage on Chimborazo is larger than expected from warming temperatures alone. [Abstract] Global climate change is driving species poleward and upward in high-latitude regions, but the extent to which the biodiverse tropics are similarly affected is poorly known due to a scarcity of historical records. In 1802, Alexander von Humboldt ascended the Chimborazo volcano in Ecuador. He recorded the distribution of plant species and vegetation zones along its slopes and in surrounding parts of the Andes. We revisited Chimborazo in 2012, precisely 210 y after Humboldt's expedition. We documented upward shifts in the distribution of vegetation zones as well as increases in maximum elevation limits of individual plant taxa of $>$500 m on average. These range shifts are consistent with increased temperatures and glacier retreat on Chimborazo since Humboldt's study. Our findings provide evidence that global warming is strongly reshaping tropical plant distributions, consistent with Humboldt's proposal that climate is the primary control on the altitudinal distribution of vegetation.
@article{morueta-holmeStrongUpslopeShifts2015,
  title = {Strong Upslope Shifts in {{Chimborazo}}'s Vegetation over Two Centuries since {{Humboldt}}},
  author = {{Morueta-Holme}, Naia and Engemann, Kristine and {Sandoval-Acu{\~n}a}, Pablo and Jonas, Jeremy D. and Segnitz, R. Max and Svenning, Jens-Christian},
  year = {2015},
  month = sep,
  pages = {201509938+},
  issn = {1091-6490},
  doi = {10.1073/pnas.1509938112},
  abstract = {[Significance]

Tropical regions harbor the majority of the world's biodiversity, but there is debate about whether montane species here are able to track global warming at the same rate as in temperate regions. By following in Humboldt's footsteps and revisiting his pioneering documentation of vegetation elevation ranges, we show that the limit of plant growth has already been strongly pushed upslope. Although the rate of plant range shifts matches that found in other studies, the total magnitude of change in vegetation and glacier coverage on Chimborazo is larger than expected from warming temperatures alone.

[Abstract]

Global climate change is driving species poleward and upward in high-latitude regions, but the extent to which the biodiverse tropics are similarly affected is poorly known due to a scarcity of historical records. In 1802, Alexander von Humboldt ascended the Chimborazo volcano in Ecuador. He recorded the distribution of plant species and vegetation zones along its slopes and in surrounding parts of the Andes. We revisited Chimborazo in 2012, precisely 210 y after Humboldt's expedition. We documented upward shifts in the distribution of vegetation zones as well as increases in maximum elevation limits of individual plant taxa of {$>$}500 m on average. These range shifts are consistent with increased temperatures and glacier retreat on Chimborazo since Humboldt's study. Our findings provide evidence that global warming is strongly reshaping tropical plant distributions, consistent with Humboldt's proposal that climate is the primary control on the altitudinal distribution of vegetation.},
  journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-13763944,~to-add-doi-URL,chimborazo,climatic-niche-shift,elevation,equador,featured-publication,forest-resources,global-change,historical-perspective,humboldt,species-distribution,species-local-maximum-altitude,vegetation},
  lccn = {INRMM-MiD:c-13763944}
}
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