Our main concern are the plants at ridge top (2500 meters). They have no where to go and could be invaded by plants from lower elevations. The risk is a loss of biodiversity but on the positive side some of these plants may be able to adapt to being invaded or adapt to the changing temperature.
JC: How are you collecting the data?
LG: We have eight plots, four at 2000 meters and four at 2500 meters. The plots are oriented to the compass, north aspect, south aspect west aspect, and east aspect. Each time we are in the area of a plot we do a formal observation were we write down what plants are in the plot, and their stage of growth ie. Just starting, in prime bloom, past prime, gone to seed, dying or dead. These observations are recorded into a data base.
JC: And what early learnings have you had?
LG: I had being doing anecdotal observations for about 8 years, and then we established the plots in the Bugaboos about 3 years ago. To give you an example of plants moving, common fireweed was rarely found above 1600 meters, but recently I have seen it as high as 2200 meters.
We each find that every time we visit a plot it is a great opportunity to talk about climate with the guests. They are usually very interested in what we are doing and what the climate is doing. Invariably, some great discussions follow!
What about you? What changes do you see in your environment that may be attributed to climate change?