This module’s theme was to get you to think about concept of swapping latitude for elevation, and if it is a valid concept for functional ecology (soils and vegetation). Do you experience the same transition as you travel across the alpine tree line as you do as you travel across the boreal tree line? Do both tree lines respond to climate the same?
The “altitude-for-latitude” temperature model of temperature similarity states that a 1 degree Celsius decrease in temperature that occurs over an increase in roughly 167 m increase in altitude corresponds to an 145 km increase in latitude (see included reading). Or, roughly a 10-m altitude increases equals a 10-km latitude increase; a factor of 1000.
Therefore, with global warming, we would expect to see changes in vegetation in mountain environments to be much more pronounced that than those in lowland environments. A review of the literature, however, reveals that this is often not the case.
For this week’s assignment provide the following:
Before you read the article provided below, provide a statement whether you agree or disagree with the “swapping altitude for latitude” concept, including why or why not. This should be one, concise paragraph in length.
Then read the article and provide a concise summary of the reasons why the authors state that contrary to expectations, there are few reports of the changes in lowland vegetation with warming compared to mountain vegetation. This should be one paragraph in length.