Yellowstone National Park may become a huge grassland by mid-century! The study, published in Ecological Monographs, predicts that climate change will make Yellowstone’s forests dramatically change.
Drier and warmer weather make it tougher for the Doug Fir and Lodgepole pines to survive. Both trees need to regenerate after forest fires and require specific weather patterns for best survival. Trees that have been recovering are struggling.
Scientists feel that the forests are currently at a tipping point. Drought is predicted to be a more common factor for the region.
Continued study will help determine trends and potential outcomes. Several seed plots are being monitored throughout the park to examine changes more closely. Weather patterns often fluctuate over the short term. Changes to the ecosystem will also impact the wildlife populations.
Celebrate our National Forests while you can. One thing for sure is that nature is always changing.
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