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Studies highlight mountaintops as plants' climate refugia

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-09-16 15:06
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BEIJING - Chinese researchers suggested that the importance of high altitude areas in tropical rain forests be highlighted under global warming because mountaintops can help preserve cold-adapted plants against climate change.

This kind of climate refugia successfully preserved many species during the Quaternary glacial period, when glaciers formed and climate changed rapidly, thus affected the evolutionary processes and the maintenance of biodiversity.

Scientists from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of Chinese Academy of Sciences studied the cold-adapted high-mountain oaks on mountaintops amidst the tropical rainforest of Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains.

They concluded according to the studies that the plants adapting to alpine climate will gather at high altitude or high latitude, which is a buffer zone for them against adverse climate.

More studies on climate refugia is in progress to guide biodiversity conservation efforts as global warming continues, according to the researching team.

The research was published in the journal Alpine Botany.

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