'This research should serve as a wake-up call': scientists find warming climate threatening biodiversity at the most protected natural preserve in North America | theRising
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‘This research should serve as a wake-up call’: scientists find warming climate threatening biodiversity at the most protected natural preserve in North America

‘This research should serve as a wake-up call’: scientists find warming climate threatening biodiversity at the most protected natural preserve in North America

While Trump rolls back protections on national parks, our most protected natural preserve in North America is under threat. Nestled in The Adirondack Mountains, the Shingle Shanty Preserve thrives off of The Adirondack’s large scale protection. Its unusually cold latitude temperatures ensure it can maintain its unique biodiversity of mainly boreal species.

While temperatures rise, it threatens the southern range of the Adirondack boreal peatlands. Wetlands make up over 50,000 acres of the Adirondacks and require wet and cold environments to prevent plants from decomposing. According to a study published in Wetlands Conservation, warmer temperatures allow trees from more temperate climates to invade the peatlands.

Climate change allowing invasive species to proliferate in natural preserve

These invasive species can overtake northern boreal species in the Shingle Shanty Preserve, such as the black spruce and tamarack.

In a study by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), their results show how vulnerable a natural preserve actually is. Stephen Langdon, a director of the Shingle Shanty Preserves, states that the Adirondack peatlands are some of the most “intact-samples of the ecosystem around the world at this latitude.”

They’re a critical resource in understanding biological responses to global warming. And squandering that would be a devastating loss.

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Dr. Michael Glennon of Paul Smith’s College Watershed Institute Conducting Boreal Bird Surveys at Shingle Shanty in 2019. The Shingle Shanty Preserve, in addition to being a well-protected site in the Adirondack Mountains, is also one of the biggest research stations in the country. (Image from Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station)

The most protected research site in the world 

The Shingle Shanty Preserve is particularly important because of its nearly untouched biome. They act as a haven for threatened species who fled north to escape endangerment such as the spruce grouse. Agricultural drainage, as well as invasion of tree species through human activity, threatens the biodiversity in the Shingle Shanty Preserve.

“This research should serve as a wake-up call, as it provides an early warning that even the most remote and protected boreal peatlands may be lost at their southern range limits, in potentially just over a few decades, due to this ongoing and abundant colonization by temperate tree species—a process likely to be dramatically accelerated by continuously warming climate and fertilizing effects of nitrogen emissions,” said Martin Dovciak, ESF Associate Professor and research collaborator.

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