Climate change will devastate the world’s cloud forests
Cloud forests, as the name suggests, are evergreen moist forests characterised by a persistent low-level cloud or fog, usually present at the level of the tree canopy. They only occur within a narrow range of altitudes and contain a highly specialised suite of species dependent on montane topography and cloud-related icroclimates. Because of their narrow range and fragmented distribution, it’s been suggested they are particularly vulnerable to climate change. New research by
EDG scientists on Mexico’s cloud forests is bearing this out. Indeed, their investigations suggest the impacts of climate change will be awful. Modelling indicates that by 2080 Mexico will lose more than two thirds of its cloud forests. But it gets even worse if current cloud forests outside of protected areas are cleared.
“Habitat loss and degradation by human encroachment are the main threats to cloud forests around the world at the moment,” says Rocio Ponce-Reyes, the lead investigator on the research. “However, given the narrow environmental tolerance of cloud forests, the fear is that human-induced climate change could onstitute an even greater peril in the near future. To test this we estimated the potential distribution and extent of Mexican cloud forests and the loss of cloud-forest species under climate projections for 2080.”…