Plants running to keep up
Alpine plants grow at high altitudes above the tree line. As the climate warms, alpine plants could migrate upwards to cooler temperatures. Whether plant species are able to migrate up the mountain to track the climate to which they are adapted, will depend on their ecology and the physical characteristics such as height of the mountain they are on. They will need to be good at colonising new areas. It will also depend on which other species they are racing against; some lowland species are outcompeting true alpines with limited altitudinal refuges to retreat to. Mountains have many species that occur nowhere else and there is the potential for many rare, mountain species to go extinct with climate change. Saxifraga berica is a plant only found in the Veneto area of North Italy. It grows on very shady cool rock faces, often on cave entrances and overhangs. It hates warm weather and quickly dies if exposed to the sun’s hot rays. It is threatened with extinction.