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How climate change is causing the world’s forests and other natural resources to move north
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How climate change is causing the world’s forests and other natural resources to move north

How climate change is moving the world's forests north


The Earth is surrounded by the great boreal forests of the planetary North in an almost unbroken circle.

Ben Rawlance has walked through many of these woods, and canoed or canoed through others. Rawlence felt a sense of alarm in Norway, which is above the Arctic Circle.

At the forest’s edge looking North, Rawlence should have seen nothing but ice-white tundra, too cold for trees to grow.

Instead, he sees dark forms of birch tree roots that have taken root in the glacier.

“The different species of tree are responding to warming in different ways,” he says. “But the basic principle is like a greenhouse. You’ve heard of the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gasses, and if you put a plant in a greenhouse, it grows faster and higher. And that’s essentially what’s happening to the forests of the world.”

Today, On Point: The trees have been moving. Climate change and the world’s boreal forests.


Ben RawlenceBlack Mountains College, Wales founder and director. Author of The Treeline: The Last Forest, and the Future of Life on Earth. (@BenRawlence)

Similar Reading

The Big Issue: “‘As the planet warms, the forest is on the move’” — “You have a heartbeat. Did you know that every planet has one? In fact it has more than one.”

The Guardian: “‘The treeline is out of control’: how the climate crisis is turning the Arctic green” — “Altafjord is a wide expanse of black water on the edge of the Barents Sea, ringed with mountains.”

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