Trees and forests are on the move in the Rocky Mountains

It’s strange to imagine, but it’s true: Trees and forests are able to move.

Though the process is gradual and a natural part of plant migration, scientists say that the speed at which the trees move has recently increased — a product of Earth’s rising temperatures. Some species of trees may now be moving at a speed of roughly 100 kilometres a century, National Geographic reports, using forest migration to survive in the planet’s warmer climate.

A new study from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, finds that the trees aren’t operating alone in their escape plan: Tiny organisms living beneath the ground have a significant role in the massive migration of trees.

Researchers have found that microscopic bacteria, fungi, and archaea that interact with plant roots — all together, they are known as the soil microbiome — could be encouraging tree migration to protect heat-sensitive tree species.

 

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