Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory

Longer growing season as climate warms may not be the boon that was expected

Snow covered mountainA new evaluation by CSU researcher Heidi Steltzer from the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory and colleague Eric Post from Penn State University of recent research indicates that many plant species are shortening their annual growth cycle in response to climate warming. Plants that are greening and flowering earlier are also ending growth earlier in the year.

A shortened period of growth may be a result of current environmental conditions, such as a mid-season drought in a warm summer, or could be the result of years of conditioning to past environmental conditions. Many species cannot extend the period over which they grow beyond a set number of days.

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