Tag: wildfiowers

Sunday set: Bugs on blooms

In the woods …

It’s mid-summer, so all the bugs and plant are engaged in their eternal dance of life, with flowers blooming and pollinators doing their thing, all setting the stage for the next act of the play. But as you may or may not know, global warming has thrown many of these cycles out synch. Some of the best long-term research on this topic comes from the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Crested Butte, where scientists have shown how the shifting seasons are affecting butterflies and hummingbirds.

And when it comes to climate change, nature is kind of the opposite of Las Vegas. What happens there doesn’t stay there. All of nature is interconnected, so you can be sure that impacts to one part of the ecosystem will ripple through all the other parts eventually. The cycle of blooming plants and pollinating insects is so critical that there is actually a potential threat to food systems for humans. That doesn’t mean that we might not be able to address some of those challenges with technology or other innovations, but that’s bound to be expensive. It’s probably best to try and maintain natural ecosystem functions as best as we can by limiting global warming. And even if we do that right away, we’re still going to see some long-term impacts based on the warming that’s already locked into the climate system.

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Climate: High-mountain wildflower season getting shorter

 Changes have implications for pollinators like bees and hummingbirds

A bumblebee in the fireweed. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — As the spring and summer become warmer and drier in the high altitudes of the southern Rocky Mountains, the wildfower season is getting shorter, with a fall-off in flowering in mid-season.

That could have serious consequences for the entire ecosystem, with a cascading effect on pollinators like insect and bats, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Ecology.

“Shifts in flowering in mountain meadows could in turn affect the resources available to pollinators like bees,” said David Inouye, of the University of Maryland. Inouye and his colleagues found that such changes could become more common as climate change progresses. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

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