Alpine plants face extinction as melting glaciers force them higher, warns study

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‘Escalator to extinction’ means aggressive species will eventually take over, threatening the entire mountain ecosystem

Alpine flowers could go extinct after glaciers disappear as more competitive species colonise terrain higher up the mountain, new research has warned.

Glaciers are retreating at historically unprecedented rates, exposing new land for plants to grow, which benefits delicate alpine species in the short term. However, these early pioneers – some of which are endemic – soon become endangered as more aggressive species take over, driving them out of their remaining habitat and decreasing overall biodiversity, according to the paper published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

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