Sierra Nevada A “Living Lab” For Climate Change

SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. (June 29, 2013)--In parts of California's Sierra Nevada, marshy meadows are going dry, wildflowers are blooming earlier, glaciers are melting into ice fields and scientists fear the optimal temperature zone for giant sequoias is rising thousands of feet, leaving trees at risk of dying over the next 100 years.

As indicators point toward a warming climate, scientists across 4 million acres of federally protected land are noting changes that affect everything from the massive trees that can grow to more than two-dozen feet across to the tiny, hamster-like pika.

But what the changes mean and whether humans should do anything to intervene are sources of disagreement among land managers, and it is far from understood whether the changes mean doom or adaptation for California's ecological heart.

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