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Climate change is causing species to move toward northern Finland

That the tree line has crept up 200 meters on the mountain in the last 100 years has been known for a long time. But now research shows that animals and plants are moving towards cooler latitudes to get the same living conditions as they had before. 

Using monitoring data, an international research team has studied how climate change over the past 40 years has affected 1,500 animal and plant species in Finland. It turned out that rising temperatures and shorter snow cover during the winters have caused hundreds of species to adapt to new climatic conditions, of which some species have chosen to move to more northern latitudes.

Finland is known for its comprehensive monitoring program for birds, mammals and plants. Previously, this species database, which to some extent is based on material collected by private individuals, has been managed by several different organizations.

Thanks to the coordination of all data, the researchers have developed an advanced puzzle of the species’ geographical movements. The article, which is published in the scientific journal  Nature Climate Change, shows that the rising temperatures between 1978 and 2017 caused many species to move north towards Arctic areas.

The rising temperatures, which include about two degrees, during the measurement period, turn out to have hit the animals in the northern parts of the country harder. As winters have become milder, many species have sought even more northern latitudes to find places that match their optimum temperatures.

A little simplified, you can say that central Finland today has temperatures that the southern parts of the country had 40 years ago.

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