A new study that reported bristlecone pines found at high elevations in California and Nevada grew faster in the last 50 years than anytime before in the last 3,700 years has drawn widespread attention, including a nearly 4-minute story yesterday on NPR’s All Things Considered.
Last year, a different study of bristlecone pines on Mt. Goliath, near Mt. Evans, reached similar (and possibly related) conclusions about the trees in Colorado. The University of Denver researchers found that bristlecones are growing above the historical treeline on Mt. Goliath at least as fast as the trees below treeline—meaning the average treeline may be moving uphill. They found bristlecones established just 10 meters below the summit of 3,723-meter (12,215′) Goliath.
As Colorado continues to warm, how high will treeline go?