As Colorado scientists concentrate more on the potential effects of climate change, CNHP ecologists are wondering if there is any evidence that treeline is moving up into the previously treeless alpine zone. One limiting factor for the upper elevation treeline is summer temperatures. As summer temperatures increase we can expect to see trees colonizing the alpine zone. Approximately 3% of Colorado is currently considered the alpine zone. Documenting changes to this ecosystem is an important part of understanding the impacts to the native fauna and flora under changing climate.
CNHP’s Renée Rondeau recently used repeat photography to document a change in tree density over the past 40 years, at Montgomery Pass (near Cameron Pass) in Larimer County. The 1972 photos were taken in the Montgomery Pass area by Gordon Rodda. In September 2012, Renée, with volunteers Jennifer Kathol, Maureen DeCoursey and Anne Taylor took new photos from the same location. (click to see larger versions).