According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the tree lines are getting higher on some Sierra Nevada Peaks. Some tree species in the high Sierra Nevada forests, including mountain hemlock, red fir and western white pine, are shifting toward higher elevations that provide a cooler environment. Warmer weather in California over the past five years, along with a lack of rain, has influenced a lot of changes to the California environment. The Sierra Nevada is a massive mountain range in California that runs approximately 400 miles north-to-south and about 70 miles east-to-west, and it is home to the tallest peak in the continental United States, Mount Whitney at 14,505 feet.
The CDFW researchers found that large areas of Plumas and Sierra counties lack mountain hemlock, as much of the northern Sierra Nevada lacks the higher mountains the trees now need to persist. In the study, scientists compared the presence or absence of tree species in 381 recent random plots across the Sierra Nevada. Of 12 tree species with what the scientists termed “adequate sample sizes for analysis,” three species showed marked changes. a shifting toward higher elevations that had cooler temperatures. Red fir, western white pine, and mountain hemlock all showed obvious signs of movement toward higher elevations that provide cooler temperatures. As these trees shift to higher elevations, they provide food for insects, birds and mammals, and help to build forest soil.