Greenland is about to become substantially greener, according to Danish scientists who have been studying the effects of the warming climate on northern regions.
Using models, an international research group has examined what kind of species might grow there in the climate that Greenland is expected to have in the year 2100.
The models foretell the emergence of forests, replacing the current environment that only hosts four species of trees and large bushes.
"Forests like the coastal coniferous forests in today's Alaska and Western Canada will be able to thrive in fairly large parts of Greenland, with trees such as Sitka spruce and lodgepole pine," says Jens-Christian Svenning, a professor of biology at Aarhus University in Denmark.
Svenning is a member of the research group that presented its findings to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Analysis shows that many of the 44 key species of North American and European trees and bushes will thrive in Greenland’s future climes.
A considerable number of species would already be able to grow in Greenland today, say the scientists. Trees such as white spruce, the Eastern balsam poplar and Siberian larch have been planted in Greenland in experiments and shown to be able to grow.
Svenning also says Greenland has the "potential to become a lot greener" in its southern half, where flora will be able to flourish in ice-free zones.
However, he warns that with warming comes the prevalence of more humans — who have a penchant for introducing new plants and bushes to their environment.
"Such plantings could have a huge impact on the Greenlandic countryside of the future … if importing and planting species takes place without any control, this could lead to nature developing in a very chaotic way."