A study from British and Taiwanese researchers has found that due to global warming, animals and plants are heading for higher latitudes and higher ground at an average rate of 17 kilometres per decade. That's up to three times faster than previously estimated.
The study looked at 54 scientific papers that map the habitat ranges of more than 2000 species over the past 40 years. Previous work had found evidence that animals and plants were moving farther north and up hills, but it didn't point to a persuasive link between climate change and that behaviour. I-Ching Chen, the study's lead author, says the new study presents "strong evidence that global warming caused this change."
While the findings are solid, the researchers admit they were limited by the data - the work targeted only Europe and North America, and didn't include any marine species. But the study's main finding was that species moved farthest in places where the climate warmed most, and that seems to support the link between global warming and shifting species.