Monday, September 14, 2009

Highest Tree in the Rockies?

In late August, Dave Goldstein climbed 13,803-foot Vestal Peak in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, and about 100 feet below the summit he found a small fir tree. This isn't a shrub or wind-stunted krummholz—the tree (probably a subalpine fir) stands thigh-high. It's growing on an east-facing ledge, with a six-foot rock wall behind it, at around 13,700 feet (4,175 meters).

The usual tree line in Colorado is no higher than about 11,700 feet (3,566m). Is this climate change? Or did this seed just find an unusually sheltered spot to take root? Either way, this could be the highest tree in the Rocky Mountains. Have you seen one that's higher? Let me know.

1 comment:

Sarah Gallagher said...

If it was climate change that cause this tree to be at such a high elevation, would say it was a negative effect? Is this a negative thing?