The effects of climate change become evidently clearer as more time passes. Through the extreme weather patterns and tragedies produced, plants are forgotten in mainstream conversations even though they are also highly impacted by these global drastic changes. The impacts of climate change are becoming so dire that even the introduction of climate migrants, people who are displaced from their homes due to direct effects of climate change, have been changing the way international politics define refugees. Like humans, plants also need to change their habitats because of climate change. With the weather changing drastically, the conditions that once allowed plants to thrive in their environment are no longer feasible for some plants to survive.
According to a study done at the Georgia Institute of Technology, 75% of dominant plant groups in North America have migrated through the region over the past 18,000 years to access their ideal growing conditions. Plants have always migrated to accommodate their needs given the change in climate. However, due to habitat fragmentation created by humans, as well as the drastic changes that climate change has created, plant migration has become difficult as they must cross larger areas of land to a more suitable environment. Roads, as well as monoculture farms, are some of the man-made hazards for a plant to survive now in the world. Climate change’s effect on temperature, creating larger seasons of colder or hotter weather, impacts the growing cycles of plants as well as pests that destroy vegetation. The combination of these changes in temperature and human existence disrupts plant lifecycles.
The reality is that plants are also an essential factor for our fight against climate change since they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There are some already existing solutions for some of these issues. Construction of land bridges over roadways, greenways in areas of high agriculture, and rewilding land around waterways are all solutions in helping plant migration. These ideas call for a more dynamic conservation as we need to consider the possibility of preservation for several decades. Plant migration is one of the most pressing issues that are impacting plants in climate change.