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Volume 556 Issue 7700, 12 April 2018

Mountain peaks

The cover shows the Alpine rock jasmine (Androsace alpina) in the scree of Piz Lagalb in the eastern Alps. Mountains are experiencing some of the highest rates of warming under anthropogenic climate change. In this issue, Manuel Steinbauer and his colleagues examine how plant species richness has changed over the past 145 years on 302 mountain summits across Europe. Using vegetation survey data, the researchers find that richness increased strongly on the vast majority of Europe’s summits over this period. They note, however, that the rate of increase has accelerated over time, with five times as much species enrichment occurring in the past decade compared with fifty years ago. Their analysis reveals a positive correlation between the magnitude of the increase in richness and the rate of warming, suggesting that climate-induced biotic change is accelerating even in remote places on Earth.

Cover image: Cajsa Nilsson/SLF, Switzerland

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