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Scientists have found climate change is reducing snowfall in mountains and having trickle-down effects on mountainous songbird and plant populations. The U.S. Geological Survey and University of Montana study shows browsing elk are staying at higher altitudes for longer periods of time, thus consuming more plants. As a result, songbirds and deciduous trees in the Arizona mountains have declined over the last 22 years. This phenomenon directly lowers songbird habitats.

To get these results, study authors "mimicked the effects of more snow on limiting the ability of elk to browse on plants by excluding the animals from large, fenced areas," reports Science Daily. They compared bird and plant populations in exclusion areas with similar areas where elk had access. Through this six-year experiment, they found songbird and plant declines were reversed in areas where elk were excluded. (Read more)

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