(ORDO NEWS) — In the Swiss Alps, prickly pear cacti have been observed, which usually grow in the arid regions of America. They pose a threat to the plant biodiversity of the Alps.
It seems that soon we will observe the snow-capped Alps only in photographs.
Residents of the Swiss canton of Valais are accustomed to seeing mountain slopes covered with snow in winter and edelweiss flowers in summer from the windows of their houses.
But due to increased global warming, invasive species, prickly pear cacti, have become increasingly common on the slopes. They usually grow in dry and hot regions.
Experts estimate that prickly pear plants now make up 25-30% of the low vegetation cover in the hills around the Valais capital, Sion.
Cacti have also been found in neighboring Alpine regions: Ticino and Grison in Switzerland, as well as in the Aosta Valley and Valtellina in Italy.
The problem is in the climate
According to MeteoSwiss, the number of days of snow below 800 meters in Switzerland has halved since 1970! And a recent study showed that snow covers the Alps for about a month less.
The average temperature in Switzerland is already 2.4 degrees higher than in 1871-1900.
The authorities are concerned about this climate and the spread of prickly pear, as some species of this cactus absorb the soil so that no other plants can grow near them.
In this regard, a campaign was launched to uproot prickly pear.
It will be extremely difficult to do this work, because these plants reproduce easily, grow back even if they are cut down or left dry for months, and quickly recover after they are uprooted.
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