A research team (Fukui Prefectural University, Shinshu University, University of Tsukuba, and University of Tokyo) including Associate Professor Hajime Kobayashi (School of Science and Technology, Institute of Agriculture, Shinshu University) has revealed that global warming may reduce the coverage of mosses distributed in the higher mountains.
Although inconspicuous at a low altitude, mosses cover a wide area of the ground in mountains and play a major role in water and nutrient cycles. However, mosses are sensitive to environmental changes due to their simple body structure and may be greatly affected by global warming and other factors. The research team conducted an experiment in the Nishikoma experimental forest of the Education and Research Center of Alpine Field Science (AFC), Faculty of Agriculture, Shinshu University, to examine the effects of global warming on mosses by artificially increasing the temperature of the forest.

The experiment was conducted at the forest limit where two types of mosses, those growing in the subalpine zone and those growing in the alpine zone, are distributed and are considered susceptible to the effects of global warming.

The results of the six-year experiment showed that as global warming progressed, mosses distributed in the subalpine zone increased, while those in the alpine zone decreased significantly. Mosses play an important role in water and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems, suggesting that changes in the composition of mountain mosses due to global warming may affect the multifaceted and beneficial functions of the forest.

The results of this research are a major step forward in considering the impact of global warming on forests, starting from small mosses.

※These results were published in the newspaper, Shinano Mainichi Shimbun (July 19, 2022) “Mountain mosses exhibit a threat from global warming”.

The study was also published in "Alpine Botany," an international journal published by Springer.
For more information, please visit the following URL

Yoshitaka Oishi* (Professor, Fukui Prefectural University), Hajime Kobayashi (Associate Professor, Shinshu University), Satoshi N. Suzuki (Assistant Professor, University of Tokyo), Ryuji Kanai (Technical Specialist, University of Tsukuba), Daisuke Masaki (Technical Staff, University of Tsukuba), Tanaka Kenta(Associate Professor, University of Tsukuba) 
* denotes Principal Investigators

Title: Bryophyte responses to experimental climate change in a mid-latitude forest-line ecotone
Journal: Alpine Botany