Fossil forest may may return due to warming Arctic

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Researchers suggest that by 2100 temperatures similar to the ones that helped the Bylot Island forest thrive 3 million years could return.


A fossilized forest that flourished more than 2.5 million years ago could return to life thanks to a warming planet, scientists say. The paleo-scene won’t sprout up overnight, of course, said Alexandre Guertin-Pasquier of the University of Montreal, who will present his research at the Canadian Paleontology Conference in Toronto this week. Rather, he said, climate forecasts suggest that, by 2100, the now-uninhabited Bylot Island where the fossilized forest was discovered will support temperatures similar to those prevalent when the forest thrived.


« The fossil forest found in Bylot Island probably looked like the ones actually found in the present-day south of Alaska, where tree-line boreal forest grows near some glacier margins, » Guertin-Pasquier wrote in an email. « The main plant diversity also seems to be similar between these two environments, » which both include willow, pine and spruce trees.

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