In eastern Himalayas’ Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP), eye-catching Wight’s rhododendron shrubs and graceful firs, frame the upper limits of the sub-alpine forests. Beyond this boundary of closed canopy forests, called timberline, the climate is too harsh for trees to grow.
But as the climate warms, globally, studies have documented an elevational upwards expansion of the forest line in many mountain ranges, such as the Polar Urals (Russia), the central Swiss Alps, western Himalayas (India), the Rocky Mountains (Southern Alberta) and central Himalaya (Nepal).
A recent assessment has said that Sikkim, India’s first organic farming state, is bucking the trend so far. This particular forest timberline is unlikely to budge in the near future. However, the edges around the forest limits may become greener due to densification as more tree individuals spring up.