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Due to climate change the plants will bloom as early as a month in the UK

Using records from the Civilian Scientific Database of the mid-18th century, a research team led by the University of Cambridge found that plants bloom a month earlier during recent global warming due to the effects of climate change.

Based on their analysis of 400,000 observations of more than 400,000 plant species from the Nature Calendar maintained by the Woodland Foundation, the researchers compared the first flowering dates with instrument temperature measurements. The average first flowering date from 1987 to 2019 was found to be one month earlier than the average first flowering date from 1753 to 1986. The same period coincides with global warming caused by human activity. Royal Society b. The results were published in the processes of the journal Biological Research.

The first spring flowers are always welcome, the earlier blooms will have an impact on the UK environment and agriculture. Other species that synchronize their migration or dormancy may be left without the flowers and plants on which they depend – a phenomenon known as ecological diversity – which can lead to biodiversity loss if the population does not adapt quickly enough.

This change could also have an impact on farmers and gardeners. For example, fruit trees bloom early after a mild winter, and if the flowers are exposed to late frosts the entire crop will be destroyed. Although the effects of climate change can be seen through extreme weather events and increasing climate variability, the long-term effects on the ecosystem are very subtle and therefore difficult to identify and quantify.

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People walk through daffodils at Green Park in London.Source: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2306602-uks-spring-flowers-are-blooming-a-month-early-due-to-climate-change/

“We can use a wide range of ecological databases to see how climate change affects different species, but most of our records contain only one or a few species in a relatively small area. We need big databases, ”said Ulf Büntgen, a geographer at Cambridge University and principal editor of the study.

The UK has such a database: since the 18th century, observations of seasonal changes have been recorded by organizations such as scientists, nature enthusiasts, amateur and professional gardeners, and the Royal Meteorological Association. At 2,000, the Woodland Foundation, in collaboration with the Center for Ecology and Hydrology, compared these records with the Nature’s calendar of 1736, which now holds approximately 3.5 million records.

“Anyone in the UK can keep a record of their observations of plants and wildlife and submit a note to the Nature’s calendar. It is an incredibly rich and varied data source and can be used to calculate how climate change is affecting the functioning of various ecosystems across the UK, in addition to temperature records.” Said Büntgen.

For the current study, researchers used more than 400,000 entries from the Nature’s calendar to study changes in 406 flowering plant species in the UK between 1753 and 2019. Observations of the first date of flowering of trees, shrubs, herbs and vines were used in places from the Channel Islands to Shetland and Northern Ireland and Suffolk. The researchers categorized the observations in different ways: location, altitude and whether they came from urban or rural areas. Then the first flowering date was compared with the monthly weather records. To better balance the number of observations, the researchers split the entire database into records in 1986 and beyond. On average the first flowers came a full month earlier, and global temperatures are rising.

“The results are really dangerous considering the environmental risks associated with flowers in the past. When the plants bloom early, late frosts can destroy them – a phenomenon that most gardeners experience at some point. But there is a high risk of environmental variation. Evolved together at a point to synchronize levels.A particular plant blooms, attracts a particular insect species, it attracts a particular bird species, and so on.

But if one component responds faster than the other, there is a risk that they will break out of sync, which can lead to species decline if they are not modified quickly enough, ”Buntgen said.

Büntgen says spring in the UK will finally begin in February if global temperatures continue to rise at current rates. However, many species that depend on forests, gardens, and farms may face serious problems due to the speed of change.

“Continued monitoring is needed to ensure we have a better understanding of the effects of climate change. Contributing notes to the Nature’s calendar is an activity that anyone can engage in,” said Tim Sparks, a zoologist and professor of zoology at the University of Cambridge.

The research was supported by the European Research Council, the Fritz & Elizabeth Swingroof Foundation and the Woodland Foundation as part of this research.

(Source: Cambridge University)