Botanists and environmentalists are sounding the alarm: they have found that due to global warming, flowering in the UK began to begin not days or weeks, but a whole month earlier! This change threatens the entire ecosystem.
The study, which is conducted by the University of Cambridge, is based on data from the Nature’s Calendar project – botanists, professional gardeners, and just caring amateurs share observations of nature with it. Funded by Nature’s Calendar from the Woodland Trust, Britain’s largest forest conservation charity.
Ulf Buntgen, lead author of the study, Professor of Geography at Cambridge, says the situation looks critical. True, he continues, there is still not enough data for radical conclusions: they mainly concern one or several plant species that bloom in small areas.
Despite this imperfection of primary information, the subject of analysis of Cambridge botanists were herbs, shrubs, and trees that bloom throughout the UK: from the Channel Islands to Shetland and from Northern Ireland to Suffolk. The date of the first flowering of plants was compared with climatic indicators.
And it turned out that the flowers bloom in strict accordance with the temperature conditions. And that in 200 years – the data for just such a period are at the disposal of botanists – the beginning of flowering has shifted by a whole month closer to the beginning of the year!
Professor Buntgen joked grimly in this regard that if things continued like this, spring in Britain would begin in February.
An earlier start of flowering is bad because it can be interrupted by sudden frosts. This is a real threat, and not only plants, but the entire ecosystem will suffer from such a development: insects, wild herbivores, insectivores, and predators.
Based on Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences