2 Feb 2022.
According to a study, climate change is causing plants in United Kingdom (UK) to flower almost a month earlier on average.
- Due to warmer weather, autumn leaf has started to fall and flowers are appearing earlier on shrubs and trees.
- Though some are welcoming these untimely blooms, scientists are warning of climate risks.
- If the trend continues, there are knock-on effects for insects, birds, and whole ecosystems.
Risk of Ecological mismatch
- Untimely flowering might lead to ecological mismatch.
- It would have a dramatic effect “on functioning and productivity” of farming and nature.
- Global warming is resulting into early arrival of spring and late arrival of autumn in many places.
- Not all animals and plants are adapting at the same rate.
- If these species get out of sync with each other, it could lead to ecological mismatch.
Risk associated with food resources
- Pollen, seeds, nectar and fruits of plants are important food resources for birds, insects and other wildlife.
- If flowers appear too early, they can be hit by frost.
- Thus, harvest of fruit trees can be damaged.
- Study considered hundreds of thousands of observations of first flowering dates of native trees, herbs, shrubs, and climbers, which were recorded in a citizen science database called Nature’s Calendar. It goes back to the 18th Century.
- The study encompassed whole of UK and Northern Ireland.
- Researchers compared the first flowering dates of 406 plant species and found that, early flowering is correlated with rising global temperatures.