UK acorn crop hit by climate change

Category ConservationNews
30 April 2015, Comments Comments Off on UK acorn crop hit by climate change

sep 4 aonbRecent analysis carried out by the Woodland Trust has concluded that warmer years, which lead to less synchronised flowering of oak trees, could be causing a drop in the abundance of the UK’s acorn crop. Their research uses data recorded by members of the public for the Nature’s Calendar survey.

The Trust says this is still a preliminary result that requires further study but they have found a significant correlation for both species of native oak. Years when the flowering is more synchronised tend to be those with a later mean flowering date which suggests that warmer years are associated with smaller acorn crops.

Acorns are a primary food source for a number of species such as jays, pigeons, deer, and squirrels. Some species help to disperse the seeds but synchronised flowering enables oak trees to spread their genes through wind-dispersed pollen. Warmer springs gave oak trees less opportunity to cross-pollinate over wide areas which reduced the acorn crop. In a cooler year, the flowering dates are more synchronised or similar, which means the cross-pollination opportunities are greater. Identifying trends like these can help to better plan for the future and build the resilience and diversity of our precious native woodland

Source: Guardian online (April 2015)

Comments are closed.