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