07 Apr 2010 12:04:11
Early flowering plants signal climate change threat
Plants in Britain are flowering earlier in the year than at any time in the last two-and-a-half centuries, a new study shows.
Published in the journal Proceedings B, it revealed that for every one degrees Celsius increase in temperature, plants flower five days earlier.
The data was compiled using information gathered by domestic gardeners over the last 250 years.
More than 400 species of plant were examined, allowing researchers to estimate when plants will flower in the future as global warming causes temperatures to rise.
This means they can carry out conservation work to protect animals and other plant species that may be affected by the changes to their environment.
Richard Smithers, senior conservation advisor at the Woodland Trust, who helped to compile the research, told the Telegraph: "It is hard to make climate change real for people. This makes it very real for people."
Earlier this year, the BBC reported that spring in the UK is beginning 11 days earlier on average than it was 30 years ago, according to a study published in the journal Global Change Biology.http://tinyurl.com/yhj8uko