Project Budburst- Citizen Climate Change Study

March 17, 2009

Spring is coming!!! I actually saw daffodils peaking out of the ground yesterday (at least on the sunny side of the house). I thought it would never come. Spring brings so many changes in the landscape. I was told something yesterday (that I am not 100% certain is true – but just in case I am passing it along). Spring is a time to be particularly wary of potentially rotten trees as warming causes moisture in the trees to warm and expand, actually making the trees more inclined to loose limbs or become even more unstable than they were the previous season. Combine this with muddy unstable soils and you really should be especially careful.
But talking about all the happy signs of spring….Project Budburst needs you to become a citizen scientist. The project relies on individuals across the world to make careful observations of the phenophases such as first leafing, first flower, and first fruit ripening of a diversity of trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses in their local area. This information is then used to measure climate change. From Project Budburst:

“Climate change has the largest effect on plants because, unlike many animals, they cannot move easily from one area to another. As a result, the growing season could start earlier or continue over a longer period of time. The timing of phases of the plant life cycle, known as phenophases, are directly affected by temperature, rainfall and day length. Therefore, by monitoring changes in phenological events such as first bud, budburst, and flowering, scientists can detect climate change.”

project budburst phenophase phenology Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)

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