Plants and animals time important life events to best optimise their chances of survival. Many trees, for example, open their leaves and flowers only in warmer months (as light and pollinators become more abundant) and loose their leaves before winter sets back in again.
The timing of life events- termed phenology- is influenced by external stimuli such as temperature, and because of that, it is unsurprising that climate change has majorly altered the phenology of many organisms. While phenological shifts themselves occur as a result of climate change (for example, warmer temperatures bringing earlier springs), the shifting windows of plant primary productivity also also has implications for carbon capture and future climate change.
As such, the changing timing of the trees is complexly intertwined with anthropogenic climate change. To highlight the importance of Tree Phenology we feature an online collecton of opinion pieces and original research, centred on this topic.
Some pieces included in the collection are:
- A Correspondence discussing the world’s five longest time series of spring phenology including records of cherry tree (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms from Kyoto, Japan that stretch back to 812 CE.
- A Feature, telling the story of Jean Combes, who has collected phenology records for nearly 74 years.
- A Correspondence spotlighting the urgent need to consider phenological shifts in urban environments.
- A Comment describing how including phenology can provide opportunities to optimize conservation.
Header Image Credit: Arterra / Contributor/Universal Images Group/Getty
Journal Cover Credit: Valentina Monaco