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What is Phenology?

Phenology is the study of the timing of plant and animal behaviour in relation to climate change. The flowering times of plants, emergence dates of insects and movements of migratory birds are examples of behaviour which vary from year to year depending upon the weather. Phenologists record such behaviour then look for longer-term trends to see whether they correspond with recorded changes in climate.


Why is Phenology Important?

Irreversible climate change would have some impact upon the lives of everyone on Earth and all other living things. Some of the most significant effects would be in agriculture where food crops may no longer be reliable or in healthcare if patterns of disease occurrence should change in response to changes in climate. It is also probable that already endangered species may be lost as their habitats change. The consequences of climate change will be complex and predicting them will be difficult since many factors interact in ways that are not well-understood. Phenology is one area of study which can help to unravel the web of interactions making it possible to predict the future accurately.


What can you do?

Find out more about the causes of climate change and the measures needed to arrest it by visiting the following websites:-

www.ecn.ac.uk

www.panda.org/climate/

www.bbc.co.uk/nature/earth

Consumption of fossil fuels is a major cause of global warming and a proportion of the energy which is generated goes to waste. Take action to reduce energy waste in your own home by using some of the ideas at www.doingyourbit.org.uk

Keep phenology records and share them with the UK Phenology Network at www.phenology.org.uk

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