The observations of people who work closely with nature are often the first clue we have that something is changing in the world.
Jean-Claude and (insert other relevant interview subjects here if applicable) have observed changes in the flowering times of plants they work with and rely on in their day-to-day lives. These observations, when combined with others, contain important information, and in many cases, they match the findings of scientists who have done more rigorous and deliberate research into the subject, often covering wider areas, longer timeframes, or both.
Over the past few years, a team of researchers led by Doctors Miller-Rushing and Primack has been working in the woods around Concord, Massachusetts, and comparing information from recent years to data sets gathered in the 1850s by Henry David Thoreau and from 1878-1902 by Alfred Hosmer, to their own data gathered in 2004-2006. During that time frame, global warming caused the temperature in Concord to rise by 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.32 degrees Fahrenheit), and as a direct result of the warmer springs caused by that, several species of wildflower have begun to flower earlier in the spring. These results tally with what Jean-Claude has observed, but further research by Willis et al has shown that there are some species of flowers that have NOT changed bloom time with the rise in temperature, and those species are showing a measurable decline in population.
The message is clear – the climate is changing, and many wildflowers are changing with it. Those that don’t change, are dying out in the regions they once called home.