Climate Change Affects English Countryside

A new survey of the english countryside's flora and fauna by the Botanical Society of the British Isles and Plantlife has revealed that climate change has affected the landscape. Since the last survey in l987 the mean temperature in central England has increased to 10.51C, from 9.05C. Many plants have spread northwards because of these milder conditions. Twice as many of some species of orchids and ferns were recorded as compared to the last survey. Other plants which flourished in cooler temperatures have declined, such as lesser butterfly orchids and mountain pansies. Goldenrod has declined 15%, as have moorland species. It is easier for some plants to disperse and re-establish themselves anew than others. Ferns, orchids and daisies with their tiny spores and seeds can travel far to find a suitable habitat. Michael Braithwaite of the Botanical Society of the British Isles said " a lot of the more traditional wildflowers don't get around easily; they have heavier seeds and discard much less freely, and in the long term that is a worry." Intensified agriculture is a great threat to plantlife. Fertilisers raise the level of nutrients in the soil; hardier species can take over, whilst less hardy ones die off. The speed of the plant's response to climate change is also a concern. Species that cannot adapt will become extinct more quickly than had been expected. :: Guardian

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