Outdoor Radio: The Phenology Of Fall

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Mount Mansfield after a late autumn snow shower. / © K.P. McFarland

Mount Mansfield after a late autumn snow shower. / © K.P. McFarland

We all learned the basics of how and why leaves change color in the fall. But on this edition of Outdoor Radio, we take a deeper look at the chemistry of fall foliage and take leaf peeping to a whole new level.

We meet Joshua Halman, a Forest Health Specialist with the Vermont Department Of Forest, Parks and Recreation at Underhill State Park where a fresh autumn snow has fallen overnight. The department has been monitoring these trees for 25 years, recording the color change and leaf drop here and at other places around the state.

Halman says the work has documented the impact of climate change. “Seen over this time, the peak color and the main time for leaf drop has actually become later,” Halman explains. “What we’re seeing since we started recording our fall phenology data, that on the average, foliage is peaking about eight days later in that 25 year period.”

 

Listen to the show

 

You can find more information at the Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation’s Forest Health Monitoring page, and learn more about fall leaves on the VCE blog – Turn Red or You’re Dead and Abscission and Marcescence in the Woods. And learn more about fall natural history with our monthly field guide series, Field Guide to October.

Outdoor Radio is a monthly feature produced in collaboration with VPR. Listen to our past episodes at http://vtecostudies.org/news/outdoor-radio.

A Sugar Maple tree in Underhill State Park holds its golden leaves despite the autumn snow shower. / © K.P. McFarland

A Sugar Maple tree in Underhill State Park holds its golden leaves despite the autumn snow shower. / © K.P. McFarland

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