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Winter Ecology Speaker Series: Climate Change and Ecological Restoration: how the study of plant phenology can help us understand the impact of a warming climate on native plants.
Tom Simpson is a Research Field Station Ecologist with McHenry County Conservation District.
From the beginnings of ecological restoration to the present, practitioners have put a premium on using local seed sources, feeling that these genotypes would be best adapted to the climate and soils of our region. Climate change may force us to reconsider this basic tenet of restoration. What is lacking now is any hard information on what is happening (or not?) to local populations of native plants as a function of the warming climate. Are we too early or already too late in considering assisted migration?
The Plant Phenology Program at MCCD is an example of a local research project that can help us better understand the likely impact of climate change on native plant populations. The Phenology Research Program began in the 1980s under the leadership of MCCD Volunteer Joyce Perbix. Laurie Ryan, MCCD Plant Ecologist, lead the revival of the program from 2012 to 2014. Tom Simpson has run the Phenology Program since 2018, during which time it has grown from 12 to nearly 30 volunteers working at 20 sites across the county.

Feb 3, 2022 12:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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