THRISSUR: In a unique initiative, the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) has decided to carry out a comprehensive study on the impact of climate change on tree calendar in the state. The study will provide nature lovers with an opportu nity to establish their observational skills and desire to be a researcher.
This is the first time that a study on tree calendar is being carried out, with public participation, in India. The KFRI has invited people from various walks of life to become part of its ongoing research on climate change, said KFRI officials.
According to Jose Kallarakkal, emeritus professor in the sustainable forest management division of KFRI, Kerala is blessed with a rich biodiversity and it is estimated that there are more than 650 tree species in the state.
But, flowering phenology of various trees have changed recently due to the impact of climate change. For example, Cassia fistula (golden shower- kanikonna) which usually heralds on the onset of summer in the state, are now flowering early in the winter itself, owing to climate change.In this backdrop, there is a need to continually monitor the phenology of trees located in different geographical locations in the state, said Jose. This project aims to develop such phenology monitoring network for trees in Kerala.
Efforts are on to find volunteers from different geographic locations of Kerala, especially considering the elevation and precipitation at each location. The volunteers will be given short-term training at different locations and will be imparted training on online hosting of information. The data collected from different locations will be fed into a web portal formed for the purpose.
For obtaining data, parameters like bud burst, leaf duration, leaf fall, appearance of leaves, especially colour change, flowering time, fruiting time, fruit ripening etc will be monitored, of the selected species. Additional parameters will be added if they are found important during the monitoring process. The weather parameters will be obtained from the nearest weather station to the location of monitored tree.
The data fed by volunteers will be verified for accuracy and stored in a repository of the web portal. Data will be then analysed on a continuous basis for assessing the changes in weather and its relation to phenology, said KFRI officials.