Study finds climate change throws tree seeding out of sync

Climate change is negatively affecting tree reproduction by throwing seed production systems out of synchronisation, according to a new international study co-authored by a University of Canterbury scientist.

Many tree species worldwide produce large seed crops at irregular intervals, known as mast seeding. New Zealanders are probably already aware of this because in three of the last six years (2014, 2016 and 2019) the Department of Conservation has had to run extensive pest control operations over very large areas, says University of Canterbury Professor Dave Kelly, School of Biological Sciences, a co-author on the study.

The pest control was required to protect rare native birds from booming populations of two key predators, rodents and stoats, which increased after big seed crops in southern beech (Nothofagus) forests. Continue reading