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Volunteers recruited for climate study

Researchers are recruiting volunteers to see how the impact of climate change is affecting particular trees and plants in woodland around Scotland.

People will be encourage to picking a plant or tree as spring emerges, and then return to it and record how it develops as the weather warms.

Volunteers are being invited to choose a tree and monitor its development through spring.

Researchers from Edinburgh University hope that Track a Tree, taking place over this spring and next, will give them a clearer picture of how climate change is impacting on seasonal developments in key woodland trees and plants in parts of the UK.

The team hopes to identify how warming springs are affecting the seasonal timing of different woodland species. Shifts in the order of spring events may lead to some species doing better at the expense of others, researchers say.

Their findings will help predict how future change in climate could impact on trees and flowers, and inform the management and conservation of ancient woodlands.

The initiative, led by University of Edinburgh scientists, is a sister project of The Woodland Trust scheme Nature's Calendar, which records the seasonal timing of a range of British wildlife.

Christine Tansey of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences and the Woodland Trust, who is leading the study, said: "Climate change is already impacting on woodland, with spring plants emerging sooner than they used to. It is important that we learn all we can about how climate change could further impact on this ­natural heritage."

For more details, log onto www.trackatree.org.uk

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