Here’s a word you may not have heard of: phenology. Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines it as “the study of natural phenomena that recur periodically, as migration or blossoming, and of their relation to climate and changes in season.”
Mike Lynch writes about Adirondack phenology in the July/August issue of the Adirondack Explorer, the first article in a series about regional climate change.
Scientists are concerned that climate change will disrupt the synchronicity of phenological phenomena. For example, birds that return in spring often arrive just in time to feast on the hatching of certain insect larvae. If the birds arrive before or after the hatch, they may have trouble finding food. The fear is that climate change will alter the timing of insect hatches and/or the migration of birds so the two are no longer in sync.
Lynch’s story provides several other examples of potential phenological disruption, such as frogs migrating to vernal pools too early, snowshoe hares changing their coats to white before winter sets in, and insect larvae hatching too late to feast on fresh buds and leaves.
The series, “Climate Matters,” will continue over five more bimonthly issues of the Explorer. We’ll post each installment here on Adirondack Almanack.
The latest issue of the Explorer also includes a lengthy article on the state’s proposal to remove the railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake to create a 34-mile rail trail. The state will accept comments until July 27, but given the years of debate and public input, it’s hard to imagine what could alter the decision at this point. In one of the issue’s op-ed pieces, Curtis Austin writes about a proposal for another long-distance rail trail in the Adirondacks, extending 90 miles from Saratoga Springs to Tahawus.
Also in the Explorer are stories on paddling and hiking the newly acquired MacIntyre East tract near Tahawus; a humorous account of an attempt to traverse the Great Range in a day; an explanation of a proposed management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes region, including a recommendation to keep a controversial bridge over the Hudson; an update on the status of Lot 8, the Forest Preserve parcel that NYCO Minerals hopes to mine; an article on environmentalists’ proposed moratorium on moving tar-sands oil by rail through the Champlain Valley; a profile of Scott Van Laer, a forest ranger who tracks down airplane wreckage in the Adirondacks; an in-depth look at a study that concluded yellow perch are native to the region; and historian Philip Terrie’s discussion, in a review of two books, of the celebrated Philosophers’ Camp on Follensby Pond.
That’s in addition to columns on raccoons, red-eyed vireos, moths, nature books, and the Wild Center’s new Wild Walk. On the Outdoor Skills page, illustrator Jerry Russell tells (and shows) hikers how to prevent and treat blisters.
Those are just some of the offerings in the July/August issue. Some of the articles will be posted on Adirondack Almanack. The rest are available only to subscribers.
The cover photo was taken by Seth Jones at the confluence of the Hudson and Opalescent rivers on the MacIntyre East tract.
The Adirondack Explorer is a nonprofit newsmagazine that focuses on environmental issues, outdoor recreation, natural history, and general news. It publishes six issues a year, in addition to an annual Outings Guide, an anthology of hiking, paddling, cross-country skiing, and rock-climbing stories. Click here to subscribe and get a free copy of either 12 Short Hikes Near Lake Placid or 12 Short Hikes Near Old Forge (both guidebooks published by the Explorer).