Sunday, November 9, 2008
Although it is not what Thoreau was noted for he kept very precise records of plants in 1851, he started recording when and where plants flowered in Concord, he was making notes for a book he planned to write. Recently researchers at Boston University and Harvard are using those notes to learn patterns of plant abundance and decline in Concord and New England as a whole. They are linking those patterns to changing climate. Their conclusions are clear common species are flowering seven days earlier than they did in Thoreau’s day. Conservation biologists and Evolutionary biologists from Harvard and Boston University have determined that 27 percent of the species documented by Thoreau have vanished from Concord and 36 percent are present in such small numbers that they probably will not survive for long. Those findings appear in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Of the 21 species of orchids Thoreau observed in Concord, the researchers could only find 7. Researchers are busy studying the archives for any records of this nature to try and understand what is going on with our planet today. There hasn't been much interest in spending the money to record and find these old writings however maybe now with these kind of findings more interest will be sparked to find and preserve them.