Rictor Norton & David Allen (CC BY 2.0)
British Wildlife 32.5 April 2021

The value and importance of historical phenology in the UK

The first phenological network was established in Britain in 1875, and what was recorded then has helped to decide the events that the current UK scheme, Nature’s Calendar, continues to monitor today. Here, Tim SparksLorienne Whittle and Judith Garforth take a closer look at some of the long-term flowering observations from the earlier scheme. 

After a decade or three of deliberation, the first phenological network in Britain was finally created in 1875. It was coordinated by the (Royal) Meteorological Society until its end in 1947, when no successor could be found. The current UK scheme, Nature’s Calendar, commenced in 1998, and the choice of events to be recorded was heavily influenced by the earlier network.

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