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Climate is changing – the slow Fall foliage is a sign 

One of the most fascinating characteristics of autumn is the variety of colours and shapes shown by leaves when they change their look soon before falling.

A vibrant explosion of colours and nuances that transform the landscape in a kaleidoscope of warm and lively shades. This is what we call fall foliage. The glowing red of maple leaves mixes with the brilliant gold of beeches; oak leaves change from dark green into a range of rich and roaring brown, while willows make their part with a brilliant yellow.

Forests and parks change, as well as city streets – people go outside to enjoy walking among trees that, with their flamboyant colours, celebrate nature’s mutability in a symphony that anticipate winter peace, inspiring a feeling of wonder for its ephemeral beauty.

However, this is what we can read in a recent article in FSC® Italia website: “What we can see today may not be like what it was used to be; on the contrary, things may already be changing. The climate crisis, in fact, will have a part in the alteration of this process, influencing the colours and the span of the phenomenon”. The article cites a cycle of observations and comparisons carried out by The Columbia Climate School, which demonstrated how in the latest years the foliage in New York State is late in changing colours due to the climate growing warmer and warmer. 

As the Forest Stewardship Council explains, “In fact, the process through which leaves change from green to a coloured melange depends on two factors: temperature and light. With cold and less light the trees slow down their activity and almost go into hibernation. As production of chlorophyll (the substance that makes leafage green) stops, the other pigments in the leave – including xanthophylls, tannins and carotenes, from which the colours yellow, brown, and orange derive – have finally the chance of coming out and shine. The higher the average temperature grows, the more these processes are delayed.”

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