Mountain Watch needs hikers like you to observe the timing of flower and fruit development along Appalachian Mountain trails. These data will be included in a long-term study to understand how shifts in climate trends may impact mountain flora.
Plants in ecosystems that depend on colder weather, such as alpine and other mountain environments, may act as sensitive bioindicators of climate change. Scientists are paying particular attention to alpine and arctic ecosystems around the world. Although alpine areas in the northeast United States are rare, they are economically, socially, and spiritually a distinct part of the Appalachian mountains.
Mountain Watch scientists will compile your data and produce a web-based database of the observations. As this collection of information grows, it will be analyzed for trends indicating climate change. The information will also be used for public education, to raise media attention, and to advocate for appropriate environmental policy to address climate change.
Mountain Watch will share your monitoring reports with its partners, the National Phenology Network and the Appalachian Trail Mega-Transect Monitoring project, contributing unique mountain data to these larger national and regional studies. By collecting data from thousands of hikers in the Appalachian Mountains, the project aims to further scientific understanding of how global climate change affects the health and vitality of key flora in mountain ecosystems.