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Climate change and extension of the Ginkgo biloba L. growing season in Japan


Kazuho Matsumoto, fax +81 52 789 5038, e-mail:


To understand the effects of climate change on the growing season of plants in Japan, we conducted trend analysis of phenological phases and examined the relationship between phenology and air temperatures. We used phenological data for Ginkgo biloba L., collected from 1953 to 2000. We defined the beginning and the end of the growing season (BGS and EGS) as the dates of budding and leaf fall, respectively. Changes in the air temperature in the 45 days before the date of BGS affected annual variation in BGS. The annual variation in air temperature over the 85 days before EGS affected the date of EGS. The average annual air temperature in Japan has increased by 1.3°C over the last four decades (1961–2000), and this increase has caused changes in ginkgo phenology. In the last five decades (1953–2000), BGS has occurred approximately 4 days earlier than previously, and EGS has occurred about 8 days later. Consequently, since 1953 the length of the growing season (LGS) has been extended by 12 days. Since around 1970, LGS and air temperatures have shown increasing trends. Although many researchers have stated that phenological events are not affected by the air temperature in the fall, we found high correlations not only between budding dates and air temperatures in spring but also between leaf-fall dates and air temperatures in autumn. If the mean annual air temperature increases by 1°C, LGS could be extended by 10 days. We also examined the spatial distribution of the rate of LGS extension, but we did not find an obvious relationship between LGS extension and latitude.