Is This A Mast Year?
Is This a Mast Year?
2022 seems to be a bumper year I have never seen so many acorns and sweet chestnuts covering the ground. Is this a Mast year? Apparently not. What do you think? Please let us know
According to the Woodland Trust the last Mast year was 2020. A Mast year happens every few years when a particular species of tree produces a bumper crop of fruit/ seeds. The collective term for these fruits and seeds is ‘mast’, hence the name. Two of our most recognisable trees, oak and beech, fluctuate massively year on year, in the amount of acorns and beechnuts they produce. Some years there are very few, while in others there are tree to tree carpetings of fruits and seeds. One of the main theories for this phenomenum is ‘predator satiation’ which means that the tree will producce more fruits and seeds than the animals that feed on it, can possibly comsume. This guarantees the future of the species
Mast years have a major evolutionary advantage for the trees. Producing some many nuts is costly work and slightly stunts the trees’ growth, but as it only tends to happen very 5-10 years, it is worth the pay off as some of the crop germinate into new saplings
Several studies have reported an increase in the frequency of Mast years in recent decades and have linked this to climate change.