What the drought could mean for New England’s fall foliage

People come from all over to see the hues of autumn in New England, with the season bringing in billions of dollars in tourism revenue for the region. But it’s been a particularly hot and dry summer, and these drought conditions could mean three things for the annual burst of color.

“Shorter. Earlier. Less exciting,” said forest ecologist Andy Finton with the Nature Conservancy.

Massachusetts — and most of the rest of New England — is experiencing drought conditions. Boston has had less than an inch of rain within the last month, and nearly 40 percent of Massachusetts was under extreme drought conditions last week, according to the US Drought Monitor.

“We’re feeling it as people, but the trees are feeling it, too,” Finton said.

Prolonged drought conditions affect the life cycle of plants, and many trees are under stress due to a lack of moisture — some are already shedding their browned and withered leaves, and dried-up vegetation is noticeable around Boston.

Read the full article on BostonGlobe.com.

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