Join App State’s Dr. Howard S. Neufeld for a vibrant exploration of two key questions: why do tree leaves turn color in the fall? Is it an evolutionary adaptation or just what leaves do when they die? Each autumn deciduous trees put on a colorful display as they prepare to go dormant for the winter.
Depending on the species, their summer green leaves may turn orange, red, yellow, or even brown, before falling off. This phenomenon, which occurs worldwide, is primarily limited to temperate forests, and attracts thousands of people to the mountains for fall leaf “peeping,” as it is known colloquially.
Fall is the busiest tourist season in the mountains of North Carolina, and estimates are that it contributes $600-800 million to the local economy. In this talk, Neufeld will share the natural history of fall leaf colors, explain the chemistry behind the different colors, and discuss the controversy about why leaves change colors each autumn. He will conclude with thoughts on how climate change may alter future leaf color displays.