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Environment Agency says dry weather is affecting plants and animals

The Environment Agency is monitoring rivers across the region. Credit: ITV West Country

The Environment Agency is monitoring trees and wildlife across the region with the prolonged dry weather forecast to continue.

The Agency has declared Prolonged Dry Weather status, meaning it is preparing for drought and monitoring rivers to identify which areas are most at risk.

Berries and other natural food sources may be affected by the dry weather. Credit: ITV West Country

Wild animals have been suffering with many having to travel much further to find water and food.

Blackbirds, robins, hedgehogs and badgers are really struggling because a lot of their diet is made up of earthworms and as the ground gets drier, the earthworms are burrowing deeper.

If berries ripen early they could be in short supply later in the year.

Rising water temperatures combined with lower river levels can also put fish in danger.

Fish can be affected by rising temperatures. Credit: ITV West Country

In periods of prolonged dry weather trees can begin to shed big branches.

Malcolm Allen from the Woodland Trust says they have noticed nature behaving in unusual ways.

"We've had about 70 reports to our Nature's Calendar website so far this year of blackberries that are at least ripening at least two months earlier than we would normally expect and probably two weeks sooner than our previous earliest recording."

"They need moisture and water to be able to survive so we are seeing that some plants are actually dying. Some are actually starting to change their leaf colour, almost as if Autumn is arriving a little bit early."

In the longer term we don't know. Severe droughts can actually affect trees in ways that will not show for two or three years.

– Malcolm Allen
In periods of prolonged dry weather trees can begin to shed big branches. Credit: ITV West Country