Going on a tree hunt

Going on a tree hunt with our community science volunteers was a fabulous start to volunteering season at The Carbon Community.

In all weathers, from hail to sunshine, we searched for 129 trees in our Carbon Study. This large-scale field trial was designed by a team of leading scientists to understand the impact of enhanced rock weathering and soil inoculation on tree growth, soil biodiversity and forest carbon sequestration. Launched in 2021, the trees are now starting their fourth growing season in the field.

The study involves 6,400 individually bar-coded trees spread across 72 test cells and 27 acres of land at Glandwr Forest. On March 23rd & 24th our mission was to find 129 specific trees. Once discovered, we need to replace them, remeasure them, and upload the data to our database.

Why replace trees? Last summer Glandwr Forest (and much of the UK) experienced 6 weeks without rainfall early in the growing season. This was the largest drought we have experienced since our carbon study began and a number of trees did not make it, particularly in exposed areas with thin topsoil.  

So how did we find 129 trees spread across 27 acres? Technology and maps!

During our Big Tree Measure in October 2023, each of the individually bar-coded trees in our study was geopositioned, giving us an accurate location for each tree. Thanks to Ellaline Luzby, a Masters of Geography student at Swansea University, this data was converted to easy-to-use maps, showing us the location of the trees that needed to be replaced.

Maps, flags, trees and measuring equipment in hand, the community science team went on a tree hunt for the 129 trees. But they did not stop there! They also replanted 196 trees in our dose response study, measured 100 trees in our weed control study and planted Black Poplar cuttings as part of our conservation work.  

Mission accomplished!

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