By Heather Allen
Does your family have a family height chart? Ours is etched on a piece of wood that has travelled with us from home to home. A faithful recording of progress and delight as two young children became taller than their mother.
This year many of the trees at The Carbon Community will be taller than me after their second season of growth in the field. Initially when a tree is planted, there is a shock as it adjusts to the transition from the nursery to the field. When we measured the trees in 2021, the birch in particular seemed impossibly slender with many measuring 5mm or less in diameter.
Over the course of 2022 we have watched the trees shoot forward, establishing their place in the landscape. These trees have been planted with special techniques as part of a landmark carbon study to understand how natured-based techniques can improve carbon sequestration in trees and soil. This field trial involves two types of forests, native broadleaf and conifer, and two treatments, enhanced rock weathering and soil biome inoculation, tested individually and in combination. We are hoping for increased tree resilience and enhanced carbon sequestration, in both the trees and the soil.
And now as our October 2022 measurement season approaches, I am full of anticipation and excitement. How tall are the trees? Over the last few months, I have walked through all of the fields helping with soil coring, maintenance and other activities. It is clear that the trees are growing wider and stronger at the base with some of the pioneer species reaching three metres in height.
In October, together with an incredible group of community science volunteers and organisations, we will measure and record 6,400 individual tree measurements in our app. The virtual equivalent of ‘etching the measurements in a piece of wood’ to record the moment. This is a truly massive task, and one that is critical to our research.
For newcomers, it will be exciting to see trees that are thriving after a summer where the climate has thrown everything at them. For volunteers returning for the second season, there will also be delight at the progress faithfully recorded for a second season. For everyone, we hope it will be an uplifting experience, a day spent in nature learning new techniques, meeting new people and boosting the spirit.
From my own perspective, I hope that everyone who joins us will have a tremendous sense of satisfaction in contributing to a ground-breaking carbon study. A study that would not be fully possible without citizen scientists with a passion for the future.
There are still spaces to join us on 8th & 9th October, click here to learn more and to register.
Learn more about Our Trees in the Drought.