Research stories: How to (almost) double woodland carbon overnight

The Applied Ecologist

How much carbon is stored in the aboveground biomass (AGB) of Wytham Woods aka the ‘most studied forest in the world’? Professors Mat Disney and Kim Calders thought this would be very well-known but were surprised to find this perhaps wasn’t the case after all. They discuss how their team approached their latest research.

Over the years, a number of studies have estimated the carbon stored in Wytham Woods, and many more have estimated carbon in UK woodlands more widely. These estimates generally all use empirical regression models relating tree diameter-at-breast height (DBH) (which is easy to measure) and biomass (which is not). These so-called allometric models are calibrated using harvest measurements of individual tree biomass i.e. cutting down and weighing the whole tree.

We had been using terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) at Wytham to measure the forest structure in detailed 3D in order to explore relationships of structure…

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