'FORESTS' ASSIGNMENTS, Fall
RESEARCH PROPOSAL (this has multiple
steps, with products due at various dates through the term; this link
will give you the frame-work and due-dates for each step -- but stay
tuned for modifications).
- First step of Research Proposal (5 questions) is due WED. 19 SEPT
1. FIRST PROBLEM SET, DUE 24 Sept
DISCUSSION AND EXAMPLES
2 SECOND PROBLEM SET DUE 15 Oct
DISCUSSION AND EXAMPLES
3. THIRD PROBLEM SET DUE 12 Nov
DISCUSSION AND EXAMPLES
4. FOURTH/FINAL PROBLEM SET DUE end of classes
LABS (AND OTHER STUFF):1. Species-Area Lab Writeup: DUE MON. 17 SEPT
2. 'Field logs' for off-campus field-trips with notes on species identification: DUE each week on following Wed.
These should include, for each week's outing, a) notes on 4-5 tree
species for each week's field trip focusing on properties
that, in your own observations of the species, emerge as most useful in
identification/recognition (these might be properties from the ID
keys/manuals -- but those are often not the most useful in direct field
identification; focus on what YOU see as most useful),
and b) and 1-2 pages of observational notes focused on ecological
observations in the field for each field-trip -- things that struck you
as distinctive about habitats, that suggested interesting
questions/research ideas, or that were interesting in terms of insights
about ecological processes in general; framing potential research
questions/hypotheses is always good...
3. Forest carbon sequestration lab: Submit answers to following questions by Thursday 1 November:
a. You can get the data by either:
- downloading an excel spreadsheet here, or
- if you want to work in google sheets,
download the excel file, then: 1) in your google drive click 'new' and
'upload', 2) choose the excel file to upload or drag the file to the
upload window (depending on interface you find)
b. We will review/talk about spreadsheet functions in lab.
Building on this, use the formulas provided in the spreadsheet to
estimate total aboveground biomass of trees for
the two permanent forest study plots ('maple' and 'pine'; each is on a
separate tab in the spreadsheet). Convert these values into some
sort of useful "biomass density" unit (kg/ha is a good one;
estimates are in kg; plots are 500 square m; ha = 10,000 square m) for
each plot. (NOTE that these are 'dry biomass' estimates -- organic
matter without water).
c. Convert the CHANGE in biomass to an estimate of RATE of NET
CHANGE IN aboveground biomass (this is a component of the
ecosystem's net primary production, or NPP; we'll talk about this later). Put this in terms of
a rate of change in biomass density (e.g. kg/ha/yr) for each plot for
each of the study intervals between measurement dates and overall (for the full 14 years).
d. To answer questions below, you will need to convert biomass or NPP
values to values for CARBON contained (since biomass is not all carbon); dry biomass is about 40%
HERE IS A "WORKED" EXAMPLE SPREADSHEET FOR THIS LAB: summary calculations are at the bottom of each page; graphs are to the right of the main spreadsheet.
NOW WRITE IT UP: Format is up to you, but write-up should be clearly structured and should include
A. A narrative, descriptive summary of results (estimates of biomass densities and NPP, and
how they've changed over time) in a reasonable format (graphs are
always appropriate). Figure on a few paragraphs. If you get ambitious you might do this by
species as well as total
B. Specific answers to the following questions:
1. Are these forests CARBON SINKS (accumulating
biomass and so extracting C from the atmosphere on average) or SOURCES
(decreasing in biomass and so adding C to atmosphere)?
2. Compare the two stands. Are there differences between the stands? If
so, offer one hypothesis for why they might differ in this way (you may
consider what you know or think likely about the history and nature of
the two stands -- the pine stand is a plantation that is around 50
years old, with some other species now growing among the pines; the
maple stand is much older, as we talked about in the field).
3. Assess magnitude of carbon sink/source effect. For ONE of these stands, estimate the total
amount of C being taken from or added to the atmosphere for a larger area of
similar forest -- say the size of campus (approximately 450 acres; look up
conversion from ha to acre on google; a hectare is larger than an acre;
make sure your conversion goes in the right direction!), and the amount of gasoline that, when burnt, would yield a comparable amount of carbon. A quick internet search should tell you how much C is added to the atmosphere for each gallon
of gasoline burned (make sure it's C and not carbon dioxide mass), and calculate the 'gasoline equivalent' of the
change in standing biomass per year (either per ha, or for an area the
size of campus)?
4. Note that we are considering only LIVING,
ABOVEGROUND biomass of TREES here. What are some other
potentially significant reservoirs of carbon in these forests that
you'd want to look at if you wanted a full estimate of the carbon
dynamics of these forests? How might you undertake measuring the
amount of carbon involved and how it is changing (don't need a lot of
detail on this; a paragraph or so)? (This is what we talked about
doing in the field.)
TURN IN YOUR SPREADSHEET AND DISCUSSION/ANSWERS DIGITALLY. You can either email me the documents/spreadsheets OR share them as google docs/sheets.