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29 June 2017

New Experiment Announced to Test Ability of Trees to Fight Climate Change

Deforestation is one of the factors understood to lead to climate change, therefore our trees are vital for help in the fight against the Earth’s warming. That’s why a group of researchers from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Forest Research (BiFoR) are embarking on a decade-long experiment to see just how well they’ll cope in a future saturated with carbon emissions.

Established in Norbury Park, Staffordshire, the Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) experiment will focus on a section of woodland to identify how it’s affected by increasing amounts of carbon dioxide. The aim is to see how they cope when exposed to the levels that experts have predicted for 2050 in order to better comprehend what impact they’ll have when the climate worsens.

Co-director of BiFoR Michael Rausz identified that “forests happily take a bit more CO2 because that’s their main nutrient, but we don’t know how much more and whether they can do that indefinitely”. By finding out this information now, it’s easier to prepare for when the time comes that this volume of carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere.

The area will be exposed to a CO2 value of 550 parts per million, almost 40% more than the 400 parts per million that the U.N World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) announced the world had reached last year. The way it works is via a series of pipes which feed the gas to the top of a series of masts constructed in six 30-metre wide areas and then release it.

It’s hoped that the findings of this experiment will influence policy makers when it comes to lessening the effects of climate change so that the amount of carbon emissions never reaches such a critical level. The planet is increasingly at risk from warming and without taking action the problem can only get worse.

James Darvill

James is a passionate scriptwriter and reluctant poet with a talent for the dystopian. When he’s not staying up late watching the Simpsons he’s beating the world at Mario Kart, always with a glass of wine in hand.