Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Era of canopy crane ending; certain research and education activities remain

29.04.2011
The 25-story construction crane used since 1995 to investigate such things as how Pacific Northwest forests absorb carbon dioxide, obtain sufficient water and resist attacks by pests and diseases is being pruned back to just the tower.

The Wind River Canopy Crane, located in a 500-year-old forest near Stevenson in southwest Washington, has been operated cooperatively by the University of Washington, the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

The partners say the jib – the arm of the crane – is being removed because the Forest Service faces budget shortfalls and replacement parts for the crane are becoming more difficult to obtain. Funding for the crane's operation has largely come from the station's budget. The jib will be removed when money is available, possibly this summer.

Gone will be the ability to carry a gondola with researchers and instruments from the bottom to the top of trees as tall as 220 feet in a 560-foot circle of old-growth forest. The Wind River crane has the farthest reach of any of the nine forest canopy research cranes operating in the world today.

Remaining will be the 230-foot tower with sensors that collect data about how the carbon dioxide is absorbed and released by the forest, work under way since 1999. Because of the crane, the UW and the Forest Service have one of the world's longest, continuously collected data sets of carbon flux from a forest, according to Jerry Franklin, UW professor of forest resources, who was the prime mover in the 1990s for landing the $1 million project.

The carbon flux data are important as policymakers and citizens consider how to manage forests to maximize the amount of carbon they hold, he said.

Work at the crane site produced some of the first data to substantiate what Franklin and other scientists suspected in the 1980s: that old-growth Douglas fir forests weren't emitting more carbon than they were absorbing.

"Data collected at the crane site revealed that old growth forests are a sink for carbon," Franklin says.

A growing number of partners, ranging from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observatories, count on carbon flux and isotope data being collected at the Wind River facility from the tower. Recently the site was chosen as the Pacific Northwest core site for the National Ecological Observatory Network, known as NEON, a major new initiative of the National Science Foundation.

The crane has facilitated other significant scientific discoveries, Franklin says, including seminal research on the structure of forest canopies, physiology of northwestern tree species, carbon and water cycles in forests, forest productivity and health, and the contributions of forest canopies to biodiversity, including birds, bats and insects. Researchers and students using the crane have generated more than 250 scientific publications.

The crane has, for example, enabled Pacific Northwest Research Station ecologist Rick Meinzer to study how very tall trees get the water they need to survive centuries of environmental extremes. During annual cycles of summer drought, trees rely on internal water storage to stabilize the supply of water to foliage high in the canopy, and on their deep roots to bring water close to the surface to feed shallow roots that might otherwise die every summer.

"Research using the crane has provided important insights about the factors that limit maximum tree height and why height growth slows drastically as a tree becomes taller," Meinzer says. "The tower will continue to be part of the nationwide network for continuous camera observation of changes in the timing of events such as leaf emergence and senescence, which are being influenced by climate change. Camera images are updated continuously and are available to both scientists and the public through websites."

The tower site and experimental forest also will continue to provide educational opportunities for high-school and college students focused on forest ecology, population dynamics and functions such as the cycling of carbon, water and nutrients.

For more information:

Franklin, jff@uw.edu

Meinzer, 541-758-7798, fmeinzer@fs.fed.us

Additional images available, see link below and request higher resolution versions from Sandra Hines: http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/era-of-canopy-crane-ending-certain-research-and-education-activities-remain

Suggested links

Crane homepage
http://depts.washington.edu/wrccrf/
Crane details
http://depts.washington.edu/wrccrf/crane.html
List of publications from crane research
http://depts.washington.edu/wrccrf/docs/WRCCRFPubList.html
UW School of Forest Resources
http://www.cfr.washington.edu/
Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station
http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
http://tinyurl.com/GiffordPinchot
NEON, National Ecological Observatory Network
http://www.neoninc.org/
Jerry Franklin
http://faculty.washington.edu/jff/
Rick Meinzer
http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/about/programs/ecop/canopy.shtml
Sampling of findings, opportunities:
Scientists interested in comparing the canopies of young and old-growth Douglas fir forests used the crane to document how completely different the structure – or architecture – of the older forest is.

The complexity of older canopies – with branches and foliage from the bottom to the top of trees – is one reason older forests are good at taking up carbon dioxide, research at the crane showed. There's a lot more "leaf area" than in younger forests where foliage is mainly at the tops of trees.

Research at the crane has revealed some of the ecosystem advantages of complex forest canopies and insight into how younger forests might be managed for more complexity if we wish.

As to the puzzle of how old growth Douglas firs can thrive for centuries after they stop growing taller and their crowns stop getting fuller, work at the crane was the first to definitively show that old trees generate new growth from dormant buds on their lower branches. It's more proof of the active growing in stands once considered to be in a state of decay.

The crane has provided educational opportunities for thousands of college students, teachers and natural resource professionals. At the secondary level, among other things, the crane was part of a television broadcast that reached 7 million students in North America.

The crane is located in the Wind River Experimental Forest of the Gifford National Forests where for nearly 100 years studies have been conducted into nursery practices, seedling survival and growth, genetics and ecology.

Sandra Hines | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uw.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Climate change, population growth may lead to open ocean aquaculture
05.10.2017 | Oregon State University

nachricht New machine evaluates soybean at harvest for quality
04.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>