Laser scanning of Wytham Woods reveals carbon-storage capacity of trees is double the previous estimate

A pictorial representation of the trees scanned, colour coded by species

Plasticity expressed by the 835 trees of the study area in Wytham Woods. Data (xz cross section) from 3D TLS, trees ordered by decreasing height.

The Woods are in the news today thanks to Dr Kim Calders and Prof Mat Disney's work on 3D laser scanning, a joint project between UCL, the University of Ghent, the University of Oxford and the National Physical Laboratory. The findings, published in full in Ecological Solutions and Evidence, highlight the importance of mature trees in the fight against climate change, as their removal is resulting in the loss of twice as much carbon storage as previously estimated. It is therefore crucial that our larger, older trees are protected. "The complex structure of mature trees means they play a role that is very difficult to replace by simply planting more trees," says Mat Disney.

It is studies like this that Wytham Woods are well-placed to contribute towards, not only because of their long history as a site of scientific study, but also because they are a typical UK woodland. Results gathered from Wytham are likely to be an accurate picture of other woods across the country.

Read more about the study on the BBC News

Listen on the Today Programme (at 2:46:27)

Take a virtual walk through the Wytham Woods canopy

Watch our video about technology in the Woods


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