Global Tree Banding

Global Tree Banding Project

This citizen science project aims to measure tree growth throughout the world by using a simple but sensitive technique that anyone, anywhere can use.  To date, the tree banding network covers several thousand trees in more than 42 countries and 48 states in the US! Measuring tree growth has allowed us to gather information about how trees respond to local weather and global climate change.

Please watch this website for updates about the program!

The "What" and the "Why"

What is the difference between weather and climate?

The difference between weather and climate is the measure of time.

The effects of weather can be studied in one place at one particular time and consists of short term changes in the atmosphere. For example, weather consists of precipitation, cloudiness, wind, humidity, etc. Climate is the long-term trend of weather in a particular area. An average climate in a certain area can change and be felt from generation to generation. For example, if springtime comes earlier in the season than it did 30 years ago or if the summertime average temperature is the highest it has been in a decade, the climate may have changed in that region.

Why trees?

tree

Trees are important to all life on Earth, especially to our very human existence. Trees give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilize soil, and provide food and shelter to all creatures. Without them our world would be in peril. To understand the influence of weather and climate patterns on trees, we must track their growth in a various places with different climates.The Global Tree Banding Project is just a start to gather tree responses to weather and climate change. In the future, we hope to expand it to cover more regions and more climates, to create a complete picture of how the world’s forests are adapting to climate change.

Methods

In this program, tree growth will be monitored from around the world and create the first observational information of how trees respond to climate change! Students will measure local tree growth and compare their findings to Smithsonian research and with those of other students worldwide.

banding

By signing up you receive a tree banding kit for free that includes everything you need to get started. For every kit, there are ten tree bands or dendrometers that need to be prepared and installed on ten local trees that can be measured for the project. After installation of the dendrometers, allow four weeks for the bands to settle and then when the trees are ready, you will use digital calipers to measure the gap in the band, which is how much the tree has grown.

For the project we ask two measurements in the spring and two in the fall to help us monitor the growing season but taking more measurements give us more data to analyze! 

Get Involved

This project is no longer active so please do not enroll or register new classrooms or organizations at this time. If you submit data, they will be checked an approved soon. If you are currently taking data, please continue.

Please check out our other citizen science projects to find ways to be involved with SERC research. To get more information contact Alison Cawood, SERC Citizen Science Coordinator, at cawooda@si.edu, (443) 482-2271