Latest news from CARBiFOR regarding activities and events: (for older news scroll down)

September 2012

CARBiFOR II Conference -an end of project seminar.

A one day conference was held in the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin (original programme) to highlight the research outputs of the COFORD/Department of Agriculture funded CARBIFOR II project. Chaired by Bruce Osborne, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, the conference focussed on the role of Irish forestry in climate change mitigation through both carbon sequestration and assessment of greenhouse gas flux dynamics. This research was placed in a wider context through papers given by both Dr Gert-Jan Nabuurs (Assist Director of the European Forest Institute) and Dr James Morison (Forestry and Climate Change Centre of the UK Forestry Commission), and its relevance to national climate change policy in Ireland by Dr Eugene Hendrick (DAFM).

To download any of the presentations, click on the speakers name in the programme below.

9.00 Introduction -Bruce Osborne, UCD.
9.05 The COFORD CliMit programme -Eugene Hendrick, DAFM.
9.15 CARBiFOR II: Contributing to the National Climate Change Strategy. The Dooary forest research platform -Bruce Osborne, UCD.
9.30 Key Note I:
New perspectives on the role of European forests and forest management in the global carbon cycle -Gert-Jan Nabuurs, EFI.

10.30 Coffee break

11.00 Comparison of forest carbon stocks across three afforested chronosequences -Brian Tobin, UCD.
11.30 Woody decomposition in Irish forest ecosystems -Samuel Olajuyigbe, UCD/University of Ibadan.
12.00 The use of geophysical technologies for forest carbon estimation -Maarten Nieuwenhuis, UCD.

12.30 Lunch

13.30 Key Note II:
The possible contribution of UK trees, woods and forests to the UK GHG balance -James Morison, Forestry Commission UK.
14.30 The impact of land use change and forest management on net ecosystem carbon budgets -Matthew Saunders, UCD.
15.00 The effects of afforestation on soil derived trace gas emissions. Giuseppe Benanti, UCD.
15.30 The impact of extreme climatic differences on the net ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange of a Sitka spruce forest -Bruce Osborne/Matthew Saunders, UCD.

16.00 Coffee break

16.30 Afforestation and soil carbon stocks -Tom Bolger/Brian Reidy, UCD.
17.00 Scaling up forest GHG estimates to the national level using the CARBWARE model -Kevin Black, UCD/FERS.
17.30 Open Discussion. Chair, Bruce Osborne, UCD.
18.00 Closing remarks -Bruce Osborne, UCD.

August 2011

GPR trial

A study to test the practical ability of ground penetrating radar (GPR) to estimate belowground root biomass in field conditions has begun in collaboration with Kevin Barton and LGS Ltd. If successful; this technology would allow a non-destructive but site specific estimation of root mass. An initial trial involves the use of several antennae of different output frequency at the blanket peat forest site in Cloosh. In addition, Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) scans were carried out to assist in the interpretation of the GPR data. The technique produces depth sections at a coarser scale than GPR but provides the broad soil/sediment background in which the roots develop.

First a detailed survey was carried out to record detail of the experimental plot topography. Following this, antennas of 250 MHz, 400 MHz and 1 GHz frequencies were used for GPR scans across the plot area.

ERT was also used to provide extra data on the nature of the peatís moisture regime. Following the collection of the GPR and ERT data, all tree roots were excavated from the plot area for a comparison. Kevin Barton and Johanna Deloche carried out most of the tedious scanning work, made tedious as the GPR sledge had to be kept in close contact with the soil during a scan, not an easy task on a mounded forest site!

Spring 2011

Chronosequence 3: Sitka spruce on peat soil

The task for 2011 is to monitor a new chronosequence of Sitka spruce, this time on peat soil. This will provide a direct comparison with Chronosequence A (SS on mineral soil). The three sampling sites include the stage prior to afforestation, open heathland, occasionally grazed. The next site is a18 ha forest planted in 1993 (YC 16). And the third is a recently deforested site, planted in 1975 and clear-felled in July 2011.

The eddy covariance trailer will roved sequentially from one site to the next for the remainder of 2011, measuring carbon uptake and release, as well as collecting localised meteorological data. Biomass stock and increment for the year will be collected at the second site. Trace gas flux measurements will also be taken from each of the three sites throughout the year.

September 2010

Up-grade continues

Progress has continued with the upgrade of the Dooary permanent tower station.

Having solved some power issues, work on the interior of the forest lab is almost complete. A board-walk has been added to the area around the lab to relieve some of the traffic pressure on the soil environment.

The new mast now dwarfs the older structure. The next steps will include moving the majority of the met. instrumentation still attached to the older tower to the newer one. Picture quality is a little poor at height as we are still concentrating on climbing safely!

July 2010

Dooary permanent tower-site upgrade

The long-planned upgrade of the core CARBiFOR research site in Dooary has finally begun! The first two main objectives were to increase the tower height in order to keep pace with the height growth of the canopy, and second to provide a protected space for housing the dataloggers, instrumentation etc. and to allow researchers to work on site irrespective of weather conditions.

First to arrive was a container fitted out as an outdoor office. In digging holes for the anchors (to support the guy ropes for the new 30m tall mast), digging proved tough with the heavy soil and glacial material underneath. Anchor supports were buried 2.5m deep.

The mast went up section by section, adding guy ropes every 5m. Now, with the mast standing at 30m tall, the next job is to transfer all the instrumentation!

April 2010

Rain-out shelters set-up at the ash chronosequence sites

Information on carbon (C) sequestration and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) is required for reporting commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto protocol. Forest ecosystems are significant, long-term carbon sinks (Valentini et al, 2003), and under Article 3.3 of the Kyoto protocol, C sequestered through afforestation, which has occurred since 1990, may contribute towards a reduction in the national GHG emission inventory of a signatory country. Whilst there is some information on forest stand age effects on soil respiration (Ewel et al., 1986a; Irvine & Law, 2002; Klopatek, 2002; Saiz et al. 2006), there are significant gaps in scientific research on the impact of climate change. In particular the modification of water availability through changing seasonal drying and wetting cycles due to changes in climate and disturbances associated with forestry operations. Particular emphasis has recently been placed on the prediction of drier summers in Ireland resulting from climate change and the impact that this will have on vegetation, soil respiration and water resources (ICARUS 2008; c4i 2008).

To analyse the impact of water availability on soil respiration emissions in Ireland, precipitation exclusion zones have been constructed at different chronosequence stages of Sitka spruce forest and semi-natural grassland during summer 2009. The exclusion zones (rainout shelters) consisted of a shelter constructed using transparent plastic sheeting over a wooden frame, covering an area of 25 m2. The polyethene sheeting was chosen to reduce the absorption of radiation, ensuring that changes in respiration were due to water availability and not due to a reduction in root exudates. The roofs of the shelters were ~ 1.5 m above the ground and had sloping sides that did not reach the ground, thereby not increasing the ambient air temperature or obstructing air movements. There were four independent experimental plots at each site for our first site experiment; this year we are building new rainout shelters in the ash chronosequence sites to gather information on soil respiration emissions related to the reduction of soil water.

Erica and Saul are the construction engineers!

4 March 2010

The value of forest monitoring networks: Their role in a changing environment

An open workshop was held on the 4th of March 2010 in the Glenview Hotel Co. Wicklow to discuss the value of long-term forest monitoring networks in assessing the role of forestry in relation to key environmental issues. The aim of this workshop was to give an overview of Irish forest monitoring networks to date and to integrate past, current and future activities. The workshop was well received with over seventy participants from a wide range of disciplines. A wide range of topics were covered including the National Forest Inventory (NFI), the native forest estate, biodiversity, climate change mitigation and adaptation, phenology and biogeochemical cycles associated with forest ecosystems. An international perspective was given where similar topics from the United Kingdom and Denmark were covered.

A follow-up meeting was held to discuss the output from the workshop where it was agreed that the Irish forest and Woodland monitoring consortium would be created. The objectives of this consortium are to integrate past, current and future forest and woodland monitoring networks to provide a better understanding of forest ecosystem processes, forest services, biodiversity and sustainable forest use in a changing environment. The aims of the consortium are to address the issues of current and future policy needs with particular emphasis on International agreements dealing with greenhouse gases, carbon sequestration, biodiversity in addition to other legislative issues such as the Water Framework Directive. The consortium will also provide enhance visibility for all forest monitoring activities in Ireland improving the dissemination of information and providing a wider platform for International collaboration.

Eugene Hendrick gave the opening presentation at the workshop.