Carbon dynamics in Wytham Woods

The SIGEO plot was established in 2008, and the first recensus completed in 2010. In addition to tree diameter census measurements, ground flora and seedling regeneration surveys are carried out annually, a comprehensive soil survey was done in 2009, as well as tree height and coarse woody debris measurements. A 1 ha plot within the larger plot is used for more intensive carbon cycling research, focussing on soil and stem respiration.

The Earthwatch project involves a series of 1 ha woodland edge, core and fragment plots in and around Wytham Woods. Over 4 years, tree censuses, dendrometer, height and dead wood surveys were carried out by teams of citizen scientists, volunteers from HSBC's climate champions programme. Soil respiration and decomposition experiments were also carried out, as well as soil and ground flora surveys.

Where are we working?

Bullet_red - Site Bullet_blue - Plot Bullet_yellow - Field station

Photos and images

Uploaded 6 Feb 2014 by Cécile Girardin. Copyright © 2023.

Congratulations to the GEM team (Chris, Yadvinder & Liana) who co-authored a paper in Nature this week (cover story):

"The paper answers a long-standing question about the net carbon balance of the Amazon forest. It uses aircraft flights throughout the year at four different locations to measure the change in carbon dioxide concentration if air as it passes over the Amazon Basin. The study shows that in wet years and wet seasons the Amazon is a net sink (i.e. absorbs carbon) from the atmosphere, but in dry years and dry seasons it is carbon neutral or a source of carbon. Our main contribution in Oxford was to provide insight from our RAINFOR-GEM intensive monitoring plots across Amazonia, which suggest that the loss of the carbon sink was caused by a reduction in photosynthesis." (Y. Malhi blog, Feb 2014)

Gatti L.V., M. Gloor, J. B. Miller, C. E. Doughty, Y. Malhi, L. G. Domingues, L. S. Basso, A. Martinewski, C. S. C. Correia, V. F. Borges, S. Freitas, R. Braz, L. O. Anderson, H. Rocha, J. Grace, O. L. Phillips & J. Lloyd Drought sensitivity of Amazonian carbon balance revealed by atmospheric measurements, Nature 506, 76–80. Supplementary Info

Download the paper from here:

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  • Thumb_malhi_pic_forest

    Yadvinder Malhi

    I am Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University.
    I lead the Ecosystems Programme at the Environmental Change Institute, with a focus of understanding the functioning of tropical forests and...

  • Thumb_dr-martha-crockatt_cropped

    Martha Crockatt

    I am a Research Manager at Earthwatch (Oxford), leading the research on carbon cycling in fragmented temperate forests in Wytham Woods. Our data is collected with the assistance of Earthwatch...

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