'Sci-fi forest', Staffordshire

book event

Event Date: 01 November 2017
Event Time: 09:00 - 11:00


Norbury, near Stafford (directions will be sent on confirmation of booking)

Event Details:

This visit is for sben members only

The cost is just £25

Following a BBC news article spotted by our sben chairperson Judith Smith earlier in the year,  we’ve  arranged  this 2nd visit to BIFoR (Birmingham Institute of Forest Research) in Norbury nr. Stafford. An industrial-scale experiment in a Staffordshire forest that will help fill gaps in knowledge about climate change.  The project has created an outdoor laboratory by encircling trees with 25m masts gushing high levels of carbon dioxide.  The site is surrounded by a 3m anti-climb fence, and silvery tubes snake along the forest floor in what looks like a sci-fi alien invasion. 

The scientists behind the experiment want to find how forests will respond to the levels of carbon dioxide expected in the atmosphere by the middle of the 21st Century.

One of the key challenges BIFOR addresses is the impact of climate and environmental change on woodlands. The dynamic response of forests to environmental change, including climate change, is only partially understood. To increase understanding, they have built a Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) experiment, set in mature, unmanaged, temperate woodland, located on private land in Staffordshire.

BIFoR FACE is a technological marvel. Built into existing woodland without the use of concrete foundations or guy ropes, the facility gently delivers its enriched-CO2 atmosphere to 30-metre patches of 160 year-old oaks, interspersed with hazels, sycamores, hawthorns, and holly. The facility comprises a series of approximately cylindrical ring structures, as high as the tree canopy (around 25 m) and 30 m wide, supporting pipes that deliver CO2 in such a way that the woodland inside the ring is immersed in elevated CO2 but the rest of the woodland remains largely unaffected.



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