This short article and brief video describes recent scientific research that revealed the amount of carbon stored in large trees in about double what was previously estimated.
The research utilized lasers to more accurately measure the volume of carbon in trees and forests in the United Kingdom.
This article includes a video that serves as a fascinating visual to illustrate the method of measuring tree volume using lasers.
The article does an excellent job of showing the importance of scientific research by explaining how accurate tree weight data can be applied to conservation action and policy.
Learners should be familiar with the terms carbon storage and carbon sink.
The video does not include narration, so make sure all students can view the screen.
Students should be familiar with the basics of photosynthesis and the carbon cycle.
Before reading the article, lead a discussion asking students to brainstorm how they would go about weighing all of the trees in a forest.
Encourage students to examine why accurate scientific data about an ecosystem could be helpful in sparking formalized protection and conservation.
Consider having students propose other examples of ways that habitats in their local area could be valued or assessed to help spur conservation.
Biology students could use this new information to connect to lessons about deforestation, carbon sequestration and storage, photosynthesis, the global carbon cycle, and the ecological importance of forests to the water cycle, water quality, air quality, and biodiversity.
This website investigates the importance of trees, specifically "old" trees in storing carbon. A 3-D scanning technique is utilized to aid in determining the amount of carbon captured in the tree's trunk and branches. This technique could demonstrate the benefit of protecting trees.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
HS-LS2-5 Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
PS4: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
HS-PS4-5 Communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.6 Analyze the author's purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure, or discussing an experiment in a text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.5 Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.10 By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.