03.07 Tree Lab: Calculating Carbon Dioxide Sequestered in a Tree
Ciara Goins
March 14, 2019
Lydia Goodrum
Objective(s): The objective of this lab is to learn how to calculate the carbon intake of trees, so
that we can determine whether combating climate change by planting more trees is feasible.
Introduction: Before doing this lab one must know the implications of sustainability, the process
of cellular respiration, the process of photosynthesis, and the concept of carbon sinks. We
analyze all of these further throughout this lab.
Procedure:
1.
Select an
oak
(or
hickory
or
maple
) or
southern pine
tree that has a shadow you can see
completely. In your lab notebook, prepare a data table to record your data. Also, record all
your calculations in your lab notebook.
2.
Measure the circumference of the tree in inches at chest height.
3.
Calculate the diameter of the tree using geometry: C = π D (D is diameter, C is
circumference).
4.
Calculate the height of your tree: measure the length of the tree's shadow in feet. Now place
a stick of known length in the ground near the tree (but in the sunshine). Measure the length
of the stick's shadow in feet, and make sure you know the actual length of the stick in feet.
You can then estimate the height of the tree using the concept of similar triangles from
geometry:
Set up a proportion, and calculate the height of the tree in feet.
5.
The U.S. Forest Service has developed a mathematical model to predict the weight of a tree
if its measurements are known. Select the appropriate formulas, either oak, hickory, maple,
or pine, from the formulas below. You can find tutorials and tools to assist with the
calculations at
How to Weigh a Tree
. Use your selected formula to predict the weight of your
tree:
For oak, hickory, or maple trees with diameter less than 11 inches:
GW = 0.38315 ((H D
2
)
0.92045
)
For oak, hickory, or maple trees with diameter greater than 11 inches:
GW = 0.1171 ((D
2
)
1.16763
)(H
0.92045
)

For Southern pine trees with diameter less than five inches:
GW = 0.32214 ((H D
2
)
0.9133
)

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- Spring '19
- Lydia Goodrum
- Tree Lab