Forest Carbon Cycling
Our Schoolyard project with Southwestern Community College focused on forest carbon cycling in eastern deciduous forests. Deanne Oppermann and Brian Kloeppel lead the field activities with student participants at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory on three Saturdays each semester until 2008.
Early in each semester, Brian Kloeppel presented an overview of the forest carbon cycle to the students enrolled in the Chemistry courses at Southwestern Community College in Sylva, North Carolina. He also demonstrated how to measure tree stem carbon dioxide (CO2) flux, one component of the larger forest carbon cycle. A current study in the Coweeta LTER program involves measuring the carbon pools and fluxes in ecosystems including fluxes from soil, roots, leaves, and tree stems. The students measure tree stem CO2 flux on watershed 2, a south-facing mature (~95 year old) hardwood watershed, at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory. They work on ridge, midslope, and cove plots enabled the students to compare and contrast how slope position impacts forest carbon cycling. The students also measured tree stem and soil temperature as well as annual tree diameter growth in all sample trees including all species and sizes present at the study plot.