Articles: Experiments for the Environment

Last week we visited a local forest where we source some of our British timbers from and they told us about some of the experiments they are running on the estate. They include growing trees in amongst other species, trying to get Oak trees to grow faster and testing future carbon dioxide level effects.

The planting experiment is to increase Biodiversity and enables each of the trees to grow stronger than they would if each tree in the area was the same. This is for a number of reasons including:

  • Each species requires a different amount of nutrients from the soil, so the soil doesn’t become desolate
  • They require different amounts of light, so they aren’t all fighting to break the canopy
  • Each tree is effective against different pests and diseases, so their influence is less likely to grow

It’s essentially why the amazon rainforest is such a strong ecosystem.

The next experiment on the estate is one that could really boost the timber trade as well as the environment. They are pumping nitrogen and water into the soil to boost the level of nutrients that Oak trees need. They are hoping in turn that the trees grow faster so that they can be harvested sooner – From 120 years down to 50 years to maturity.

Faster growing Oak trees have the added benefit of meaning that sources could be renewed quicker and forest levels could start to rise faster than they currently are doing in Britain. This will have a positive impact on the environment.

One of the other experiments they are running includes learning about how future levels of Carbon Dioxide will affect the environment. So, the Estate has teamed up with Birmingham University in order to run comprehensive tests.

Known as the BIFoR (Birmingham Institute of Forest Research), the experiment is incubating fully grown Oak trees in enhanced CO2 environments. This is to monitor how ecosystems will respond to predicted levels of CO2 in 25 years’ time.