The amount of carbon stored in UK forests is double what was previously thought, according to a study that used 3D scanning to weigh individual trees.
Nearly 1,000 trees in Oxfordshire’s Wytham Wood were mapped by lasers for the study.
According to Dr. Kim Calders of Ghent University, “We’ve detected substantially more carbon trapped here.”
According to the study, mature trees in particular are crucial in the fight against climate change.
An accurate estimate of the amount of carbon stored in UK woodlands could help guide management decisions and highlight the environmental impact of losing those woods.
Before 3D scanning technology was created, weighing a tree required its destruction.
In the most recent research, which was published in the journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence, every tree was laser-scanned to produce a map that was then used to produce a model.
To calculate how much carbon was stored in each tree’s trunk and branches, the researchers needed a volume measurement for each tree. It proved that a UK woodland weighs nearly twice as much as what earlier simulations had suggested.
Since Wytham Wood, one of the most scientifically studied woods in the world, is representative of the deciduous woodland found in the UK, the area weighed by scientists gives an accurate assessment of the carbon worth of forests throughout the country.
According to Prof. Calders, the amount of carbon in UK forests and possibly all of Europe has been underestimated.
Healthy forests not only have important biological functions but also remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which heats the globe.
For every square kilometre of woodland that is destroyed, according to Prof. Disney’s most recent research, “we could lose almost twice the carbon sink capacity we predicted.”
“This has enormous implications for our understanding of the benefits of protecting trees in terms of climate change,” the author claims.
He goes on to argue that because of their intricate systems, older trees perform a function that would be extremely difficult to replicate by just sprouting young trees.
Prof. Disney cautioned against planting any trees, no matter how many you intended to do so: “The value you have in gigantic mature trees is almost incalculable.”