Today’s Solutions: April 14, 2024

Trees can live thousands of years and are constantly adjusting to the environment around them. These monumental changes can take place over hundreds of human lifetimes, so they are difficult to perceive with the naked eye. However, with the help of sensors called precision dendrometers, researchers are able to observe and record how trees change minutely all the time: expanding with moist rain, shrinking in the sun, growing in the night, breathing in the air.

Jeremy Hise, the founder of Hise Scientific Instrumentation, a company that sells affordable precision dendrometers, along with Kevin Griffin, a professor of earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University, has launched a project placing precision dendrometers around the world.   “We’re looking to be the Weather Underground of trees,” Hise said.  They have placed many sensors around their home of Brooklyn, New York, but these sensors are in place all over the world, including Canada, Mexico, Alaska, and French Guiana. Their goal is to build a large and comprehensive database to better understand how trees respond to changes in their environment caused by ecological factors such as rainfall, temperature, wind, and fire. As trees absorb 28% of all carbon emissions in our atmosphere, they are a critically important aspect of any habitat. 

Read the source article from the New Yorker for a look at “a day in the life of a tree” and to learn more about how understanding these gentle giants can give us important insights into the entire world around us.

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