School Workshop: Investigating Carbon Storage in Tropical Rainforest Trees
- 3 hour workshop
- Suitable for years 12 and 13
- Focus on geography and biology
- £15 per pupil
In this KS5 workshop your students measure the carbon stored in Eden’s Rainforest Biome and statistically compare it to carbon stored in a plot in the real rainforest, linking this to climate change mitigation.
School trips to Eden
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We have developed this fieldwork investigation in partnership with rainforest scientists from the University of Exeter. As a result of this collaboration your students have the unique opportunity to replicate the real data collection techniques and calculations used by scientists in the world’s rainforests.
In addition, they are able to statistically compare their primary data with secondary data from a real tropical rainforest Caxiuana, Brazil. Students also gain an understanding of what life is like at the pointy end of research into tropical rainforests and the significance of this for climate change mitigation.
'The work was perfectly pitched for my year 13 class with a focused and relevant topic area that made use of the resources available at Eden and linked these to a Brazilian rainforest. The students had a fun and extremely worthwhile experience. I would thoroughly recommend this session for A-level students'
A level Biology Teacher and Deputy Head, Bodmin College
What happens: We begin in the classroom by outlining the role that forests play in carbon sequestration. The students then discuss how we could go about measuring and calculating how much carbon is stored in a particular tree and then trial the agreed methodology using the eucalyptus tree growing outside the classroom. The methodology used has been designed in partnership with rainforest scientists from the University of Exeter.
The students then visit the Rainforest Biome to measure and calculate the carbon stored in a selection of trees from the biome. Upon their return to the classroom the students statistically compare (t-test) the amount of carbon stored in the large trees in Eden’s Rainforest Biome with those from the rainforest in Caxiuana, Brazil. This secondary dataset has been provided by rainforest scientists from the University of Exeter.
Students are asked to explain their findings linking to the physical conditions in the tropical Rainforest. We highlight the importance of large rainforest trees in terms of climate change mitigation, within the context of selective logging, as well as discussing initiatives developed to conserve tropical rainforests.
Location: This takes place in a workshop room inside our purpose built education centre as well as in the Rainforest Biome.
Skills and curriculum links
This workshop enables pupils to:
- Use appropriate equipment and methods to collect data from the field and calculate carbon storage in trees using allometric equations.
- Undertake a statistical analysis to compare the amount of carbon stored in Eden's Rainforest Biome with that of a plot of rainforest in Caxiuana, Brazil, and suggest reasons for any differences.
- Explain the importance of large rainforest trees in terms of their ability to store carbon and hence their role in climate change mitigation.
- Describe the impacts of human activities on the carbon cycle through deforestation and consider some strategies for conservation.
We've designed the workshop to complement the following specifications:
AQA A level Geography
22.214.171.124 The carbon cycle – stores of carbon, carbon cycle, respiration, photosynthesis, decomposition, deforestation, farming practices, carbon sequestration, effect of a changing carbon budget (local and global), greenhouse effect, climate change mitigation, positive and negative feedbacks, human impacts and interventions in the carbon cycle.
126.96.36.199 – Case study of a tropical rainforest
188.8.131.52 – Ecosystems and process – factors influencing the changing of an ecosystem
184.108.40.206 – Biomes – human activity and impact
Edexcel A level Geography
Topic 6 – The Carbon Cycle
OCR A level Geography
Topic 1.2 Earth’s Life Support Systems – the carbon cycle, case study of a tropical rainforest, human impacts, deforestation, management strategies.
Topic 3.1 – Climate Change – how human influence on climate (deforestation), responding to climate change – mitigation.
Fieldwork requirements (A level Geography AQA, Edexcel, OCR) – students must have four fieldwork experiences and then complete an independent study which will be marked by their teacher. The scope and focus of the fieldwork is very wide, but it must link strongly to the programme of study. This investigation fulfils that requirement and can count as one of the four fieldwork experiences.
AQA A level Biology
3.5.3 Energy and Ecosystems – biomass, carbon, primary production
3.7.4 Populations in an Ecosystem – managing the conflict between human needs and conservation
Edexcel A level Biology A
Topic 5: On the Wild Side. 5.5 – photosynthesis, ecosystems, 5.8 – products of photosynthesis, 5.10 – plant productivity, 5.13 – causes of climate change, 5.21 – carbon cycle and climate change mitigation, 5.22 – reforestation
Edexcel A level Biology B
3.3. Biodiversity, 10.1 The nature of Ecosystems, 10.4 Human effects on ecosystems
OCR A level Biology A
4.2.1 Biodiversity, 5.2.1 Photosynthesis, 6.3.1 Ecosystems, 6.3.2 Populations and Sustainability
OCR A level Biology
4.3.1 Photosynthesis, food production and management of the environment, 4.3.2 The impact of population increase
A Level Biology – Working Scientifically (with reference to AQA but common to Edexcel and OCR)
6.1 Arithmetic and numerical computation – 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, 1.1, 1.2, 1.7, 1.9 (t-test), 2.3, 4.1
Practical Assessment, Apparatus and Techniques – AT a, AT k, AT I
Practical Assessment, Practical Skills – PS1.1, P1.2, PS3.2
The workshop costs £15 per pupil, with a minimum charge of £180 per group (includes VAT). Maximum group size is 20. The cost includes:
- a facilitated 3-hour session with our Education Team
- free access to the whole Eden site for the day
- if required, a base for your bags in our purpose-built education centre, The Core
- free entry for accompanying adults (1 free adult to every 20 students)
- a free preparatory visit to Eden for teachers wanting to plan their school trip, which should be booked in advance