Sunday Field Trip

FACE Project – 12:00 to 17:00

This year’s conference begins with a Sunday Field Trip on 4 September.

Keele is conveniently close to a new and innovative project, the University of Birmingham’s, Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) ‘Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment’ (FACE).

‘In BIFoR FACE three circular, 30m diameter areas of woodland will be exposed to elevated levels of carbon dioxide. Where will the extra carbon go? To answer this question requires careful measurement of each part of the carbon budget of the woodland: from the air into the leaf, from the leaf to the stem, down the stem to the roots, and then from the roots to the surrounding soil. Carbon can be stored in the soil (as living roots but also as dead plant fragments) or can be lost back to the air through the respiration of the plants themselves, invertebrates, and especially microbes. Measuring this “soil respiration” is easy in principle, but notoriously hard in practice.

Many of the experiments revolve around the function and health of the trees, so any unnecessary damage during construction could jeopardise the relevance of the experiments taking place. Combined with the requirement to entirely remove the infrastructure at the end of project, strict protocols to minimise damage have been put in place.’

During the Sunday Field Trip we shall be treated to:

  • overview of the recently established research projects;
  • explanation of the constraints faced, and how they were overcome, during the build of the facility;
  • insight to the challenges faced by the scientists collecting data;
  • tour of the facility and woodland experimental plots.

Field trip places are limited to a maximum of 40
…Its first come, first served!