Tree growth monitoring


The 100+ forests of the National Arboretum Canberra constitute a major biological resource based on a wide diversity of tree species that represent global biogeography, ethno-botany and species of international concern with ratings of endangered or highly endangered in the IUCN Red Book of endangered species.

Knowing how well all of these species are growing on the Arboretum site, and how their health is trending through time is important information to both managers of the collection and the wider public.

The Tree Growth Monitoring project aims to provide a quantitative, long term record of tree growth as measured by height and diameter measurements, done on about an annual cycle for the first five years, and possibly less often in later years.

The statistical design, provided by Dr Ross Cunningham from the Australian National University, ensures a rigorous underpinning to the data for determining height and diameter growth, and assessments of the impact of topography on growth, as well as the capacity to gauge genetic diversity of each species.

Chief investigator

Dr Roger Hnatiuk, Member of the Friends of the National Arboretum Canberra. Dr Hnatuik is a retired, professionally trained and experienced plant ecologist with specific experience in forest ecology, primary productivity, micrometeorology and biogeography.

Other investigators

Citizen science volunteers who are members of the Friends of the National Arboretum Canberra.

Research aims

The aims of the project are primarily to monitor the growth of the trees in the planted forests at the National Arboretum:


Each forest will be sampled separately:

Sampling strategy
Research outcomes

They will also provide evidence for changes in health of the trees, as well as responses to weather and climate with respect to temperature and rainfall.

Time frame

This project is designed to last for a very long time, as by its very nature it falls into the long term ecological research mode. The longer it can be maintained, the more valuable the data become.