The National Arboretum Canberra is a living seed bank and resource of a wide range of tree species. The collection represents globally and culturally diverse species, a number of which are rated endangered or highly endangered in the IUCN Red Book of endangered species.
Using a form of stratified random sampling, the Tree Growth Monitoring project provides a quantitative, long term record of tree growth.
Assessments are made on height and diameter, as well as on the impact of topography on growth, and the capacity to gauge the genetic diversity of each species. This provides vital information on the health and wellbeing of the trees at the Arboretum site.
The long term collection of this data will provide evidence for changes in the health of the trees, as well as responses to weather and climate with respect to temperature and rainfall. The data will also be useful in assessing the potential and desirability of some species for urban horticulture (for example, street trees).
Research investigators: Dr Roger Hnatiuk (Chief investigator), 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.
Citizen science volunteers who are members of the Friends of the National Arboretum Canberra.
Purpose of project
- Monitor tree growth in the planted forests at the Arboretum and determine:
- the heights and diameters of the forest trees, and to track their rate of growth
- if, and to what extent, tree growth is affected by local landscape position (slope, aspect)
- the degree of genetic variability in the population of trees in each forest
- Provide quantitative and statistically sound evidence of the growth rates of the full range of species making up the forests of the Arboretum.
Each forest is sampled separately:
- Measurements are made from a representative sample of trees from each forest.
- Diameter is measured at 1.3m above ground. Callipers are used when diameters are too small for standard diameter tapes.
- Height is measured in metres to the highest point of the tree.