Day 4: Local Tree Biodiversity

Objectives

Students will use the trees in their surrounding environment to evaluate the biodiversity of tree species.

Lesson Overview

Students will practice their skills of tree characterization to find and identify three pre-labeled trees. Then they will characterize a plot with unknown trees and calculate its biodiversity. Student data will be added to the growing tree inventory to be evaluated by iTREE.

Time: 
2 class periods
Materials
  • Computers with internet access or relevant printouts from the websites that follow
  • Compass
  • Field tapes
  • Field guides
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Camera
  • Map of campus with a numbered grid overlaid on it. Numbers will represent plots. Use Google Earth to create a scale for the map.
  • Random number generator (available online).
  • Data chart for the tree plot.
Procedure

Assignments: Students will continue to collect their data. Finally, students will calculate the benefits of their trees using the genus and DBH values. Click here for tree benefits calculator  

 

Engage: 5 minutes.  Provide students with the campus map with a 1 inch grid over it.  Use a random number generator to give each group of four a plot number and the data chart for their plot.   

 

Explore:  Remainder of day 4 and 5.  Students will establish the center of their plot with the help of their paper map and Google Earth.  They can determine the center by measuring on Google Earth the distance and direction of the center from an immovable object on the map.  Students will then go outside and collect the following information: tree genus, photograph of tree, bark and leaf, circumference to be converted to dbh, groundcover, canopy width and % of canopy present.  Data should be collected in a table. 

Data will be added to a growing set of data to be analyzed by iTREE. 

Students must also calculate the biodiversity index of their plot using a simple formula of species observed /total number of individuals.  The smaller the number, the less diverse the plot. If you would like to go beyond this simple index here is a useful site.

 

Explain: 5 minutes at the end of each class and during the class period. Answer questions and check that students are sampling the plots properly and thoroughly. 

 

Evaluate: 2 minutes. Check student data tables as they are leaving the class room each day.   

Lesson Resources

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

Privacy Policy Copyright © 2014