This week I have been focused on one very important summer task – my dissertation fieldwork! As you may have read in my previous blog post, for my dissertation I am measuring the carbon content of various tree stands, which means lots of hours in the park! Collecting the data has been slightly more difficult than I expected! For one, it takes a lot longer to measure the diameter and height of a tree than I realised, and it took me a while to figure out how to use the clinometer, but I am pretty confident with it now. Also, do you have any idea how hard it is to identify the tree species when the leaves are so high up you can’t see them properly?
Another thing I have found is that you need to be prepared for fieldwork, even if it is just going to your local park. On the first day it rained completely unexpectedly, and even though I was wearing a waterproof, it soaked through so I spent a good couple of hours cold and wet, which meant I had to leave early. The next day I wore more layers, gloves and even brought an umbrella and hot chocolate, but the weather remained fine and sunny. I refuse to be caught out again though so it was still worth the extra weight in my bag!
Regarding the method, I have had to make a few adjustments. For example, instead of measuring a 20x20m sample area, I am instead measuring 4 10×10 sample areas, because it is much easier to manage, and it will give me a much greater range and accuracy of tree densities. I also felt that I could have done with a few more tape measures, but I am making it work! I see now why it is so important to test your method before starting your data measurements for real – I am lucky in that I live near to my fieldwork area, but I suggest if you are going somewhere on a residential or abroad, then you need to factor in time to test and reconfigure your method.
I’ll let you know more as the fieldwork progresses, I had pictures but for some reason they won’t rotate to the upright position, but I will try to put them on here soon! I hope you enjoyed this insight and feel free to ask any questions below!