Clemson University Has A New Tower Use

For determining forest growth

South Carolina Radio Network
July 16, 2018 - 11:55 am

The pines trees and the climate are talking to each other on Hobcaw Barony in Greenville County, and Clemson University scientist Tom O’Halloran is using a tower to eavesdrop on their conversations.

O’Halloran told South Carolina Radio Network that they will study the data over an extended time period will allow for the development of statistical relationships between the variables that affect the trees’ growth.” It’s a research tower that’s 120 feet tall and it sticks up above the trees. And we use that to measure photosynthesis and carbon dioxide exchange with the forest. It the kind of information that’s useful to foresters. It helps us understand how forest grow.”

The Hobcaw Barony Mature Longleaf Pine tower is one of 326 sites registered as part of AmeriFlux, a network of principal investigator-managed sites measuring ecosystem CO2, water and energy fluxes in North, Central, and South America.

“Over the long-term, it helps us understand better about how the local climate is changing and how more importantly how the forests are

responding to any changes that happen. We will be measuring that,” said O’Halloran.

A 2017 analysis by Clemson professors measured the contribution of the forestry sector to the state’s economy at more than $21 billion and 84,000 jobs, making it South Carolina’s No. 1 manufacturing sector in terms of jobs and labor income ($4.5 billion).

The nonprofit Belle W. Baruch Foundation owns and manages Hobcaw Barony, a 16,000-acre property dedicated to research and education, meaning that it also makes decisions on when and where to conduct prescribed burns on its pine forests.

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