On the Expedition
Contribute toward vital climate change research in Oxfordshire's beautiful Wytham Woods.
Earthwatch is undertaking a comprehensive forest research programme, assessing the impacts of climate change on forests worldwide. And in the midst of rich and diverse flora and fauna, you can play an important role in the data collection vital to better understanding how natural woodland are responding to climate change. While on the project, you’ll learn field techniques essential to capturing accurate data, and will work closely with both scientists and fellow volunteers in the heart of Oxfordshire’s ancient woodland.
Volunteer tasks include measuring and mapping trees to understand changes in above ground carbon stocks, quantifying carbon flux from the forest soil, and emptying leaf litter traps to investigate the amount of carbon entering the forest system through dead leaves.
Before your day begins in the field, you’ll be provided a full introduction, and trained on techniques necessary to complete data collection.
Meals and Accommodations
Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available on arrival. Participants will be expected to bring their own packed lunch and snacks for the day.
About the Research Area
The research site is in Wytham Woods, in the heart of the Upper Thames Basin in rural Oxfordshire, United Kingdom – an estate comprised of 775 hectares of ancient woodland, conifer plantations, grassland, rivers and farmland.
The ancient woodland has been forested since prehistoric times and forms part of Wytham Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest – a government prescribed level of protection for a nature reserve of national importance. More than 3,800 vertebrate and invertebrate animal species and 600 plant species have been recorded there. The woodlands have been owned by University of Oxford since the 1940s; there is thus a rich history of research on the site.
Participants will be working alongside three local research partners: the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), and Environmental Change Institute. Earthwatch teams contribute toward research that take into account many aspects of forest ecology, including measuring uptake and release of carbon dioxide and monitoring of small mammal populations that depend on the forest habitat. Key tree species of interest include oak, ash, sycamore, field maple, and hawthorn, and common small mammal species include bank voles, field voles, and mice. Bats, moths, butterflies and badgers are also studied on site.