Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Whatever the Weather: Huff and puff! By Caroline Bennett, Education Officer

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Join our Learning Team for the ‘Whatever the Weather’ family trail around the arboretum this half term (between 12-14 February) to discover how trees survive in all sorts of weather, how trees can change the weather and what we are doing to prepare the arboretum for a changing climate.

The wind is a major cause of tree death. Yet trees can grow in extremely windy areas – if they have the right shape and flexibility!

Where strong winds blow from one direction, ‘flagging’ can occur.

Scotts pine with signs of flagging from strong winds

This is where the branches grow only on the downwind side of the tree. Some trees even grow flat along the ground.

Other trees like the palm are very flexible and can bend right over. This allows them to even withstand hurricanes.

You can find out more by visiting the Great Oak Hall to pick up a trail map and taking part in our free fun activities at the Learning Centre between 11am and 3pm, 12-14 February.

Useful links and information:

General admission to Westonbirt Arboretum (until 28 February): adults £5, concessions £4, children £2.
Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum and accompanying children go free.
Take a look at the Plan Your Visit web pages for opening times, directions and more information.

Experimenting on a grand scale, by Ben Oliver, Learning and Participation Manager

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Last week saw the start of an exciting new research project that aims to discover new forestry tree species for the future. Wander up to the Elm plots at the top end of Waste Drive and you’ll find contractors busy clearing the ground ready for the first saplings to be planted.


Working with Forest Research and eleven other institutions along the European Atlantic coast, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum is taking part in a major EU-funded Interreg (inter regional) project that aims to grow and monitor a range of different tree species that might be important to our future forestry planning.


Thirty different species have been carefully selected and each participating site will grow 36 specimens of each species, from three different seed provenances. These seed provenances have been carefully chosen from across the climatic range for each species. Scientists will monitor the specimens as they grow as well as collecting weather data for each site. By pooling the data recorded we will be able to gain a better understanding of how different tree species and seed provenances respond to a range of different climatic conditions. This information will help forest managers to choose species that suit the future climate predicted for their local area; ensuring we safeguard our future forests.

Useful links
More information about Forest Research
About Westonbirt’s trees
Join the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

A Cool Christmas by Sarah Wilkinson

Monday, December 21st, 2009

It’s been so cold in our office this week,that you might be forgiven for asking “What does a Climate Change Officer actually do?” Well my role is all about interpretation and communication.

At the moment I’m working on interpretation for several Forestry Commission sites, including Grizedale up in the north of the country and Haldon down in the south in Devon! I’m trying to do lots of the work remotely, as I don’t think it’s a good thing for a Climate Change Officer to be travelling all over the country!
I visited Forest Research at Alice Holt last week to discuss how we can work together more to communicate the findings of their Climate Change Centre. I always find it really interesting going to Alice Holt as it is so different from any of our Forestry Commission sites, and there is so much cutting edge research going on that people just don’t know about. The best thing I think is that when the lunch bell goes, all of the scientists get together in the canteen, and its a real hive of discussion.

In the next few months I’ll be doing more work at Westonbirt, particularly on the Westonbirt Project, helping the Project Team think about interpretation for some of the new buildings, and out in the collection itself. I spend so much of my time working on other sites, that it will be nice to do some work at Westonbirt itself! 

Readers’ Comments: An alternative view of climate change

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Issue 74 states on page 24 that the climate is warming and man is directly responsible. Nonsense!

NASA satellites show warming stopped four years ago and only flawed computer models show an influence from mankind!

DEFRA cite outdated politically distorted views from the IPCC whose chairman has said he ignores recent research – clearly he’s not a scientist! CO2 is neither a pollutant nor driver of climate; it is essential to all plant life and is now present as only a miniscule 0.038% of earth’s atmosphere. H2O is earth’s massively dominant greenhouse gas; solar energy reaching us also depends on cyclical output changes, cosmic radiation affecting cloud formation, changing planetary orbits etc. We are entering cycle 24, signalling decades of cooling! Supporting references are available. Puny man cannot change the climate and scientific debate is being politically stifled.

Sincerely, R. J. Dennish