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Center for Science and Math Education


We determined the biomass (carbon storage) of four forest types in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park: pine/oak, cove hardwood, northern hardwood, and spruce/fir. Based on the GLOBE Programs land cover protocols (, and the University of New Hampshire's GLOBE Carbon Cycle Program (, we knew that species and tree circumference would be the two most critical factors in determining biomass, but we also hypothesized that number of trees in a study site and the elevation of the site would impact biomass. We hypothesized that old growth forest would contain greater biomass than a young forest. We recorded tree species and circumference for every tree that had a circumference greater than 15 centimeters in each plot of 900 square. The circumference of a total of 219 trees represented by 22 different species, as well as forest type, elevation, and GPS coordinates for each plot, were recorded.