Project Highlights

A simple, inexpensive tool called a dendrometer, or tree band, allows Smithsonian scientists to easily track growth patterns of many forest species in Gabon
Involving two middle schools in the Smithsonian Tree Banding Project invests young citizen scientists and their families in research and begins to create awareness of the importance of forest conservation
With 80 percent of the country covered in tropical rainforest, Gabon is richly diverse, and is still building knowledge capacity in botanical science and forest ecology
The Tree Banding Project creates a network of data collection sites to contribute to global knowledge on the effects of climate change
Topics: Ecosystems

The Smithsonian’s Tree Banding Project, a citizen science program targeted at elementary and secondary schools, is a global observatory that collects data on tree growth. Funded by a Microsoft Partners in Learning grant, the Smithsonian worked with schools to set up simple, inexpensive metal bands called dendrometers to monitor, collect data and relay information about the schools’ local trees. In 2013, with the help of Hervé Memiaghe, a Gabonese forest ecologist who traveled to the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) to learn to use dendrometers in his research, two middle schools in Gabon, Africa joined other schools around the globe to contribute to the project. Investing new stakeholders in this research helps build capacity for science in Gabon and deepens knowledge of global and local climate patterns for use in future research.