L.T.E.R. Modeling Group Summary | Research | SUNY-ESF
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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Luquillo Experimental Forest

Primary Productivity
Measuring Photosynthesis


By climbing the towers, we can measure only a few specific trees. Using these novel tree climbing techniques, we have been able to access virtually any tree in the forest.
shooting a slingshot

I. the Slingshot

First, Oscar uses a giant slingshot to shoot a lead fishing weight (attached to fishing line) over a suitable branch in the tree. The fishing line is then replaced with parachute cord and then with a 60 m long, 10.6 mm diameter climbing rope.

setting up a harness for climbing

II. Getting ready to climb

Next, Nancy prepares to ascend by making sure her harness is secure and that she has all the equipment she needs.

a person ascending up a into the trees

III. Ascending into the canopy

Nancy begins to climb up the rope using mechanical ascenders (jumars) along with slings that support her legs.

a person at the top of the ascent

IV. At the top!

Finally, Nancy reaches her destination! Climbing from the ground to the top of the rope takes about 3 minutes.

ropes used for pullying the photosynthesis machine up the tree

V. Raising up the LICOR

Using a pulley system, the ground crew raises the LiCor portable photosynthesis machine to the desired height. From her position on the rope, the climbers can now measure any leaf that she can reach at any height in the canopy.