What is GLOBE Observer: Trees?
GLOBE Observer: Trees is an app-based tool that will help you estimate tree height. Once you have downloaded the app and created an account, the Trees tool will guide you through the observation process. Required steps include selecting a tree and using your device to measure the angle from the bottom to the top of the tree, walking to the tree and counting your steps (to determine the distance) and reporting on surface conditions. The app will use that information to calculate an estimate of the tree’s height. Optional steps are taking a photograph of the tree and measuring the circumference of the tree. Even a basic observation without optional elements is valuable!
For more details about how to take observations, including tips and tricks, additional tutorials beyond what is in the app, and frequently asked questions about how to observe, visit the Making Observations page. Our Resource Library includes additional activities, references, videos and book lists.
Why are my observations important?
Trees cool and moisten our air and fill it with oxygen and can help balance our carbon budget. Forests are considered one of the world’s largest banks for all of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere through natural processes and human activities. Tree height is the most widely used indicator of an ecosystem’s ability to grow trees. Observing tree height allows NASA scientists to understand the gain or loss of biomass which can inform calculations of the carbon that trees and forests either take in from or release into the atmosphere. Tracking how trees are changing over time can help us estimate the number of trees that make up an area. Learn more about the science of trees, and how NASA studies them, on the Trees Science page.
In addition to research done by professional scientists, because GLOBE Observer is part of the GLOBE Program, which is active in thousands of schools across the world, citizen scientists are strengthening science education by providing data for student research.