MARCH 29 2012 02:25h
Tree test looks for climate change data
Thousands of trees of different species are being planted in test areas from Portugal in the south to Scotland in the north and will be monitored by researchers as they grow in the diverse environments.
In Wales, a cleared area about the size of five soccer fields in the Crychan Forest, is being planted with trees from the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, California and beyond, researchers said.
Ongoing measurements will be taken for decades, they said.
"The kind of information we're getting out of it is going to inform the policy makers and the foresters of the future about the species that they will be able to use," Chris Jones of the Forestry Commission Wales told the BBC. "This is one of the biggest trials we've done in forest research."
Dozens of similar test sites and plantings are located from the Azores in the south up 1,600 miles of the Atlantic coast through Britain and up to Scotland.
However, researchers acknowledge, it could be many years before the data can be put to practical use.
"The main problem is the timescale," Keith Kirby of Natural England said. "With any trial, we can only get the answers as the trees grow, and so we can get lots of information in the short term. But to be useful we have to wait until the trees mature -- that is 50 years', 100 years' time."
LONDON, March 28 (UPI) -- European researchers say they've begun a multinational field trial to determine what kinds of trees can best survive if climate change predictions come to pass.