Climate Change in Wytham Woods

Climate Change

Climate Change in Wytham Woods

How is climate change shaping Oxfordshire's Wytham Woods? Spend a day among the trees to find out.

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Take a day to help Earthwatch scientists as they work to pinpoint the impacts of climate change on forests around the world.

Earthwatch is undertaking a comprehensive forest research program, assessing the impacts of climate change on forests worldwide. In the midst of rich and diverse flora and fauna, you can play an important role in collecting data vital to understanding how natural woodlands are responding to climate change.

You’ll learn field techniques essential to capturing accurate data and work closely with scientists and fellow volunteers in the heart of Oxfordshire’s ancient woodland.

The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

This is your chance to be part of the scientific effort to find solutions to pressing environmental problems.

Forests are critically important to life on Earth; you can help protect their future by gathering data today.

Forests are an essential part of the global carbon cycle, storing vast quantities of carbon above and below ground. How they respond to climate and climate change is vital to understanding the role of forests in the future. Forests and other ecosystems are incredibly complex; the only way to begin to unravel this complexity is by designing effective experiments and carefully collecting as much data as possible. Without the work of thousands of dedicated scientists, we would know nothing about climate change or the ecosystems that it will affect. This is your chance to be part of the scientific effort to find solutions to pressing environmental problems, and to enjoy the beauty and diversity of nature as you work.

Earthwatch is undertaking a comprehensive forest research program

Earthwatch is undertaking a comprehensive forest research program.

This team will focus on measuring carbon stocks and fluxes within the woodland, for example, by performing monthly measurements of trees within our sample plots. Earthwatch scientists will place this research in the context of forests globally and also discuss research at Wytham on topics such as mammals, birds, and fungi.

About the research area

Wytham, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, Europe & Russia

The research site is in Wytham Woods in rural Oxfordshire, England - an estate composed of 775 hectares (1,900 acres) of ancient woodland, secondary woodland, conifer plantations, grassland, rivers, ponds, and farmland. The ancient woodland has been forested since prehistoric times. Wytham Woods has been owned by the University of Oxford since the 1940s and is one of the most researched areas of woodland in the world. More than 3,800 vertebrate and invertebrate animal species (including 800 butterflies and moths) and 600 plant species have been recorded there. Wytham has a wealth of long-term biological data, with bird data dating back for over 60 years, badger data for over 30 years, and climate change data for the last 18 years.

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:

  • Morning: Meet, introductions, training
  • Late morning and afternoon: Hike to collect carbon data and monitor trees
  • Late afternoon: Wrap-up and goodbyes

After an introduction to the research, you’ll spend your day working throughout the woods to:

  • Investigate the carbon cycle. While walking through the forest, you’ll stop to measure tree growth, survey dead wood, and collect leaf litter. This information helps the researchers understand how carbon moves through the forest.
  • Measure and monitor trees. You’ll tag and identify the species of trees, measure their diameters, and map their locations to help researchers keep track of the health of the forest.

The plots you’ll visit are located at varying distances from the forest’s edge, which helps the researchers get a better idea of how fragmentation—the interruption of the forest by developed spaces—impacts how carbon cycles through the forest.

Collect data vital to understanding how woodlands are responding to climate change.

The Scientists


Research Manager, Earthwatch

ABOUT Martha Crockatt

Dr. Martha Crockatt of Earthwatch explores the impacts of climate change and sustainable forest management on forest ecosystems.


Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food

  • Packed lunch and snacks
  • Tea and biscuits

This one-day expedition does not include overnight accommodation or meals. Tea, coffee, and biscuits will be available on arrival. Participants will be expected to bring their own packed lunch and snacks for the day.



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