Tracking the growth of a decapitated tree

When is a tree considered dead? This question renders over 35 000 results with a popular search engine. From amateur gardeners to lawmakers, it is of practical concern to many, not least to forest managers and owners. Indeed, waiting for trees to display unambiguous symptoms of mortality can worsen forest conditions that favor beetle outbreaks, hence affecting healthy trees as well.

The scientific literature too abounds with approaches to understanding the mortality process, quantifying the point of no return and predicting– or reconstructing – the timing of tree death. Some scientists have even come to the conclusion that they must kill trees to study mortality. The storm ‘Bernd’ swept across Europe, causing 13 billion dollars damage in Switzerland – and hitting four trees of TreeNet.

Read the story about what happened to them on the SwissForestLab homepage.