Exploring the Forest Canopy


Course description

Have you ever stood on the forest floor and looked overhead? What lives in the forest canopy? How do we study that seemingly unreachable part of the ecosystem? This course introduces you to forest canopy ecology, describes methods for accessing the canopy, and provides an opportunity to see tree climbers in action and study specimens sampled from the canopy. We will discuss the biology, environmental processes, and species relationships that shape global canopy ecology, but will focus on examples from the temperate rainforests of the West Coast. We will learn about techniques used to access the canopy, including rope installation, movement within the canopy, and ascending and descending devices.

Students will not be climbing in this course, but will join professional tree climbers during a field day in which we watch them access the canopy and sample for arthropods. Students will learn how to handle the arthropod specimens and look at them under the microscope. Finally, we will discuss the condition of forests in British Columbia and opportunities to train as a tree climber or participate in recreational climbs.

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