FREE-AIR CO2 ENRICHMENT (FACE) FIELD EXPERIMENT IN NATIVE WOODLAND AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN SYDNEY (USW), AUSTRALIA

Exel Composites, Melbourne was awarded the contract to supply glass fibre composite tubes used to construct the primary structure for the FACE experiment, a global climate change scientific initiative.

The FACE experiment allows investigation of the response of woodlands to rising CO2 and climate change under natural conditions. The work has broad significance for understanding how forest ecosystems will adapt to rising atmospheric CO2 in a low nutrient, seasonally dry context. The outcomes are then integrated into decision support systems for management of forests to reduce the risks arising from climate change. It will run for 15 years to test the long-term effects on the flora and fauna in an old-growth eucalypt forest, of a green-house gas enriched environment, simulating predicted atmospheric green-house gas levels in the future.

The new experiment at UWS is considered 3rd generation and is the first conducted in natural forest. It will attract global scientific interest. Approximately 500 scientific visitors per year are anticipated.

The infrastructure comprises six identical experimental ‘arrays’ inside the forest. Each array is served by a permanent tower crane and comprises 32 CO2 vent masts 28 metres high in a 25 metre circle, surrounding a group of old-growth trees. Over the life of the experiment all areas within each array will be accessed by a man box suspended from the tower crane. The vent structure is fabricated from pultruded glass-fibre composite material.

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Exel Composites Oyj, Vantaa head office, Mäkituvantie 5, FI-01510 Vantaa, Finland