Using Sound To “See” Inside Tree Trunks

Living trees can rot from the inside out, leaving only a hollowed trunk. Wood rot in living trees can cause overestimates of global carbon pools, timber loss in forestry, and poor tree health. Understanding wood decay in forests is of special concern in the tropics because tropical forests are estimated to harbor 96% of the world’s tree diversity and about 25% of terrestrial carbon, compared to the roughly 10% of carbon held in temperate forests. But how do foresters and researchers see into a living tree to measure wood decay? They use sound. (Click on title for full story.)