Dendrology Assignment | Professional Writing Services

How do energy and matter flow into and out of my tree?

Energy and Matter:  Flows, Cycles, and Conservation

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“Tracking energy and matter into, out of, and within systems helps one understand the systems’ possibilities and limitations.” – Adapted from NGSS Appendix G




In the last module we learned about the causes of spring changes in trees – they grow new leaves and flowers.  We learned that those changes can be triggered by changes in heat and also changes in the amount of daylight.  So now we know the causes of the changes, but what exactly are those leaves and flowers made of?  Where does that matter come from?  And where does a tree get the energy to grow leaves and flowers?


In Module 4 we thought about maple tree sap, that can be collected and boiled down into syrup.  We thought about trees as systems with inputs and outputs.  We learned a little Dendrology Module 6

e about the structure and function of some of the parts of trees.  Let’s focus a bit more now on the inputs and ouputs.


What do you already know about trees – what do they take in from the environment?  What do they put into the environment?  Fill out the tables with what you already know:


Input Matter or Energy?




Output Matter or Energy?




Now watch this video about tree system inputs and outputs.  Then add to your tables above.



So by now you’ve learned that trees take in carbon dioxide, water, nutrients from the soil, and sunlight.  Trees give off oxygen, water, and heat from respiration, and they give off plant matter (leaves) every fall.  But what exactly is the tree’s trunk and roots and branches and leaves made of?  Hint:  It’s made of the inputs!


Watch this video.  What is a tree made of?  Where do those molecules come from?









Hmmm….carbon dioxide is a problem for us if there’s too much in the air.  Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas – it absorbs heat energy and warms the atmosphere.  We’ve been adding carbon dioxide unnaturally, by burning fossil fuels, for the past 100 years, and we are experiencing global climate warming.  How could trees help us out?


Let’s find out how much carbon is stored in YOUR tree.


You will need a calculator and something to measure the circumference (distance around the trunk) of your tree.  You could use a tape measure, or use a piece of string or yarn and then measure that with a ruler.  (If you get really stuck, measure your string using a piece of 8 ½ x 11 inch paper.  You know the long side is 11 inches.)


Go out to your tree.  At about 4 ½ feet (somewhere between your face and mid body), measure the circumference of your tree trunk.  Write it down.  Come back inside and do some math:



  1. Convert your circumference in inches to centimeters by multiplying circumference times 2.54
Circumference in cm:
  1. Find the diameter by dividing your circumference measurement by 3.14 (pi)
Diameter in cm:
  1.  Use the biomass table to find the “a” number for your species of tree.  If you can’t find your species, choose a tree that seems similar to your tree.
  1.  Now square your diameter number and then multiply it by the “a” number.  The formula is


D² x a = biomass in Kg


(biomass is the mass of a living thing)


Biomass in Kg =
  1. About half your tree’s biomass is actually carbon.  So divide your biomass number by 2.
Carbon in Kg =





  1.  Convert Kg of carbon into Pounds (lbs) of carbon by multiplying by 2.2.
Carbon in lbs =




  1. Convert how much carbon is found in carbon dioxide molecules by multiplying by 3.67.


Carbon dioxide in lbs =



My tree contains this much carbon dioxide in lbs:





So what does that mean?  How can trees help absorb carbon dioxide from fossil fuels that we burn?  Can we plant enough trees to solve climate change?


Let’s do a few more calculations:


A car emits 19.6 lbs of CO2 for each gallon of gas.  If you use 400 gallons of gas a year, how much CO2 would you emit?







Now, think about how much carbon dioxide is in your tree.  How many trees like yours would you need to plant every year to absorb the carbon dioxide from your car?  Explain how you found your answer.  Could you ever really plant enough trees to make up for the gas you burn?










Now watch this NASA video that shows changes in carbon dioxide levels over twelve months – from January through December.  How do the seasonal changes of matter and energy that flow into and out of trees and other plants change the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?













Even if we can’t plant enough trees to offset each person’s car, is it still important to plant and protect trees?  Give evidence and reasoning for your answer.










If you want to learn more about climate change, this NASA website is a good start.



Write at least two questions you still have about how energy and matter flow through tree systems:









Number of pages: 1 pages/single spaced (550 words)

Number of source/references: 1


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