Trees Around the GLOBE

Trees Around the GLOBE Student Research Campaign

Year 5: October 1, 2022 - September 30, 2023

October 2022 begins Year 5 of the Trees Around the GLOBE Student Research Campaign. With participants from, currently, 60 GLOBE countries, the campaign includes students, educators, citizen scientists, subject matter experts, and scientists from six continents. The campaign focuses on tree height, with a close relationship with land cover, greenings, and carbon cycle. 

The theme for Year 5 will be “Looking at Change Over Time and Organizing Student Research.” Our goal is to help teachers guide students with their student research projects focusing on tree height, land cover, greenings (green-up/green-down), and carbon cycle, by showcasing how to use new and archived GLOBE data, online data tools and maps, and bringing together GLOBE schools for project collaboration for IVSS 2023. This year, the campaign will focus deep on getting students really focused on the trees and land cover in their local regions by taking a detailed look at the characteristics in every land cover and tree height photo they take

We will also continue our successful collaborative efforts among the GLOBE campaigns (European Phenology Campaign, GLOBE Mission Mosquito, and the Urban Heat Island Effect - Surface Temperature Intensive Observation Period) and where the campaign measurements and observations can overlap and provide participants with an amazing, cross-campaigns, robust dataset.


This video is a resource that can be used alongside any student research or activity that involves creating and developing research questions. While the video focuses on questions about trees, the basic principles are necessary for asking scientific questions that lead to successful scientific research. 


Looking at change over time!

The image you see below is of Lake Mead. Lake Mead is a reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River in the Southwestern United States. It is located in the states of Nevada and Arizona, 24 mi east of Las Vegas. The largest reservoir in the United States supplies water to millions of people across seven states, tribal lands, and northern Mexico. It now also provides a stark illustration of climate change and a long-term drought that may be the worst in the U.S. West in 12 centuries.

Looking at this time-series of images of Lake Mead from the NASA/USGS Landsat 7 satellite (2000 image) and NASA/USGS Landsat 8 satellite (2021 and 2022), what can you see has changed? From space, you can tell some very large-scale changes, but from the ground, you can observe small-scale, local environmental changes. This is why we need you, as part of the Trees Around the GLOBE Student Research Campaign, to take ground-based observations and through analysis, make sense of these images in the real world.



In September 2017, Hurricane Maria's lashing rain and winds also transformed Puerto Rico's lush tropical rainforest landscape. The extensive damage to Puerto Rico's forests had far-reaching effects. Fallen trees that no longer stabilize soil on slopes with their roots as well as downed branches can contribute to landslides and debris flows, increased erosion, and poor water quality in streams and rivers where sediments build up.

The images below, both 2017 and 2018, are from the Goddard’s Lidar, Hyperspectral, and Thermal (G-LiHT) Airborne Imager, a system designed to study the structure and species composition of forests. Shooting 600,000 laser pulses per second, G-LiHT produces a 3D view of the forest structure in high resolution, showing individual trees in high detail from the ground to treetop. In April 2018 (post-Hurricane Maria) the team went back and surveyed the same tracks as in 2017 (before Hurricane Maria).

Looking at the picture below of the El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico from 2017 vs 2018, what can you tell about the amount of trees in the forest before and after Hurricane Maria? What might you also be able to infer about the tree heights and land cover before and after the catastrophic event?


As you know, one of the major focuses for this campaign is to have students take tree height, land cover, greenings, and carbon cycle and use this data to develop research projects that focus on the environment in their local areas in order to understand the larger picture of how our planet is changing over time.

We will focus on two major online tools for data analysis and comparison of GLOBE data to NASA satellite, airborne, and instrument data for land cover and tree height, all in the context of understanding our planet's carbon cycle.

These online tools are:

Global Forest Canopy Height ToolA 30-meter spatial resolution global forest canopy height map developed through the integration of the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) lidar forest structure measurements and Landsat analysis-ready data time-series (Landsat ARD).

Global Land Cover Viewer Tool: A way to visualize global land cover change maps and statistics and easily navigate and compare between different areas or years. 



Multi-Campaign Collaborations

The Trees Around the GLOBE Student Research Campaign is leveraging all the great things many of the other GLOBE campaigns are doing. These campaigns include the European Phenology Campaign (focusing on Green Up, Green Down, and identification of trees and vegetation), Urban Heat Island Effect - Surface Temperature Field Campaign (focusing on surface temperatures in urban areas), and GLOBE Mission Mosquito (focusing on mosquito habitats, tree holes, and eradicating these potentially dangerous insects carrying vector-borne disease). There are many parallel GLOBE protocol measurements and observations the Trees Around the GLOBE Student Research Campaign will highlight.

When measurements and observations are taken in a specific location, it is vital to know as many environmental variables as possible, so that you can better understand your local environment.

For instance, if you are taking a tree height observation of a tree in your backyard, it is important to know what else is going on around that tree, environmentally. When taking the tree height, you can observe and take measurements of the land cover, surface temperature, observable mosquito habitats, air temperature, soil moisture and characterization, precipitation, and others that you can measure with GLOBE Program protocols.

How can your measurements and observations benefit science and multiple GLOBE campaigns?

European Phenology Campaign

  • Campaign Website:
  • What are we asking you to observe and measure? Greenings (Green Up and Green Down) and Tree Identification
  • What are we asking you to do? When you take a tree height measurement or observation, please take Greenings - Green Up or Green Down (depending on the season) and if possible, identify the genus and species of the tree you are observing. Learn about the Green Up and Green Down Protocols.
  • Why are we asking you to do this? Greenings (Green-Up and Green-Down) measurements help scientists validate satellite estimates of the beginning of the plant growing season in a particular location and by identifying the genus and species of a tree, you can add to the knowledge of global tree distribution.
  • *IMPORTANT NOTE: You do not need to be in Europe to take these observations. The Trees Around the GLOBE Student Research Campaign is all around the globe and we would love for you to take these measurements wherever you are.


Urban Heat Island Effect - Surface Temperature Field Campaign

  • Campaign Website:
  • What are we asking you to observe and measure? Urban tree (shaded and non-shaded) surface temperature measurements

  • What are we asking you to do? When you take a tree height measurement or observation, please take a surface temperature measurement in 1.) the shaded surface under the tree being observed; and 2.) the non-shaded area just outside the shaded area of the tree being observed. Learn about the Surface Temperature Protocol.

  • Why are we asking you to do this? Trees play a big role in keeping our towns and cities cool and the right amount of tree cover can lower summer daytime temperatures in areas shaded by trees.


GLOBE Mission Mosquito 

  • Campaign Website: 
  • What are we asking you to observe and measure? Mosquito habitats and tree holes

  • What are we asking you to do? When you take a tree height measurement or observation and you notice a tree hole (a tree hole is a hole in a tree that can have standing water inside it and be a potential mosquito habitat) in the tree you are observing, please take a Mosquito Habitat Observation. Learn about the Mosquito Habitat Protocol.
  • Why are we asking you to do this? Tree holes can contain stagnant water that could serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying potentially deadly diseases like Zika, Dengue, Malaria, among others.


To join the campaign, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Campaign Community Page, scroll down, and click the "Join Community" link above the map.
  2. If you are new to GLOBE and have never taken any protocol measurements, you can complete the e-Trainings for the protocols you would like to use.
  3. Start taking Biometry Tree Height measurements. Some guidelines for choosing trees to measure:
    1. Trees measured should be at least 5ft (1.52m) tall;
    2. Trees measured should be isolated trees or the tallest trees in a large grouping of trees
  4. Decide which other Protocols you and your students will use to take local environmental measurements.
  5. Start taking your protocol measurements and submit them to GLOBE through the Data Entry Page.
  6. Connect with us by attending the campaign Webinars and engage in some discussions with other GLOBE schools, scientists, researchers, and campaign team.
  7. Work with your students to develop potential research projects using your protocol measurement data and data from other GLOBE schools.
  8. Collaborate with other GLOBE schools from around the world to strengthen your research experience, which could be part of the GLOBE IVSS.
  9. Begin and/or contribute to the campaign Discussion Forum.
  10. Present your measurements and research at a future campaign webinar.
  11. Just have fun learning all about our planet through GLOBE!

Dust off those clinometers and start measuring Trees Around the GLOBE! 

If you are not already a member of the GLOBE Community, please click the JOIN GLOBE link and follow the registration instructions. Once you register, you will be able to start taking GLOBE protocol measurements.


Campaign History:

The Trees Around the GLOBE Student Research Campaign commenced on September 15, 2018 in conjunction with NASA's ICESat-2 satellite launch on the same date at 6:02am PDT. This campaign is a student research campaign focusing on tree height - one of the measurements conducted by the ICESat-2 mission. Tree height is not just a measurement - it is a gateway to understanding many things about the environment. The structure of tree canopies, the 3D arrangement of individual trees, has a huge effect on how ecosystems function and cycle through carbon, water, and nutrients.

In order to put the tree height measurements into context, we are recommending students to also take measurements of Land Cover ClassificationGreen Up / Green Down, and Carbon Cycle. This will allow for data research comparisons among several GLOBE environmental measurements.

Students are also encouraged to take location baseline protocol measurements of their measurement locations. Some examples are: Air TemperatureSurface Temperatureand Soil Temperature.

Stay tuned to this campaign web site to learn of upcoming webinars, live social media events, and blogs related to this campaign! 

If you have any questions about the Trees Around the GLOBE Student Research Campaign, please feel free to contact Campaign Lead, Brian Campbell.