This module introduces basic trigonometry calculations in the context of understanding tree height calculations. It is intended for an introductory biology audience.
Student Introduction: Scientists studying a forest ecosystem over a long period of time may record measurements of trees for a number of variables, including each tree's diameter at breast height, height of the lowest living branch, canopy cover, etc. One aspect of a tree's growth that can be hard to measure is tree height. Forest researchers sometimes use a piece of equipment consisting of telescoping components, which are extended until the tip reaches the same height as the tree top (this requires a second researcher standing at a distance from the tree to determine when the tip is at the correct height). This method can be cumbersome, as the equipment is bulky and the measurements require two people.
Cite this work
Researchers should cite this work as follows:
- Gross, L., Beals, M., Harrell, S. (2019). Estimating Tree Heights: Right Triangle Trigonometry. Quantitative Biology at Community Colleges, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/Q4S430