The opportunities and challenges of applying tree climbing techniques as a canopy access method in canopy biology

Akira Nakanishi, Wakana Azuma, Mizue Tanaka, Yuko Miyazaki, Yoko Inui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Canopy biology is the natural science that aimed at understanding of the biodiversity, biological processes, and ecological functions of forest canopies. Canopies determine the structural and energetic properties of forest ecosystems. Since the 1980s, canopy biology has progressed rapidly through the development of methods for accessing treetops. The rope climbing techniques used widely in canopy studies have developed from diverse procedures that allow human access to the top layers of forest vegetation. In comparison with other access hardware, e.g., cranes and gantries, rope assemblies have advantages in terms of user mobility, repeated access, and cost. The availability and safety of tree climbing techniques have improved with recent developments in mountain climbing gear and methodologies for their use. In this review, we use candidate studies to introduce the advantages, prospects and challenges of climbing techniques for tree canopy studies. Tree climbing allows excellent access to treetops in all types of forests, across all geographical locations. We expect further progress through combinations of rope climbing and other access methodologies. In the interests of safety and effectiveness, a platform should be developed for the distribution of relevant information to prospective tree climbing researchers and those who may wish to use the procedures for other activities, such as arboriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-123
Number of pages23
JournalJapanese Journal of Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Ecophysiology
  • Epiphytes
  • Insect community
  • Reproduction
  • Single- and doubled-rope techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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