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Re: Closeup on Forests of the Pacific Northwest

Another thing I noticed is how striking a difference there is in biomass between north and southward facing slopes, even in Olympic national park:

olympic.jpg
by Rand
Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:58 pm
 
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Re: Tree species size distribution of temperate vs. tropical

I think I should leave at least one example of what I am talking about. In a different site in Panama I measured 3 Dipteryx oleifera , previously known as it's synonym Dipteryx panamensis when the above mentioned study was done. This tree species is listed as reaching a "maximum average height distribution" of 43m (141'), which, based on the authors methodology, represents possibly one "tallest tree", or else the average of the two tallest trees of this species measured in the study plot. I recently returned from a site, also in Panama, adjacent to the Palo Seco Forest Reserve in the province of Bocas Del Toro in North Eastern Panama. Here I measured 3 of these trees which are wild almond trees (very tasty nuts), and got the following heights. 60 m (195'), 59 m (193') and 57 m (187'). I did not get a circumference for the last tree, but did record the height with a straight up shot from my 440 Nikon rangefinder. Note that Richard Condit et all in Trees of Panama and Costa RicaI lists this species as the "tallest tree in Barro Colorado" at 53 m (173'). I could see other trees of this species that were probably a bit taller, but I was focusing on some large Hura crepitans trees at the time, so I did not get these dipteryx trees measured. Yes, I believe this Bocas Del Toro site is exceptional, however I also believe, based on height data I have collected in several locations in Costa Rica and Panama, that Baro Colorado is not exceptional at all in producing tall trees. Several other species included in this chart are also quite short compared to ones I have found. One obvious reason for this is that, unlike me, the researchers were not specifically searching for tall or large trees beyond their limited study plot. That given, I have noticed that the tallest trees of any given species listed for Baro Colorado Island as a whole, are also invariably much shorter than several trees of these species, which I have measured at 9 different sites in Panama and Costa Rica where I have located and measured the same species. On the other hand, I have found no better site in Massachusetts than the Mohawk Trail Forest for tall trees of a few species, particularly White Pine, which I am grateful to Bob Leverett for showing me this site, and for inoculating me with the tree height obsession virus which Bob carries and transmits willy-nilly.

To be fair, the researchers needed an approved study site and used straight up and sine methodology in their measuring regime, which was clearly quite difficult as they were trying to measure understory and mid level trees with straight up laser shots and sometimes having to throw out data where they apparently hit taller overarching trees with these vertical laser shots. It is truly a b..ch trying to do this sort of thing in dense undergrowth with no really open spots to shoot from. The basic conclusions of the study do not necessarily change however, to some extent, the data could stand some additional input from other sites in Central America for a more comprehensive data set. Another difficulty with this sort of study is that there are so many types of tropical forest to choose from for your study, and they are drastically different.
by Bart Bouricius
Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:10 pm
 
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Re: Tree species size distribution of temperate vs. tropical

Great work and very interesting information. We all thank you.

Although, it may not affect the trends that you've plotted, just to emphasize what we often discuss on the BBS, the numbers on tree heights coming from otherwise authoritative tree manuals are seldom reliable. The authors, themselves, have little or no experience measuring trees, and as a consequence, have to turn to other sources. Here's some numbers out of Sibley's guide with my comments

Species Max ft according to Sibley Evaluation

Shuumard oak 190 Extremely unlikely
Scarlet oak 181 Extremely unlikely
Southern rek oak 135 Can get a little taller
Cherrybark oak 124 Can get considerably taller
Eastern black oak 131 Can exceed 140
Northern red oak 165 That's pushing it
Eastern white oak 182 Absolutely not
Swamp white oak 108 Can get taller
Burr oak 165 None that we know of
Chestnut oak 102 Can get considerably taller
Eastern cottonwood 170 Too high by about 15 feet
American elm 160 None that we know of
Red maple 179 An extreme mis-measurement (the tree was 119 feet)
Sugar maple 138 Understated by 10 to 15 feet
White ash 152 Approaches 170 in the Smokies
White pine 220 Historically, maybe. None today exceed 200. at 189 feet, the Boogerman is our tallest
Tulip tree 200 Close, but we're not there yet Will's climb sets the bar at 191.9 feet.
E. hemlock 159 Will Blozan climbed and tape drop measurer the Usis hemlock to 173 feet

Sibley wasn't able to distinguish reliable sources from unreliable ones. I recognize some of our data and I also recognize data from wholly unreliable sources.

One of the long run objectives of NTS is to develop a reliable list of species maximums. Jess Riddle's and Matt Markworth's lists, and others complied by members of the Native Tree Society are the only reliable ones for eastern species. American Forests is now on board and we'll eventually have a database with them.

Bob
by dbhguru
Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:30 pm
 
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Re: Tree species size distribution of temperate vs. tropical

Yes, there is a random aspect to Sibley's numbers. I think we can attribute that to Internet fishing. Most modern authors likely follow this strategy. Older authors had to obtain their numbers from a limited number of sources or spend a lifetime researching. As a for instance of what has been available, Silvics of North America is an excellent source of information on most topics covered - truly authoritative. However, Silvics is coauthored. Some authors are "pretty darn good" on the dimensional maximums quoted and others are "pretty darn bad". Anyone using Silvics will be on target for a fair number of species, but miss the boat completely on others. Here is an example of the latter.

Growth and Yield- Eastern cottonwood is one of the tallest species east of the Rocky Mountains. Heights of 53 to 58 in (175 to 190 ft) and diameters of 120 to 180 cm (48 to 72 in) have been reported (17), as have age 35 stand volumes exceeding 420.0 m3/ha (30,000 fbm/acre) of sawed lumber (5,10,14,22).

A 190-foot eastern cottonwood? Not bloody likely. Anyone who understands the structural features of the species recognizes that it is a race betwen some phenomenal growth rates versus weak wood that breaks frequently in storms. Also, the tree's shape invites mis-measurement and tape and clinometer users have willingly and repeatedly obliged us. This topic merits a whole separate conversation, which I'lll postpone for now.

I've noticed that quite a few modern authors augment their sources with state champion tree lists and numbers from past National Registers. Of course, these numbers do not reflect individual dimensional maximums, just point maximums - a detail apparently not widely understood by the authors. Still other authors simply plagiarize from one or two competitive sources with no admissions are apologies. I've spotted the pattern more than once. What is clear to me is that none, from the the amateurs up through the professionals, have the faintest idea as to the validity of their sources. Who's to know if cited data originally came from fortune cookies or out of crackerjack boxes.

Popular articles including information that we may regard as a kind of cute tree trivia has created a veritable ocean of dimensional mis-information. For the general public, challenged to count beyond a hundred, it is just filler stuff included to make an article or tree guide appear complete. No fortunes gained or lost. The headache happens when we pass from tree trivia to serious research. Anyone wanting to do a scientific investigation that includes valid tree dimensional maximums is faced with an insurmountable problem. This is a situation that American Forests and the Native Tree Society, working as a team, are committed to solving. American Forests has the standing and clout and through the new National Cadre, we can make real progress.

Back to scientific research. Here is a for instance that would face a researcher. Those of us in the know have long recognized the Great Smoky Mountains to be the gold standard for maximum tree heights achieved for several dozen eastern species. We have found no other place in the East to compete with the Smokies. Thanks to Will Blozan who actually climbed many of the absolute tallest trees of species like the eastern hemlock (173 ft), the white pine (188.9), and the tulip tree (191.9), we have the best data that we've ever had on species maximums. We also have lots of LIDAR information that allows Will and associates to target new areas for ground-truthing. Bottom line is that the Smokies continue to reign supreme. Yet back in the 1990s, the NPS described Congaree NP as having the highest canopy of any eastern deciduous forest. I won't supply too many details, but in brief: a professor of considerable reputation, assisted by a couple others with experience, measured many of Congaree's champions using tape and clinometer. If they measured a single tree correctly, I'm unaware of it. But as you can guess, nobody in Congaree's management felt qualified to challenge the professor's measurements. He carried impressive academic credentials and he had generously volunteered his time. It was then, and still is, a touchy situation. The mission is not to discredit an honest effort to contribute, but neither is it to perpetuate mis-measurements. Touchy.

Once the Congaree numbers were published and the NPS gave them the thumbs up, the damage was not reversible. As a consequence, today we see the perpetuation of numbers for the mis-measured trees along side numbers from actual tree climbs and tape drop done by the best of the best.

Congaree is unquestionably a superlative tree-growing environment, deserving of special recognition and all our respect. It is what it is and should be given credit for exactly that. It shouldn't be mis-characterized. But neither should other otherwise important locations. Big Oak Tree State Park in Missouri comes to mind. It has been and will continue to be the role of NTS to set the record straight in these situations.

As for some final observations, first, future descriptions of species dimensional maximums should go further than supplying a single number - virtually worthless acquiescence to tradition. Her is an example. The eastern cottonwood is a tall tree north and south, but so far, we have documented heights above 140 feet in only a few places and they haven't occurred north of about 40 or 41 degrees latitude. Information on where a species performs best should be worked into the mix. How much regional information should be given, well, that's something to discuss. As to my next observation, sources that are perennially inaccurate or misleading need to be challenged, however it is done - preferably with diplomacy. As an example, the state level forestry extension services are among the biggest offenders in perpetuating misleading maximum tree dimension information. I'm unsure of why these sources are so unreliable, but I expect it has to do with the expectations of the authors. The information presented may well reflect a silvicultural perspective of what they think the species can achieve within a harvest cycle of say 60 years. Alternatively, it may reflect what the authors believes the public will commonly encounter from roadways. However, for most of the sources, there is a random aspect similar to what you observe with the Sibley numbers. I've seen a streak of understated maximums followed by a highly inflated one. Go figure. Whatever the explanations, they need to clean up their acts.

We have our work cut out for us. So far we haven't been well organized in channeling our information to feed a single source. At present Matt Markworth and Jess Riddle have the most complete accountings for eastern species maximums. My present conviction is that these are the sources we should get behind. I think the ball is mostly now in Matt court. If we can channel the data to Mitch Galehouse's database through Excel spreadsheet imports, a new day will have dawned. Eventually, we would hope to port our data over to American Forests.

Bob
by dbhguru
Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:34 pm
 
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Re: Tree species size distribution of temperate vs. tropical

These numbers almost seem random (scarlet oak if its dry habitat is any clue should not even rank near the top among oaks). The "typical" height range usually is a little more consistent with the rank of the stature, but even these have probably lost their connection with reality, as button bush is listed as reaching 15 m (50 ft) without qualification that it is an extreme value.

The 141 foot scarlet oak I climbed and tape-dropped was pretty darn impressive...

Oh, and Bob- I don't think we have ever broken 130' on s. red oak.

Will
by Will Blozan
Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:54 pm
 
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Re: Height distribution of eastern US tree species

Nts,

Here's an update using data we collected through 12/31/2013. The two years of additional data don't change the major patterns in the height distribution.

HeightHistogram.jpeg

Jess
by Jess Riddle
Sun Aug 10, 2014 5:39 pm
 
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Range-wide height distributions

Hi Everybody,

Recently, Kouta challenged us to make a list of our projects. When we go into brainstorming mode, things can get a little out of hand. We can generate plans for far more projects than we can accomplish. Most ideas are dumped along the way, or never get off the ground. Some would-be projects are clearly promotional in nature, and serve to draw attention at points in time. One that is not, though, are range wide profiles of species. This may be our new frontier. It capitalizes on what we currently are doing. No new measurements, just better classifications and organizations with a direction.

For example, take, Pinus strobus . What can we say about the probability of it reaching threshold dimensions in a specified geographical area? As a for instance, how likely is it that someone will discover an 16-foot girth, 164-foot tall specimen (50 meters) in say the UP of Michigan? What about a specimen of those dimensions in Maine? Might there be such a tree in North Carolina? What are the probabilities within other locations? How well does the white pine achieve girths of say 14 feet across latitudes extending from northern Georgia to central Maine? Is there a center of development? Several?

We can pose many such questions, but reliable answers still allude us because our data are often too limited. We know where we have measured big trees and can plot them on a map, but so far, we haven't gathered enough data to connect the dots. In my humble opinion, this could be one of the best services that we in NTS could provide for a good dozen eastern species. Similarly, our European Ents could do a comparable service for a species such as the Norway spruce. We would have to continue plugging away and continually updating our distributions, but in the end, we would have a really good profile of the potential of the species across its full range.

Will Blozan and I have long observed that the southern end of the distribution of many eastern species enjoys a 20 to 30-foot height advantage over the northern end. There can always be statistical outliers that give false impressions, but at least we in NTS should be able to distinguish the outliers from the norm.

How we would go about efficiently combining our measurements to reflect overall geographical trends has so far escaped me. We need an easy method of reporting the data to a central source. Matt Markworth's format for reporting the tallest member of each species seems to be working. Perhaps extending this idea on the basis of geography would work for the distributions being envisioned here. What think you all?

Bob
by dbhguru
Fri May 31, 2013 1:47 pm
 
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3-Point Derivation of Dominant Tree Height Equations

peer_reviewed.JPG
A 3-Point Derivation of Dominant Tree Height Equations
by Don C. Bragg, In: Fei, Songlin; Lhotka, John M.; Stringer, Jeffrey W.; Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Miller, Gary W., eds. 2011. Proceedings, 17th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2010 April 5-7; Lexington, KY; Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-78. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 678 p. CD-ROM. pp. 41-50.

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/specialreports/bragg/Bragg2011A.pdf

Bragg2011A1.JPG

Abstract.—Th is paper describes a new approach for deriving height-diameter (H-D) equations from limited information and a few assumptions about tree height. Only three data points are required to fi t this model, which can be based on virtually any nonlinear function. These points are the height of a tree at diameter at breast height (d.b.h.), the predicted height of a 10-inch d.b.h. tree from an existing H-D model, and the height at species maximum d.b.h., estimated from a linear regression of big trees. Dominant sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.) from the Arkansas region and yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) from across the southeastern United States were used to estimate height at species maximum d.b.h. A composite of these field-measured heights and site index trees from the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) database were used to compare the 3-point equations (fi t to the Chapman-Richards model) with the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) default H-D models. Because of the limited range of diameters in the FIA site trees, the Chapman-Richards equations developed from site trees underpredicted large tree heights for both species. For the sweetgum, the 3-point equation was virtually identical to the FVS default model. However, the 3-point equation noticeably improved dominant height predictions for yellow-poplar.

Available for download as part of the Native Tree Society Special Publication Series: NTS SP #21

.
by DonCBragg
Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:54 pm
 
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Re: Fork Ridge Tuliptree- new eastern height record!!!

Indeed, it is for now in North America only. The Rockies so far haven't produced a comparable height but the bioregion is very poorly sampled.

Two weeks ago we eastern NTS folks climbed and mapped a 187.6' tuliptree which is the second tallest known. Another 190' tree appears to be elusive as the primo LiDAR spots are mostly visited. There are a few more high hits to visit but the extreme remoteness of them will make this very difficult.

-Will
by Will Blozan
Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:56 pm
 
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Dr. Michael Mann Fights Back

Dr. Michael Mann Fights Back

This the first of what I hope are a multitude of similar actions by Dr. Mann and to his success in winning the suits. Let the vile scum pay for their deliberate slander, and politically motivated, groundless, hateful character assassination. We should not as scientists be subject to the malicious actions of professional political liars and hate mongers. We should not and cannot let them continue their disgusting immoral attacks on science and scientists unchallenged.

Edward Frank

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Anyone who supports these types of vicious attacks, such as was waged against Dr. Mann, is free to drop off the BBS.
by edfrank
Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:08 pm
 
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Re: Panama back pack expedition, provides new tree size reco

A note about the genus Poulsenia. This tree's single verified species, Poulsenia armata is listed as reaching a maximum of "35 meters" in the Manual of the Plants of Costa Rica (published in Spanish by Missouri Bptanical Garden, 8 volumes from 2003 to 2015). We measured 3 of these trees at the Panama site. The heights were 198.9' (60.64 m), 202.3' (61.68 m) and 204.7' (62.41 m), the last of which had buttresses measuring 61' 10" (18.87 m) CBH, which I mention only as a curiosity, as we only use circumference measurements above the buttresses for our official dimension records. It was not practical to get measurements above the buttresses without using up huge amounts of time. There are probably better ways to at least get approximations of above buttress girths using photo images and a retical, however we were after the holy grail of a tropical angiosperm over 220' tall, which Will found in the 225.7' (68.81 m) Cedrela odorata . One last thing is that trees in Costa Rica and Panama have consistently been substantially above maximums listed in the taxonomic literature, when measured using approved NTS methods.
by Bart Bouricius
Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:30 pm
 
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Systematics and Biogeography of the American Oaks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKmziPD1pm4&index=2&list=PLOfUesS9O8M4oa2Fieors7XtfWBq_P02T

Systematics and Biogeography of the American Oaks

Excellent new info on how oaks sort out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKmziPD1pm4&index=2&list=PLOfUesS9O8M4oa2Fieors7XtfWBq_P02T

Note the list of other videos on the right. Loads of info on oaks.

http://www.internationaloaksociety.org/content/quercus-%E2%80%98tromp-deerpon%E2%80%99-extraordinary-hybrid

A surprising history for 2 oaks, partially covered in the video.
by Lucas
Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:00 pm
 
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