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Chinkapins around Nashville

I went to visit a friend in Nashville last week. I really couldn't get away with measuring any trees, but I did take a few photos. The first two are Chinkapin oaks mentioned on the Nashville "Big Old Tree Contest"

I've been familiar with the second one since I was a kid, really; it's near the road heading to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, and I grew up near there. We went for a hike in Percy Warner Park as well, and I hit a section I had not been to in a long, long time. I don't think the heights around there will blow anyone away, but I'm going to try and hit it this winter for a Rucker, and try and visit some other nice tree spots I know of around Nashville.
by mdavie
Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:08 pm
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Riding Run, CVNP, Summit Co., Ohio


Today I visited an area called Riding Run in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Last week Rand Brown and I found a record sycamore in an area close to this, so I thought this might hold some surprises. I have to report there are no exceptional trees at this site as far as height or girth, but there are quite a few trees of exceptional "character". The woods is unusual in that it is comprised of pine plantations(white, red, Scots, Austrian) on the ridge tops, with second or third growth hardwoods on the steep slopes---mainly tulip, oak, and white ash---white ash seems to be out-competing the other hardwoods in girth, and keeping up with tulip in height, but only 120-130' was the general canopy height.

A number of trees of several species which seemed to be ''over-mature'' and especially gnarly are part of the woods, and this was the most interesting aspect of the park. The old, gnarly trees must have been skipped in the timber harvest because they were viewed as defective whenever the area was last cut. A few pics:

An especially contorted beech: badbeech.jpg

White oak wolf, 77' H x 14' 2'' x 75' spread: badwhiteoak.jpg

A sugar maple designed by flying squirrels: badsugar.jpg

by Steve Galehouse
Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:50 pm
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Big Sitka Spruce

Sent Ascending the Giants an email today. Had an urge to go to the Oregon coast, and while there photographed a fairly huge Sitka Spruce that I found in Oswald West State Park. Not sure if it's ever been compared by anyone.

But I was also curious about the numbers for the Sitka here, whether all 93 crown points should be added as were, or, just 1/4 of those crown points.

Oregon Big Tree Registry

The one I found is roughly 210 feet tall, 480 inches circumference, and maybe 70 feet wide in the crown. Possibly 706 points. Maybe less, maybe more with fine-tuned two person measuring. Definitely no Klootchy Creek proportions, but substantial.

Cool looking tree either way. Sure like these old spruce.
by mdvaden
Sun May 22, 2011 10:01 pm
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Dinosaur National Monument


Well, here is the next post in the series - Dinosaur National Monument.

It is not news that there are countless scenic places to see in the American West. Scenery is what the West is all about for me. I relate to the open spaces, the snowcapped mountains, and the colorful canyons. One need not visit the big name places to experience outstanding scenery. You are treated to exceptional vistas along major highways and Interstates. Still, icons like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Crater Lake, Grand Teton, Glacier, and Grand Canyon NPs legitimately remain at the top of the list. Extend that list a little and you can add Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon, Canyon Lands, Mount Rainier, and Olympic NPs. They and other parks seasonally vie for public attention.

As a prime landscape feature, most of us enjoy the West’s many canyons and gorges. They are certainly among the most dramatic of scenic wonders. They accentuate the vertical. It can be electrifying to walk up to a canyon rim and stare down into an abyss. Add color and variety of form, and canyons become a scenic staple. As to be expected, the incomparable Grand Canyon heads most lists. Utah’s colorful entries follow the Grand; however, one place that can easily be missed in the canyon competition is Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado. The Monument is located in the eastern end of the Uinta Mountains, an arid landscape of spectacular canyons, colorful rock formations, and of course, dinosaur fossils. DNM is one of Monica’s and my favorite places. This trip report covers our all too brief visit.

DNM cover 210,000 acres, and is mostly in northwestern Colorado. It includes the confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers, a spectacular site chronicled by none other than John Wesley Powell, of Grand Canyon fame. The Green is the principal architect of the canyon country, and rightly so. This 780-mile long river heads at a glacier in Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains. Today, the Green is considered a tributary of the Colorado River, something of a demotion, since the Green was once considered the main channel, and the part of the Colorado above the confluence was known as the Grand River. Politicians decreed that it be otherwise. When canyons and white water rafting is thought of, the Colorado immediately comes to mind. Yet, independent of the Colorado, the Green River is a first class white water river and sculptor of canyons of the most exquisite colors and forms. For example, the Green is responsible for the prominent Flaming Gorge, named by Powell.

In DNM, the Green is joined by the Yampa to form a maze of canyons that rival the nation’s most scenic offerings, yet despite dizzying depths approaching 3,000 feet, the DNM gorges are hardly known by the traveling public. On our next visit, we will concentrate on the canyons, but regrettably didn’t have the time this visit.

Although, it is not visually apparent from the landforms, DNM is located in the Uinta Mountains, a range of the Rockies. The Uintas are the only major range of the Rockies that is aligned on an east-west axis, and boasts around 25 peaks over 13,000 feet. The Uintas are seen from Interstate 80 near Green River and west as a long line of snowcapped summits to the South, one of which is Utah’s highest summit, Kings Peak, at 13,528 feet. As a product of this alpine view of the Uintas, one expects a mountain climate for DNM, but in contrast, the climate is actually quite arid. About 11 inches of precipitation fall annually. Vegetation is characteristic of Colorado high desert regions, short grasses and sagebrush. Even so, snowfall measures 41 inches average per year, close to what we receive in Florence, MA. Temperatures in the summer can be scorching and fairly cold in the winter. It is a harsh landscape, yet it supported indigenous cultures thanks to the rivers, and especially the Green, and this is where our story really begins.

Monica was insistent that we revisit DNM, and hoped that we could camp. Her wish was my command. We arrived at DNM very late in the afternoon, and went straight to a small campground that had been recommended to us. Our campsite was on the Green River, and I mean that almost literally. I could throw a stone from out tent and it would splash in the swift flowing, near-flood-stage waters. Our campground is appropriately named the Green River Campground, but beyond its scenic location, it holds a secret. It is located in a stand of old growth cottonwoods. I was not expecting to be treated to old growth in a campground, but there it was.

Our initial two images feature the campground cottonwoods. The first image is at our campsite, and the second is about 70 yards away. I don’t know ages, but a couple of stumps indicate ages between 150 and 200 years for many trees in the stand. All the cottonwoods have deeply furrowed bark that “ooze” character. Tree aficionados will understand what I mean.

Along the valleys formed by the Green, you can almost sense the spirit of the mountain men who helped to make the Green famous. Trapping beaver was the objective, and life was very hard. However, another culture, a longer lasting one known as the Fremont people, inhabited the valleys of the Green, and I expect the inhabitants would have made good use of the cottonwoods.

From a big tree perspective, the heights of the cottonwoods are not significant, and most girths are not exceptional – but there are exceptions. The first image is typical of the cottonwoods. The second shows one of the exceptions.



A primary geological feature of DNM is the escarpment, or the sudden uplift seen from the south. The escarpment defines the edge of Monument lands and distinguishes them from the adjacent, rolling shrub lands, as seen from U.S. 40 east of Vernal, Utah. Looking myopically, the sagebrush-dominated swells give little hint of the carved sandstone walls that mark the horizon. Seen from a distance, the colors of the rocks at the escarpment are noticeable, but not overpowering. But once the turn is made from U.S. 40, and the parkland entered, the forms and hues present themselves in great variety. In places, a simple, but pleasing design to the wind and water sculpted surfaces is revealed. Cracks, crevices, smooth surfaces, overhangs, rounded slopes, and more require one develop a specialized vocabulary for the landforms, otherwise they are just rocks. The next image shows a common riverside form.


From the above image, least the reader imagine uniform, sand-colored walls, the next image gives a hint of what reveals itself as the geological formations are negotiated. The Earth is not a simple organism. Its creation has endless chapters, many of which are recorded in the rocks, the layers, and the sculpted forms.


Once at our campsite, the scenic cliffs across the Green River presented themselves to us framed by the old cottonwoods. After we set up camp, I began clicking away as Monica prepared dinner.


Let’s now take a closer look at the distant wall. Understanding scale is critical to visual appreciation. What is a thin jagged line in the distance grows measurably to dominate the view as white, orange, yellow, and red sandstone walls are approached.


I have accepted the supreme challenge of trying to capture in images and words what makes a place like DNM distinct, if not unique. This is no small undertaking, and I fear beyond me. But I will try.

There is the obvious, i.e. the dinosaur fossils from the Jurassic, but DNM is much more than its name implies. For one thing, it is generously spacious. I never feel hemmed in. This observation calls for more explanation, which I will defer, but the idea is on the table. For another, DNM is colorful, although not exceptionally so. For a third, it features spectacular rock formations spread over a large region. The list goes so on. But the land of the Fremont People has qualities that transcend its individual features, and this is what is difficult to show in small images or convey in words. I’m still struggling to find the adjectives to convey the special nature of the land of the dinosaurs. It will take more visits. I think one adjective that sums it up for me is intimate. The landscape is vast, yet accessible. The last image shows a large boulder that we encountered on our nature walk. It displays its attractive sandstone features in an accessible way. Its colors are variegated. It almost invites you to embrace it. Now that would be a feat!


Our schedule was tight and we had a to make a decision. From last year’s visit to western Colorado, Monica had wanted to see the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, but couldn’t. This year we were determined, so before making our way to Durango, CO, we headed for Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP. We reluctantly cut short our time in DNM, and I think Monica regrets that decision. The variety and intimacy of landforms in DNM have captured her imagination as have few other places. Next year, it will be a prime focus.



by dbhguru
Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:38 pm
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18 of the world's most stunning treehouses

18 of the world's most stunning treehouses

Homes with a view
Treehouses appeal to the child in all of us and bring us closer to nature. At one point you probably dreamed of living among the birds in a house nestled on the leafy branches of a towering tree. Whether these structures are tiny shacks clinging to a single bough, unique treetop observatories or sprawling works of art spanning several trees, there’s something magical about treehouses. Here’s a look at 18 of the world’s most stunning treetop structures and the unique stories behind them.
(Text: Laura Moss)

by edfrank
Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:00 pm
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Re: Dunes-New Perspective


The forest following the north end of the Dunes is miniature OG that runs for several miles. Here is an image of an OG Doug Fir.

We camped at Zapata Falls in a new campground. It had no running water, so it was free. No noise, no congestion. There were only 4 occupied sites in the campground. The nearby attraction is Zapata Falls. It falls into a creice, which you wade in to cool and cool.


Lots more to come. Gotta run now.

by dbhguru
Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:36 am
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Tall Grass Prairie Preserve


Today Monica and I crossed most of Oklahoma. We've settled down in Bartlesville for the night. Tomorrow we head for Fayetteille, AR for a rendezvous with Dave Stahle - the Lord of the Rings. Crossing Oklahoma today was more of a challenge than I'd imagined. The temperature soared to 109 degrees. Whew! We stopped to picnic and I almost croaked. Instead of just Bob, we nearly had shish kaBob. Here are some shots of the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve on the Osage Reservation.




On our return, that herd of bison decide to cross the road in front of us. Riddle. How long does it take a 2000-lb bull bison to cross the road? Answer. As long as he wants it to take.

by dbhguru
Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:49 pm
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Tracey Ridge Chestnuts

In 2006 Ed Frank and Carl Harting visited the Tracey Ridge area in the Allegheny National Forest and noted an abundance of young chestnut trees in the area:

Immediately south along the road we turned into the the Tracy Ridge
Campground for a quick drive through on the same ridge for a quick look.
The place had hundreds of American Chestnut trees. Most were small, a
couple we saw from the car might have reached 50 feet. Given the number we
saw, and the fact that wee found a 71+ footer elsewhere on the ridge, it
would be worthwhile to revisit the campground area for a reconnaissance of
chestnuts and other trees present.
This had to be the densest population of American Chestnut I had ever seen.
Some reports suggested in areas that American Chestnut had made up to 70%
of the basal area in given stretches of the forest. None of the trees looked
mature enough to produce nuts and were likely root sprouts. If the blight
doesn’t get them they may produce nuts in a few years. With such a high
density of trees there is even a good chance of pollination from other
individuals and the production of viable nuts. Keep your fingers crossed.

I was up there with a camping club from Columbus and the abundance of young chestnuts immediately jumped out at me. I think when the campground was bulldozed out of the surrounding forest, it released the young chestnut sprouts all along the margins of the roads and campsites. Two trees on the E loop within 100 yards of each other have burrs on them:



Ed, your wish is granted. You'll probably need to get there within a few days of Oct 1 to beat the squirrels though.

On a more annoying note I twisted some arms to get them to visit Anders Run, which engendered little more than a few glances and shrugs at the huge pines growing there. <sigh>
by Rand
Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:41 pm
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Bryant and Centurion Pines


Today Monica and I went to the Bryant Homestead in Cummington, MA. It was time to check on the flagship tree of the TTOR property, the stately Bryant Pine. I also wanted to check up on the Walt Whitman Pine and the Centurion. I'm pleased to report that all are doing swimmingly. Here are some images. First the Centurion, which I re-measured. Girth = 12.05 feet, Height = 150.4 feet.




Next comes the Bryant Pine. It grew well this year. I got 157.1 feet, repeatable. Girth is stagnant at 10.3 feet. Here is the flagship.



I couldn't currently see the top and bottom of the Walt Whitman Pine. I'll return in the fall. Here is a look at its 13.3-foot girth. Its height is around 143.1 feet. It is one of the 10 white pines in Mass that are in the 13 x 140 Club. The big area of decay bodes poorly for Whitman.


And now for a surprise. The Bryant Black Cherry tree is doing fine. It has recovered well from the horrible ice storm of several years ago. Girth = 9.1 feet, Height =101.5 feet. Here is what you see looking directly at the trunk.


Here is what you see looking up the trunk. The sun is on the upper twist, but quite a sight.


As of this moment, the Bryant Pines is the tallest tree in Massachusetts outside of the towers in Mohawk. The two trees that compete with Bryant are the Ice Glen Pine and the Henry david Thoreau Pine. Perhaps they match or exceed Bryant. I'll confirm later in the year.

So many tree. So little time.

by dbhguru
Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:19 pm
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Update on Tallest Tree by State


This morning I began pulling together the latest maximum height for all trees by state - the states we've concentrated on. The information is scattered, but I think the numbers given in the attached list are accurate. the only non-NTS number is the Kentucky tall tree, because it was climbed and tape-drop measured. I refuse to even consider non-NTS sources, especially in eastern states like Michigan, which have zero credibility. We need to add more western states. I'll leave that to Michael Taylor and Don Bertolette. I'm unsure if we have enough data from Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas to list the highest number we have. Conspicuously absent from the list are Connecticut and Rhode Island, practically my backyard. However, I have not been able to locate outstanding tall tree sites in either state, although I have good reason to believe they exist, especially Connecticut. I request the help of the rest of you in maintaining this list. Eventually, we should rely on the database for this kind of information, but in the near term, we need to maintain it in Excel. Oh yes, I didn't include the dead Yellow Buckeye from West Virginia. The list is not meant to be historical maximums, but one of currently live trees.


by dbhguru
Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:35 am
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429 Point American Sycamore Champion


Today I remeasured a huge sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) near Waynesville, NC. Michael Davie and I originally measured the tree in 2004, and since it is far larger than the current NC State Champion I obtained permission from the owner to visit the tree again. This tree has an unusally high, wide crown even at 100' up. The massive branching up high is mighty impressive.
3-Tree and house.jpg
2-East view.jpg
I was pleased to find the tree in good condition except for a lightening strike spiraling down the trunk. The highest point of the crown was a dead twig so height is to the highest leaf. A large wound is present which will likely lead to the tree becoming hollow.
1-Will at base.jpg
4-Lower trunk.jpg

Here are the measurements:
Girth at 4.5 feet 268" (22'4") (260" in 2004)
Height 132.5' (131.1' in 2004)
Average spread 112' (95' in 2004)
Max spread 126'
AF Big Tree Points 429 (358 current NC champ)

Pretty dang tall for open grown!

by Will Blozan
Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:19 pm
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elephant tree/native trail marker tree

Here is the famed Putney Mountain "Elephant Tree" a huge Ash tree, circa 2002, with my kids and I much younger than we are now. Of course, no measurements from me, just the experience of the tree. It is supposed to be a Native American Trail Marker from the 1700's. Probably is too.
by adam.rosen
Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:13 pm
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Patuxent Wildlife Research Center


Last fall I received a research permit to investigate habitats and measure trees at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center near Laurel, Maryland. I visited the property several times during the winter. The site is located in Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties and is in the coastal plain physiographic province. Part of why I wanted to visit the site was to investigate reports of old growth forest along the Patuxent River in the refuge. The following is an excerpt of the report I that I wrote based on these investigations. A discussion of old growth is followed by some tree measurement data. I have removed citations and made some edits from the original.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources defines old growth as the following:

“An old growth forest is a minimum of 2 ha (5 acres) in size with a preponderance of old trees, of which the oldest trees exceed at least half of the projected maximum attainable age for that species, and that exhibits most of the following characteristics:
1. Shade tolerant species are present in all age/size classes.
2. There are randomly distributed canopy gaps.
3. There is a high degree of structural diversity characterized by multiple growth layers (canopy, understory trees, shrub, herbaceous, ground layers) that reflect a broad spectrum of ages.
4. There is an accumulation of dead wood of varying sizes and stages of decomposition, standing and down, accompanied by decadence in live dominant trees.
5. Pit and mound topography can be observed, if the soil conditions permit it.”

A search for old growth forest at the Patuxent Research Refuge was inspired primarily by Mary Byrd Davis’ document, “Old Growth in the East: A Survey” and Matthew C. Perry’s description of large trees at the refuge. Davis’ assessment indicated that there may be as much as several hundred acres of old growth, uncut, or virgin forest at the refuge.

For the purposes of determining the occurrence of old growth forest, both research and in the field reconnaissance was employed. Through a conversation with Dr. Matthew Perry, some areas were identified for investigation, including the site known as Beech Island - located upriver of Duvall Bridge. Aerial photography was also used to determine promising areas for old growth forest. Historical maps and site history were investigated to determine past disturbance on the refuge.

The conclusion derived through this research and site investigation is that it is unlikely that any areas in the north or central tracts of the Patuxent Research Refuge could be considered old growth. Resultantly, it is even less likely that any areas contain primary or virgin forest. Below is a rough review of field observations for the DNR old growth criteria. These observations focus on the Patuxent River floodplain, more specifically around Beech Island. Most other areas in the refuge were clearly young-aged forest.

As no trees were cored as part of this study, tree ages were not recorded. Perry’s description of the big trees of Patuxent is undated, but appears to have been written within the past ten years. It states that based on ring counts done in the past, some trees in the Patuxent floodplain are over 135 years old. Although this is relatively old for the region, for many species it would not meet the DNR criteria for which the oldest trees exceed half the maximum known age for the species. Species found on the refuge which live longer than 270 years include Liriodendron tulipifera, Quercus alba, and Nyssa sylvatica. Although some of the trees in the floodplain are fairly large, one might expect them to be larger if they were old growth. The floodplain consists of rich soils, and moisture is abundant. The large sizes of the trees may be attributable more to growing conditions than exceptionally old age. Tree coring could potentially extend the known ages of the trees in the floodplain. However, many of the largest (assumed oldest) trees are hollow. Dating these trees through tree ring counts would most likely be inconclusive.

Observations of additional DNR criteria may also be inconclusive. Shade tolerant species (beech) were observed in a variety of age classes. However, this is common for many secondary forested areas as well. Canopy gaps were common, but this was primarily a result of the braided river channel. A low degree of structural diversity existed. There was little shrub layer or herbaceous layer, little downed dead wood, and little pit and mound topography. However, each of these attributes could be lacking due to frequent flooding in this area.

Determination of old growth based on observation did not yield a definitive result. There are some old sections of floodplain forest, but they may not be old enough to qualify as old growth. Historic conditions, however, further indicate the unlikelihood of old growth, and particularly primary forest on the refuge.

In 1690, Richard Snowden built Birmingham Manor on a knoll northeast of Brock Bridge. Much of the site is now under the Baltimore Washington Parkway, but some of the remains of the manor still exist. According to at least one source, the brick and oak timbers for the house were transported up the Patuxent River by barge. It is unclear how far up the river barges went, but the same source also indicates that since the time of the manor’s construction, the river has silted in, forming islands and a braided channel.

At least as early as 1734 the Snowden’s had constructed the Patuxent Furnaces iron works along the Little Patuxent River near the bridge just east of the contact station. However, it is likely that some form of iron production was occurring at this or nearby sites, particularly near Brock Bridge, even earlier, and probably shortly after the construction of Birmingham Manor. By 1795 maps show iron works in the area as well as a mill at Duvall Bridge. Churches and farms are also scattered across the landscape. Iron furnaces and forges required a large quantity of wood for the production of charcoal used in fueling the facilities. By 1800, and for many decades before, the land which is now the Patuxent Research Refuge had been under intensive industrial and agricultural use. Another map produced shortly after 1800 shows the area around Brock Bridge and the crossing of the Little Patuxent River. Although trees are shown elsewhere on the map, no trees are shown along the Patuxent River. The Patuxent Furnaces were closed in 1856 due to a lack of wood and iron ore. The other iron works and saw mills in the area probably closed soon after as well.


Prior to the creation of Fort Meade in 1917 and subsequently the Patuxent Research Refuge in 1936, the north and central tracts had experienced over 225 years of disturbance. Over 120 of these years were intense disturbance, including repeated cutting of trees for lumber and charcoal production. It is likely that trees unsuitable for lumber were also cut, because they could be used for charcoal production for use in the iron works. Considering that wood was eventually in short supply, it is likely that any tree of significance was cut, even if access was not particularly easy.

Mining for iron ore consisted mostly of open pits. Tobacco farming and other forms of farming also occurred in the area. The heavy impacts of tree cutting, iron mining, and farming most likely generated a large quantity of sediment, both in the refuge and upstream of the refuge. Slash from tree cutting was historically thrown into rivers which would have also increased sediment deposition in the Patuxent. The islands and braided channels existing along the Patuxent River in the refuge today are likely a result of siltation from this sediment. It is unlikely that the currently existing islands occurred in their present form or locations 320 years ago when Birmingham Manor was built.

For these reasons as well as the lack of conclusive field observation evidence, it is very unlikely that there is any old growth on the Patuxent Research Refuge north or central tracts. However, it is probable that some trees on the refuge are over 150 years old, which corresponds to previous tree ring counts and also to the end of intensive use of the site. By some definitions, some areas on the refuge might be considered old growth. Additionally, the refuge also provides very good potential for future old growth, but it can be said with a relatively high level of certainty, that the refuge does not include any primary or virgin forest.

As part of field investigations for old growth forest , some trees were measured on the refuge. These were typically examples of the species which were particularly large. Circumference at breast height (CBH) was measured with a tape at 4.5 feet above the ground at mid-slope. Heights were measured using the Eastern Native Tree Society methodology which uses laser range finders, clinometers, and sine calculations to determine height. This is the most accurate method of height measurements commonly available. The included table provides documentation of these measurements.

Species - CBH - Height - Notes
Carpinus caroliniana - 3' 10" - 55' - fallen, on ground, height measured with tape
Carpinus caroliniana - 3' 8" - 56.5'
Fagus grandifolia - 14' 5" - 110.8' - appears trunk may be hollow at base
Fraxinus americana - 10' 8" - 114.8'
Fraxinus pensylvanica - 9' 9.5" - 120.5'
Fraxinus pensylvanica - 10' 9" - 126.4'
Liriodendron tulipifera - 13' 0" - 137.1'
Liriodendron tulipifera - 15' 0" - 127.5' - bark is balding near base
Magnolia virginiana - 2' 10" - NA - measured at 2' from ground, hollowed out trunk
Magnolia virginiana - 1' 9" - NA
Magnolia virginiana - 1' 9" - 55.7'
Pinus virginiana - 3' 6" - 112.3'
Platanus occidentalis - 20' 5" - 119.0'
Quercus lyrata - 10' 5.5" - 113.6'
Quercus michauxii - 10' 4" - 107.6'
Quercus michauxii - 13' 8" - 118.8'
Quercus palustris - 11' 8" - 111.6'
Toxicodendron vernix - 11.5" - 24.3'

Trees of note include the following:

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam): Two large trees of this species were measured, but one of them had recently fallen. The tree which was still standing was large, but is not larger than the current state champion. However, it is quite a bit taller than the current champion, and as such is note worthy. It is very likely that larger trees of the species exist in the refuge elsewhere along the Patuxent River.

Platanus occidentalis (sycamore): This tree is not large enough to qualify for state champion status. However, it is a particularly nice specimen of the species. The habit is uniform, the trunk does not appear to be hollow, and the tree is very large. This tree grows along the Little Patuxent River, but is easily accessible from the nearby road.

Quercus lyrata (overcup oak): There were several trees of this species occurring in an area of the Patuxent floodplain. The example measured appeared to be the largest, but others were similar in size and exploration over a broader area might lead to discovery of a larger tree. One dead tree of very similar size had fallen nearby. Overcup oak is an uncommon species in Maryland. The tree measured is much larger than that of the current state champion, and as such should easily be able to become the new state champion if nominated.

The Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is a fairly large site. I measured relatively few trees and would like to measure more. I am hoping to renew my research permit for this winter and make more extensive measurements of the trees on the property.

by Darian Copiz
Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:47 pm
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Kershner, Oneida, and Brant Pines


Here is a slight re-write of what I sent to DCR today.

Today, I went to Zoar Gap to further check on the condition of the forest after Irene. Given the horrendous damage to the campground, I wanted to send some good news. At the gap, I met 15-year old Andrew Row and his mother. Andrew has bought a Nikon Prostaff 440 laser rangefinder on Ebay and a Suunto clinometer, and is determined to become a good tree measurer. I had promised to give Andrew instructions on how to use the laser-clinometer combination and elected to combine instructions with a check on the Oneida and Joseph Brant pines in the Shunpike area of Mohawk. While his mother waited, Andrew and I headed up the ridge to the northwest to check on the big trees. An initial check on Magic Maple confirmed that the large red maple is doing very good.


We next went to the Kershner Pine and confirmed its condition. It has grown a little since I first started measuring it in 2007. The Kershner pine is 9.5 feet in girth and now 151.2 feet tall. We then went up the ridge to Oneida Pine and measured it. The tall pine is 10.1 feet in girth and 156.4 feet tall. It continues to gain height and bulk in its upper limbs. Its radial growth at breast height is very slow.

Just above the Oneida Pine, I spotted a black birch with roots engulfing a rock. It was hard to distinguish where roots ended and rock began, as you can see in this next image.


The final destination was the big Joseph Brant Pine up the ridge from the Oneida Pine. The Brant Pine was discovered by Gary Beluzo back around 2001 or 2002, if I remember correctly. Today, we put a target on the trunk to use with the lasers, determined the mid-slope position, and moved up hill. It took some time, but we managed to find a peephole and got satisfactory laser and clinometer readings. Both lasers agreed on distances to crown and target. The result of the calculations is a height of 160.2 feet. I didn’t re-measure the girth, but it is between 11.1 and 11.15 feet. Here is an image of the Brant Pine with Andrew Row in the image for scale.


The Brant Pine becomes the 13th white pine in Mohawk to reach 160 feet or more in height. The full list for Mohawk follows. Heights and girths are in feet. Volumes are in cubic feet.


How does Mohawk fair in the Northeast? If we define the geographical Northeast as east of Ohio and north of latitude 40 degrees, then the following table lists the numbers of 160-foot white pines in the Northeast by property. There may be others, but we haven’t found them.


Mohawk Trail State Forest ranks #2 among Northeastern sites for white pines 160 feet or more in height. There are likely a few New York sites with at least one pine in each site in the 160-foot height range. With enough searching, I would guess that the total number for the Northeast might go as high as 65, but it is highly unlikely that other than Cook Forest, we will find another site with more than Mohawk.

With the extensive damage caused by Irene, we can take pleasure in knowing that the great trees of Mohawk and Monroe came through relatively unscathed.


by dbhguru
Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:49 pm
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Walking in the Clouds

Walking in the Clouds
Posted by Fabio Esteban Amador of National Geographic Waitt Grants Program September 6, 2011

What do a forest ecologist, a photographer and a cinematographer have in common? A deeply rooted passion for education, art and conservation! Their shared interests have brought them to a pretty unique place. For the last three years, Greg, Drew and Colin have been working in the canopy of the trees in one of the most important tropical montane cloud forests in the world. What they discovered in the forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica, is a unique perspective on life in the clouds.

“What’s so striking about tropical montane cloud forests, especially with respect to the forest canopy, is how many species still remain to be discovered. As a scientist, it’s this sense of discovery that motivates much of my work.” said Greg Goldsmith.

by edfrank
Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:00 pm
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Remote sensing movie

Hulu has a 50 minute movie up about remote sensing with satellites (measuring forest canopy density, ice sheets, etc). It's obviously aimed at the lay audience, but it's not bad either.
by Rand
Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:07 pm
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Northern California redwoods visit

I had the opportunity to visit redwood groves in Northern California recently with my wife Meg celebrating out 25th wedding anniversary. We we were not disappointed! First day there we were guided by the able and enthusiastic old-growth fan Mario Vaden. Mario showed us some of his favorite spots in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, such a variety of superb trees! I think you could go in there blind-folded and encounter one great tree after another but with Mario leading the way the trees were (as ENTS are fond of saying) off the charts!

The next day Meg and I explored Jedediah Smith Redwoods Park on our own, Mario gave a us a nudge in the right direction. Again, I think just about any trail in Jedediah is going to provide a great experience of PNW old-growth. Jedediah knocked our socks off, the super quiet green world rainforest left our jaws semi-permanently slack. The terrain reminded me of Mohawk, the kind of woods I like with steep slopes holding bigger trees nearer the bottom where the creeks run.

My Nikon 440 and clinometer were pretty much useless, for most big trees to sight the top meant losing the base, I think the TruePulse rules in this habitat.

Some redwood forest eye-candy for you...

Passage to another world (no exaggeration)

Meg embraced by a big one

Counting rings, I gave up, outer third of the cross-section has extremely tight rings, probably 500 - 800 year-old "sprout"

Epic cathedral structure

View of the same cathedral

Meg at the base of a twin giant

Many thanks to Mario for meeting us and taking us into the woods,
by AndrewJoslin
Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:20 pm
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Kyle Lake, PA Fall Foliage


Here are some photos from Kyle Lake, and artificial lake near Reynoldsville, PA, October 10.2011. I have not adjusted the color saturation in the images to make them more colorful, but did increase the contrast very slightly.


by edfrank
Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:59 pm
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Hillside near Falls Creek, PA Fall Foliage


Here are some colorful fall foliage shots on the hillside near Kyle Lake, October 10, 2011. I have never seen colors so spectacular as they were this fall here. These images have not had their color saturation increased, and the contrast only adjusted slightly. It was a gray cloudy day - that helps explain the intensity of the color.


by edfrank
Sat Oct 15, 2011 3:09 pm
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ATG Climbs & Confirms Tallest Ponderosa. New Tall Sugar Pine

I recently met up with Ascending The Giants cimbers out of Portland, Mario Vaden and 2 seperate media groups to document the tallest known ponderosa. The media was invited because this tree is directly threated by proposed future clear-cutting of National Forests. This legislation is soon to be voted on. We want to bring public awareness to Oregon's magnificent trees in hopes that the last ones would not be cut down. All of the tallest ponderosa and sugar pines and the 7 tallest known douglas fir in the entire world grow in Southern Oregon are potentially threatened.

In order to access the canopy of Phalanx, Will, co-founder of ATG, needed to climb an adjacent tree, another large ponderosa with lower branches and then traverse over at 200' off the ground. See the attached photographic sequence which is a bit out of order.

Will is one of the fastest and most graceful tree clmbers I have ever watched climb a tall tree.

Using a slightly more conservative ground level than the one Chris Atkins and I used, ATG directly measured Phalanx at 268.04'. Will reports the top is alive and healthy. The tree could easily reach 270'+ in 4-5 years. However there is a substantial lean at the lower to mid-bole section, which is quite severe. This tree could easily snap in two at the bole during a big storm.

On the same day ATG climbed Phalanx, Mario and I explored the area a little more and found a well hidden towering sugar pine with a twisted trunk. This "Cull" tree was left behind as scraps. The dbh was about 8' and I estimated the height at 253.5' using a Trupulse200 laser. The measurement is +,- 1 yard. ATG plans to climb and directly measure the tree today and I will have a more accurate figure shorlty. Given that 9' and 10' dbh slow tapering shaft-like sugar pines were "high-graded" out of this valley a century ago, it's believable a sugar pine here could potentially reach 300'. This secret basin is the nexus for tall ponderosa and sugar of the world, besting even California's Dorrington area. Unfortunately most of the finest sugar pine of Oregon were picked off a long time ago.

The next day, I visited the tallest known sugar pine in Umpqua National Forest. It's a quite a beauty. Also found a nice 247' specimen about a mile upstream from the tallest sugar pine. This 247 footer is the 3rd tallest known still standing. Cbh was 20'.

Michael Taylor
by M.W.Taylor
Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:21 pm
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Saving a Vancouver icon : the story of Hollow Tree

Saving a Vancouver icon from destruction: the story of Hollow Tree
Alexis Stoymenoff
Posted: Oct 26th, 2011

The official opening of the Hollow Tree included a vintage car reenactment, with an antique Auburn that had been photographed in the tree in 1927. Photo by Alexis Stoymenoff. The famous ancient Western Red Cedar that looms over Stanley Park finally received its official commemoration Wednesday, in a ceremony co-hosted by the Vancouver Park Board and the Stanley Park Hollow Tree Conservation Society.

by edfrank
Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:40 pm
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Renaissance paintings including images of trees


Today, COMITATO NAZIONALE PER GLI ALBERI E IL PAESAGGIO (NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR THE TREES AND THE LANDSCAPE) posted on their Facebook Page a series of images of Renaissance paintings including images of trees. I wanted to share them here for those of you not on Facebook. There is a reasonable change that a little culture will not kill you. The comments are by the committee.

The light shines in the fabulous fresco of the Journey of the Magi (1459-62) in the Chapel of Benozzo Gozzolli Medici Ricciardi in Florence in which for the first time, outlines a landscape of woods, forests, views, large trees of each species described in detail , with scenes of hunting, hare, deer, birds.

Detail of Landscape with woods. Journey of the Magi. Ricciardi-Medici Chapel - Florence.

Detail of the rich landscape of woods and country roads bordered with hedges. This is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire history of Italian art. Journey of the Magi. Chapel Medici Ricciardi. Florence.

Journey of the Magi. Chapel Medici Ricciardi. Florence. Above left you can see the trees pruned into rings. These are examples of topiary Ars that were performed on specimens of Quercus ilex, or Laurus nobilis.

With the advent of the Renaissance, Medieval Dark Forest in the light penetrates. The intellectual renaissance, now at the center of the universe, is the nature of perspective drawing. Just in the hunt in the forest, by Paolo Uccello (1465) the forest is stripped of mystery and trees occupy space in order to induce the viewer to look towards the focal point, the "vanishing point" represented by a deer distance in which all lines converge and the attention of the scene.

Even more natural is the vision of St. Eustace by Pisanello (London - National Gallery), the first half of the fifteenth century, when the rider is in contact with all the characteristic fauna of the forest, from deer to rabbits to birds, with naturalistic extraordinary attention to detail.

In Gothic courts and in the works of Gentile da Fabriano, one begins to see a new vision of the forest, as in the predella of the Flight into Egypt, inserted in the altarpiece of the Adoration of the Magi (Florence - Uffizi), in which the teacher is a landscape light, where the woods and the trees begin to acquire their own dignity and naturalness, becoming indispensable frame for the representation of the central scene.

In the same period of Giotto, another master of Italian painting, Duccio da Buoninsegna in Siena area, the episode represents the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, and he puts a picture of a boy that climbs the tree. We are in the fourteenth century.

Check out the entire series at the link above, if you are on Facebook.

by edfrank
Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:31 pm
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Film of Extinct Imperial Woodpecker Unearthed

28 Oct 2011: Film of Extinct Woodpecker
Unearthed by Cornell Researchers

U.S. scientists searching for the rare imperial woodpecker, once considered the world’s largest woodpecker species but now thought to be extinct, have unearthed an 85-second film of the bird in its long-vanished habitat. It is the only known footage of the bird, which was two feet high and the closest relative of the ivory-billed woodpecker, which is also believed to be extinct. The 16mm color film — shot in 1956 by Pennsylvania dentist and amateur ornithologist William Rhein in Durango, Mexico’s old-growth pine forest — captures an adult female as she quickly scales the trunk of a pine tree, takes four pecks at the tree, and then launches into flight. The film was discovered by Martjan Lammertink, a researcher at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology who has authored a new paper in the journal The Auk about a 2010 expedition to the same region of Durango in search of the imperial woodpecker. Scientists say the bird, which lived in the high mountains of the Sierre Madre Occidental, likely went extinct some time in the late 20th century after decades of logging cleared its old-growth pine habitat. Indeed, Lammertink’s research team found no evidence of the bird. “It is stunning to look back through time with this film and see the magnificent imperial woodpecker moving through its old-growth forest environment,” Lammertink said. “And it is heartbreaking to know that both the bird and the forest are gone.”

by edfrank
Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:41 am
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Dr. E. O. Wilson on Hurricane Creek

Dr. E. O. Wilson on Hurricane Creek

Uploaded by hccreekkeeper on Jul 8, 2008

Dr. Wilson is a two time Pulitzer Prizewinner and curator of Entomology at Harvard University. He did his post graduate work on Hurricane Creek.

by edfrank
Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:07 am
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Mapping Ancient Cherokee Trails

Mapping Ancient Cherokee Trails


There is an interesting article on the Cherokee Preservation Foundation website concerning ancient Cherokee Trails. Here is the link:

Mapping Ancient Cherokee Trails

Trail Trees at Wiggins CreekTrail

For at least a thousand years – and perhaps as many as 10,000 – the Cherokee have been masters of the mountains, using trails that often went straight uphill to move between sacred sites, commercial centers and other places in their vast homeland. Two years ago, with the first of two Cherokee Preservation Foundation grants and guidance from the Tribal Heritage Preservation Office of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), Wild South and its partners, Mountain Stewards and the Southeastern Anthropological Institute, started taking a journey across time. Their goal was to refind, restore and reemphasize the trail and road system of the Cherokee Nation in Western North Carolina and surrounding territory.


The Cherokee Trails Project covers approximately 150 linear miles and 47,000 acres in the Pisgah, Nantahala and Cherokee National Forests containing Cherokee historical sites. Wild South Cultural Preservation Director Lamar Marshall says that what has unfolded is “clear evidence that the main arteries of our 20th century road system in the Southeast were built directly on Cherokee trails and corridors – the Cherokee developed the circuitry for modern transportation.”

by edfrank
Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:20 pm
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