Search found 133 matches


Re: The Golden Spruce


Indeed it is possible, and I have been privileged to know some good ones. As a matter of fact, I consider you to be one of those who can be both. Russ Richardson, Don Bertolette, Michele Wilson, Rex Baker, and Ehrhard Frost are other examples. Of course, there are the iconic figures like Aldo Leopold, William Arthur Ashe, and Richard St Barbe Baker who reached the pinnacle of conservation consciousness. Still others could be mentioned, but alas, in total, I fear the percentage will always be small.

According to accounts I have read, the industrial model of forestry replaced the custodial model as the need for wood skyrocketed in WW II, and forestry has never since regained its bearings. I'm sure many would dispute this depiction of the history of the profession, or at the least, point to some well-managed forested properties, private and public. You certainly have success stories to tell there. And I recently saw an impressive example of excellent forestry in Woodstock, VT - the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP. But that property is about as far away from the industrial model as you can go and still call it forestry. I think the publicly unspoken, but conventional, message is that such a selective and light touch doesn't pay for itself in the short run - if at all.

I suppose the big question is whether or not forestry can provide good livings through long-term, sustainable forestry practices for its practitioners. I don't have the answer to that question. I know you have lots to say on the subject. I remember the discussions from NEFR when Karl Davies described paths to sustainable forestry and a decent living. Although those discussions were often heated, they did speak to the heart of the matter. I have been told by professionals (government and academic) that there is no path to the better life practicing ecologically balanced, sustainable forestry. According to those sources, you can never get ahead. If that is indeed true, then hope for real progress is illusory. We'll be subjected to the continuation of greenwash by timber companies and the organizational elements of the forestry establishment while witnessing our woodlands being perpetually over-cut except where subsidized. Depressing.

I am beginning to suspect that the belief of no profitable alternative to heavy cutting is deeply ingrained within the forestry profession. Come to think of it, that maybe the explanation for why there is so little apparent curiosity about places like MTSF among the professionals here in Massachusetts. Mohawk must bear little resemblance to anything they consider to be economically viable. So, they have no interest in even visiting the place. The extremely low number who do visit that exceptional forest probably do so because they are interested in big/tall trees as a separate focus. Nothing says that loggers and foresters can't be dedicated to forest management while simultaneously wanting to retain some unmanaged woodlands or simple entertaining a fascination for big trees. I hold you out as an example as well as those mentioned above.

by dbhguru
Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:45 pm
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Re: Tree Haiku

Ghosts of hemlock trees
Hemlock wooly adelgid
Death haunts the gray spring
by edfrank
Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:56 am
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Re: Tree Haiku

If I can stand still,
but know how to eat the sun,
will I too be tree?"
by KarlCronin
Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:55 pm
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Re: Tree Haiku

This London Plane Tree,
Smooth, wood, spine against my back.
Hold me up always?
by Jenny
Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:45 pm
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Re: Tree Haiku

Persimmon gives fruit
Pucker, frost, freeze, then so sweet
Who knows to taste it?

by Steve Galehouse
Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:08 am
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Re: Tree Haiku

How about this Joe?????

Measuring a tree
Is something I've never done.
But will Joe teach me?
by Jenny
Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:40 pm
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Tree Haiku by Basho

Found a bunch of great Spring Haiku poems by Basho:

Spring too, very soon!
They are setting the scene for it --
plum tree and moon.

From all directions
Winds bring petals of cherry
Into the grebe lake.

The leafless cherry,
Old as a toothless woman,
Blooms in flowers,
Mindful of its youth.

That great blue oak
indifferent to all blossoms
appears more noble

The oak tree stands
noble on the hill even in
cherry blossom time

Spring rain
conveyed under the trees
in drops.
by Jenny
Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:46 am
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Re: Tree Haiku

My spirit seeks out,
what the Frenzied man ignores,
peace in tree's shadow.
by bountreehunter
Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:42 am
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Re: Tree Haiku

by edfrank
Tue May 28, 2013 6:22 pm
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Go Into the Arts

Words of wisdom by Kurt Vonnegut:


by edfrank
Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:45 pm
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Subjective view of the Sequoia old-growth

I recently finished editing a montage of video and photographs from a visit to the Sierra National Forest in April 2010. The purpose of the video is to communicate a subjective sensory/emotional view of the Sierra Nevada old-growth, enjoy:

by AndrewJoslin
Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:59 pm
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Why do we find trees so rapturous?

This is an excerpt from a Sam Harris article:

"The mere existence of psychedelics would seem to establish the material basis of mental and spiritual life beyond any doubt—for the introduction of these substances into the brain is the obvious cause of any numinous apocalypse that follows. It is possible, however, if not actually plausible, to seize this datum from the other end and argue, and Aldous Huxley did in his classic essay, The Doors of Perception, that the primary function of the brain could be eliminative: its purpose could be to prevent some vast, transpersonal dimension of mind from flooding consciousness, thereby allowing apes like ourselves to make their way in the world without being dazzled at every step by visionary phenomena irrelevant to their survival. Huxley thought that if the brain were a kind of “reducing valve” for “Mind at Large,” this would explain the efficacy of psychedelics: They could simply be a material means of opening the tap."

I want to pose this question: why do tree-lovers like us find trees so stunning? Are our "taps" open even without the use of mind-enhancing drugs? (Although, I'm sure at least one of us here has "experimented" a bit ;) )
by RyanLeClair
Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:08 pm
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Re: Why do we find trees so rapturous?


Thanks for this--I find it very profound. I think the cause of a love of trees can be connected to some very important things about the human mind and how it functions on various levels. I like Huxley's idea that if people, some maybe more than others, didn't have the ability to use a "reducing valve," or close some gates or paths into the mind, we might not be able to function for our survival.

I have often thought about how more primitive man, who had to work so hard at survival, might have looked at trees-- whether they may have, from time to time, stopped to glory in their beauty. Not everyone, in fact, I think very few people, really look at trees and see what some other people see. Trees are very, very complex visual things--their forms, their color, their textures, all requiring a special depth and subtlety of perception needed to see them in all their three-dimensional aspects. Then there is the "idea" of trees which can overlay our visual perception, including all that we know about their growth and how they live in their environment, interact with other trees, etc., etc. We, today, maybe have more opportunities to open up the "valve" to let more in. But not all of us do.

Sometimes when I am in the woods doing some TSI thinning, I am distracted and have to remind myself to get back to work. But, on the other hand, all the complex "perception" of trees I am involved in can, on another level, help with that work, or at least provide more motivation for it. I bet Joe understands what I mean here.

Anyway, maybe at least some people in more primitive times, even when under more survival pressure, or when they had breaks from that pressure, were able to really "see" trees. In some cultures they were objects of reverence and/or worship. I don't suppose we could ever get in touch with what a tree might have meant to primitive people--or some of them.

This topic reminds me of a time when I went back to visit some friends in CA. I had spent an overly long time getting my Ph. D. at UCLA, and had spent some of that time in a common form of "recreation." I told them about the timberland I had recently bought. It had a lot of tall, straight close-growing sugar maples about 100 feet tall. I described how beautiful the woodland was, and told them about how one time on a windy winter day with little clouds blowing fast across the sky, looking up into the trees I could get completely lost in a kind of visual "rolling" sensation caused by the shadows of the clouds, and the returning sun coming through the trees at something like a 45% angle. It was amazing and hard to describe. But my friends understood immediately and said things like, "wow! psychedelic!" The valves were open, and I was understood. But in a way what I saw was something that I think was a bit different from a psychedelic experience--somehow finer, more subtle. Or so I thought at the time.

Anyway, the mind is a fascinating and wonderful thing--and we keep learning more about it. I saw on the NIH health news site this morning an article about self-awareness in the mind. There had been a theory developed, and apparently somewhat widely accepted, about where that self-awareness resides in the mind. Well, recently some neurologists had a chance to study a person who had these parts of the brain either destroyed, or disconnected from the rest of the brain. But, what amazed the researchers was that the man had perfectly normal self-awareness. This follows other studies that have shown that the brain functions more as a whole, and/or is more flexible and resiliant that we have thought. It is less like a machine, and more like some more fully "organic" structure than imagined.

I am not sure I can explain exactly how this relates to the perception and enjoyment of trees, except to say that I think the whole brain is involved--that the process of perceiving, understanding, and appreciating--yes, "loving" trees, is fully distributed in our brain. The valves must be fully open, not just to let the full perception of a tree in, in all its visual complexity, but also the valves "in" the mind, opening one part into all the others and vice versa.

I think this is true also in the appreciation of music, dance, literature, etc. also.

Thanks Ryan,

by gnmcmartin
Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:05 pm
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Hickory Leaf as Ballerina

Here is a second entry on the theme of artistic impressions of new growth:

The leaf of a hickory is quite a complicated masterpiece of engineering. Not to diminish the miracle of any leaf coming back to life in the spring, I have watched hickory leaves in particular because of two trees that I have on my property and the ease with which I can see them open and mature. The bud seems to swell to three or four times the normal size as the protective scale begins to break under the pressure of the incipient leaf. And then you stare at something about the size of your index finger, a miniature rendition of something that will eventually have five to 9 leaves coming off a long stem, some of which may be as big as your hand.
What I have been seeing over the last few years as I watch this phenomenon is a ballerina squatted into a crouch on a stage with her hands completely enshrouding her head. Slowly she picks up her head and begins to move her arms down around her body. Moving into an upright position with arms curved around her side, her legs begin the rise until her full height is reached. And as the leaf on the hickory reaches its full length and size, the ballerina comes to life and begins a joyful dance across the stage.

Ed Nizalowski
Newark Valley, NY
by edniz
Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:18 pm
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New Fine White Pine Site


By invitation, today, Ray Asselin and I went to Gould Farm to look at trees on an adjacent property that Gould Farm forest manager Bob Rausch thought might be old growth. Gould Farm is the oldest psychological rehabilitation institution in America. It has had many friends over the years. One was none other than Benton Mackaye, father of the Appalachian Trail. I was impressed by the property and its mission, and guess who is its consulting forester? None other than Joe Zorzin. Yes, our Joe. That is just way, way cool. Joe has turned the property in a model of good forestry.

But the property we were to examine turned out to be on the abutting federal fish hatchery. We climbed to the rim of a large kettle bog and were greeted by a stand of handsome white pines, eastern hemlocks, and northern and white oaks. It was immediately obvious that the area is not old growth. However, the trees are very mature. The white pines appear to be between 130 and 170 years in age. Naturally, I began measuring. On the first one, I got 133.0 feet. Another site for the 130 Club. A second pine tipped the scales at 138.9 feet. Sweet! Then I got 143.0. Whoa, another site in the 140 Club. A large impressive N. red oak sported a girth of 11.35 feet and height of 101.3. A tall looking hemlock just broke 115 feet. We didn't have a lot of time, but Ray and I were very satisfied with the site and what we saw. There is a lot more to be done with it, which will have to wait until August or September.

We returned to the Farm, had lunch, and said our goodbyes. We then drove to a spot I had noticed on the way to the fish hatchery. Tall pines lined both sides of the narrow road. Right at the border between New Marlboro and Monterey, we stopped and began measuring. I hit 131.7 on the first pine. Then I got 136.0, 131.5, 137.0, and 138.7. The strip of pines, still on fish hatchery property, was solidly in the 130 Club. However, the spot held two more secrets. The first was a pine at 142.2 feet and a second made 150.6 feet. The fish hatchery property becomes the 7th in the State with 150-foot tall trees.

Let's see, we have MTSF (130), Bryant Homestead (15) , Ice Glen (4), MSF(1), Kenneth M. Dubuque SF (1), Savoy Mtn SF (1), and now the Federal Fish Hatchery (1). Sweet!

by dbhguru
Fri May 17, 2013 8:27 pm
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Re: New Fine White Pine Site

Good Morning Ents,

Here are two images of the new 150-foot great white.



The new site is about 47 miles from our house by the back roads. That is close enough for fairly frequent visits. A look at the area on Google Earth shows a large area populated with white pines. I have a good feeling about this area. I think the odds favor at least a few more pines in the 150-foot height class.

by dbhguru
Sat May 18, 2013 8:07 am
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In the Time of Trees

In the Time of Trees

A photo essay by

Magnum Photographer Stuart Franklin has spent a decade exploring the beauty of trees and the unique place they occupy in man's world

Read more:,29307,1731606,00.html
by edfrank
Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:59 pm
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Re: More haiku attempts

You can edit your own posts to fix typos. etc.
by edfrank
Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:30 pm
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Two neat images, MTSF, MA


Ed Ritz and I visited Mohawk a couple of days ago and we took these images. The first is of the Joseph Brant pine (11.2 ft x 160.1 ft).


The next shows me at the base of a 142.0-foot white ash. The top of the ash cannot be seen. Although the ash is just 6 feet in girth, the image of me barely visible (right side of tree) shows the exceptional verticality of these forests.


In a recent email to DCR reporting on this visit I wrote the following.

Now for a final commentary. When I trek through these hidden forest sanctuaries, I am constantly reminded of what makes them special - what sets them apart from the vast majority of undistinguished woodlands that form the Berkshire uplands, and in fact, most of the woodlands of Massachusetts. In Mohawk, it isn't the tree species, or their distribution. It isn't the number of rare or endangered plants. It isn't what Mohawk's woods share in common with other DCR properties, but rather, it is what makes Mohawk's forests distinct - their abundance of exceptional trees. In my view, this attribute cannot be emphasized too much.

I am reminded of the report MASSACHUSETTS FOREST RESERVES LONG TERM ECOLOGICAL MONITORING PROGRAM - MOHAWK.MONROE/SAVOY FOREST RESERVE. Although there is useful information in this journeyman effort, from reading it, and other than the mention of the old growth, if I did I not know differently, from the report, I would see nothing exceptional about the forests in the 9th forest reserve. The report is woefully inadequate in its descriptions of the forests of Mohawk, Monroe, and Savoy and their rich cultural history (the old Indian path, the Shunpike, John Wheeler's grave, etc.). When I return from the West, I'll dive into the trail guide for the Mahican-Mohawk Recreational Trail. I have made contact with a source that can take the cultural history to a new level.

One of the addresses responded as follows.

Thanks Bob. Impressive as always.

I know and have read the report you reference with some frustration in looking for more content, as to more details about what makes this place special. I do appreciate your summary of these forests as being a concentration of exceptional examples.

Thanks again for your herculean efforts.

I include the above response to acknowledge that there are people in DCR who very much recognize and appreciate what we in NTS do, do for DCR properties, and what exists in those properties as ecological-inspirational treasures. It would be grossly unfair of me to imply that DCR, as an organization, does not have many employees who value DCR parks and reserves as ecologically valuable and inspirational. DCR employees can be divided into four camps: (1) those who recognize the full range of values in our public forests, (2) those who are just economically focused on the timber, (3) those who are focused on just recreation, and (4) those who don't think much about it at all. I am forever grateful for the members of category (1), and it is for them, as well as the people of the Commonwealth, that Monica and I have undertaken the effort to do trail guides for the great places in Mohawk, Monroe, Mt. Greylock, and a few other properties. It is a labor of love and one that will likely occupy me for as long as my legs will carry me up and down the ridges. The third attachment is a draft of the Great Pines Nature Trail. Monica and have lots of work left to do on it, but getting there.

by dbhguru
Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:45 am
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Bryant through Ray Asselin's eyes


I'll let the images speak for themselves.

Bryant- Pileated-Beech.jpg

Bryant- YBirch-1.jpg

Black cherry. DBH = 9.1 feet, height about 97 feet.

Bryant- The Black Cherry-4.jpg

Bryant- Bigtooth Aspen-1.jpg

The 162.2-foot Bryant Pine

Bryant- WPine-4.jpg

Bryant- WPine-10.jpg

Bryant- WPine-11.jpg

Weird dude we encountered in the forest.

Bryant- WPine-16.jpg

Same weird dude. After encountering him the second time, we got the heck out of there.

Bryant- WPine-17.jpg

Is this a class-act forest or not?

by dbhguru
Fri May 24, 2013 7:05 pm
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Bryant matches Hearts Content


Yesterday, Ray Asselin and I went to Bryant Homestead at Cummington, MA. Ray had not been there before and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. So after a pancake breakfast at nearby he Look restaurant, off we went.

Ray is a very good photographer and I look forward to seeing Bryant through the lens of his camera, but beyond showing Ray the forest and taking a few shots myself, I had a specific mission. I was after #19and opened up the canopy in a few spots, which provided me with added visibility. As a result, I was I was successful in teasing out a few more feet on three hard to see pines. And yesterday, we bagged another. Here is a look at the list of 150s as of the end of yesterday. The heights of the Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson trees are updates. The height of the Bryant Pine is courtesy of John Eichholz and Dale Luthringer last October.


The count is now 19 and that ties the old growth Pennsylvania icon Hearts Content. Many researchers have visited the PA site and stats from there have helped shaped our understanding of old growth white pine stands. But Hearts Content is in the twilight of its pine life. It is succeeding to other species. Bryant is much earlier in the transition zone and offers us an opportunity to follow the successional path starting at an earlier stage.

Here are a few images from yesterday. Some of you may recognize individual trees that I've photographed before. The first 3 images emphasize the unusual one sees in Bryant.

Red maple


Yellow birch epicormic sprouting



Here are three more conventional shots




And lastly, a shot that typifies what one sees and carries away from a trip along Bryant's Pine Loop, namely the abundance of big, soaring trunks. Large pines are more concentrated in Bryant than in other iconic pine stands such as those in Mohawk Trail State Forest. Bryant's closest competitor is Ice Glen. I plan to take the Rucker Girth Index seriously after the the end of this growing season. For the Bryant pines, I would guess that it is around 11.6 feet. We'll see. It is slightly more than that in Mohawk, but the big stems in Mohawk are more dispersed. In Bryant, you encounter one after another. It is a WOW experience.


I will close with comments characteristic of my viewpoint about what one sees traveling across Massachusetts. Most of our woodlands, quite frankly, are boring. Our forests are perpetually over-cut. The result is that one sees spindly little stems often pack together. High grading is the rule on so-called managed lands. We can see larger, more inspiring trees, but they exist primarily along property boundaries, waterways, in city parks, yards, and in a few of our state forests. But the woodlands most residents experience are overwhelmingly second-rate. People are accustomed to them as the norm. Sites like Bryant remind us of what forests can become. We can be thankful to the Trustees of Reservations for recognizing and protecting Bryant Woods for us to enjoy.

by dbhguru
Fri May 24, 2013 8:09 am
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Re: Peter Meinke and Tree Identification

Hi Carol,

Here's a short one:

Hot sun, asphalt, brief time away
Time clock, ticks fast, short break today
Soft trail, sun shade, clock stands still
Zone out, my time, oh what a thrill!


- Matt
by Matt Markworth
Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:38 pm
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Re: Peter Meinke and Tree Identification

Carol and Matt,

Monica and I attended an event at Smith College recently where Merwin spoke. I was enormously impressed by him and his tributes to nature made me reflect on how much we benefit from poetry. I do hope the two of you will continue exploring our connections to nature, and more specifically trees, through poetic expression.

by dbhguru
Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:14 am
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John Muir

John Muir


John Muir (21 April 1838 – 24 December 1914) was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, have been read by millions. His activism helped to save the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he founded, is now one of the most important conservation organizations in the United States. One of the most well-known hiking trails in the U.S., the 211-mile John Muir Trail, was named in his honor.

The Writings of John Muir (1838-1914 )

Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5
Volume 6
Volume 7
Volume 8
Volume 9
Volume 10

My First Summer in the Sierra - John Muir

Steep Trails - John Muir

Our national parks - Muir, John

John Muir on Hetch Hetchy

Youtube search results

John Muir and Yosemite imhilgendorf — February 16, 2008 — John Muir, the great naturalist, writer, and environmentalist, and his love for Yosemite National Park in California.
From the video: California: A Tribute

John Muir: The Wild Gospel of Nature templenature — July 19, 2008 — An eight minute film revealing the wild gospel, torah, dharma, quran, tao, etc. of John Muir's wisdom drawn from the book Meditations of John Muir: Nature's Temple. Read by author and photographer Chris Highland

John Muir Stories - afmareck — March 20, 2009 — Interpretive naturalist Dick Shore specializes in the life of wilderness mystic and foundational conservationist John Muir. Here, Shore reflects on storytelling and environmental education, as Muir talks about his 1000-mile walk from Louisville to the Gulf of Mexico.

John Muir & Theodore Roosevelt in Yosemite PackerGreg — January 31, 2010 — From the Ken Burns documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" Narrated by Peter Coyote, Lee Stetson reading Muir's memoirs.

Nature's Beloved Son, Rediscovering John Muir Botanical Legacy buckeye250 — September 10, 2008 — John Muir's Botanical Collection from Yosemite to Alaska including Canada, Indiana and The Thousand Mile Walk. Video produced by Stephen Joseph with Bonnie J. Gisel. Music by Roderick Watkins. The Book "Natures Beloved Son" published by Heyday Books, Berkeley, California, authored by Bonnie J. Gisel with images by Stephen J. Joseph. For more information go to

Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world". ~ John Muir
by edfrank
Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:49 pm
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Re: Where Do Trees Come From?

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by edfrank
Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:44 pm
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