Atlantic white-cedars in Brendan Byrne SF, NJ

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#1)  Atlantic white-cedars in Brendan Byrne SF, NJ

Postby DougBidlack » Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:37 pm

NTS,

back in late February of 2013 my wife and I had the opportunity to revisit a nice stand of Atlantic white-cedars in Brendan Byrne State Forest, New Jersey.  When I lived in New Jersey in the late 90's I collected black flies and caddisflies from this site.  At that time I think it was called Lebanon State Forest.  The nice stand of Atlantic white-cedars are located in a 735 acre Cedar Swamp Natural Area within the 34,725 acre state forest.  Shinns Branch flows through the forest from east to west and the stream (Shinns Branch) is bisected by Norlemon Rd.

Before entering the forest we saw this fat Atlantic white-cedar along the road.  I didn't immediately write down the girth but it was between 7 and 7.1 feet.  Below is a picture.
               
                       
NJ Cedars 4.jpg
                                       
               

We entered the forest to the east of the road and north of the stream.  Here are four pictures of the forest.
               
                       
NJ Cedars 1.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
NJ Cedars 2.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
NJ Cedars 3.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
NJ Cedars 5.jpg
                                       
               


We then began walking in a northeasterly direction away from the stream and towards the edge of the cedars in an effort to find larger trees.  The largest trees always seem to be either at the edge of the Atlantic white-cedar wetlands or near flowing water.  Here are two pictures of Ellen as we were moving toward the edge of the wetland.
               
                       
NJ Cedars 6.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
NJ Cedars 7.jpg
                                       
               


When we reached the edge of the wetland it was naturally drier and we soon found some bigger cedars.  The first that we measured was 7.15' x 74.0'.  Here are two pictures of Ellen next to this beautiful tree.
               
                       
NJ Cedars 8.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
NJ Cedars 9.jpg
                                       
               


Nearby were two trees that measured 6.85' in girth and 6.60' in girth.  I didn't measure the height because they were not as tall as the other tree.  Here are two pictures of Ellen with the 6.85' tree in the foreground and the 6.60' tree in the background.
               
                       
NJ Cedars 10.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
NJ Cedars 11.jpg
                                       
               


We then continued along the edge of the swamp in a more or less easterly direction until we saw no more good cedars and we turned back.  There were several sweetbay magnolias of decent size in this area.  Here is a picture.
               
                       
NJ Cedars 12.jpg
                                       
               


When we got back to the road we decided to enter the forest on the west side of the road and north of the stream.  We quickly came to a small blowdown and I measured the tallest tree at the edge of it.  The cedar was 83.3' tall and at that time it was the tallest Atlantic white-cedar I had ever measured.  I did not measure the girth.  Below is a picture.
               
                       
NJ Cedars 13.jpg
                                       
               


The Atlantic white-cedar wetland was less extensive on this side and we soon came to the end of it so we crossed the small stream to the south side and walked back to the road.  But before walking back to the road we got to measure another very nice tree.  This one was 7.21' x 65.5' and below are two pictures of Ellen next to this tree.
               
                       
NJ Cedars 14.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
NJ Cedars 15.jpg
                                       
               


We saw no more trees worth measuring on the way back to the road.  Here is a picture of Shinns Branch looking downstream towards the west.
               
                       
NJ Cedars 16.jpg
                                       
               


Here is a picture of Ellen along Norlemon Road.  The first fat cedar (7' to 7.1' in girth) that we measured can be seen in the background.
               
                       
NJ Cedars 17.jpg
                                       
               


As we walked back towards the car in a northerly direction I kept looking to the west for potential trees to measure.  I found a good area and we went in.  Below is a picture of a handsome tree in this magical little forest.  I didn't measure it because the girth and height appeared less than what we had already seen.
               
                       
NJ Cedars 18.jpg
                                       
               


We soon found a tall tree worth measuring and it came out to 4.22' x 86.4'.  Below are two pictures of Ellen next to this tree.
               
                       
NJ Cedars 19.jpg
                                       
               

               
                       
NJ Cedars 20.jpg
                                       
               


We headed back out to the road and then to the car but I saw what I'm sure was an even taller cedar.  Damn!  I'm sure there are Atlantic white-cedars over 90' in this wonderful wetland.  Maybe next time!

Here is a list of the Atlantic white-cedars measured.
6.60' x ?
6.85' x ?
7.0-7.1' x ?
7.21' x 65.5'
7.15' x 74.0'
? x 83.3'
4.22' x 86.4'

Doug

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#2)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in Brendan Byrne SF, NJ

Postby Erik Danielsen » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:01 am

Doug, are all these photos and measurements from 2013? I'm glad you posted them! The dimensions are excellent (and definitely put it on the map as a place to seek 90'+ thyoides) but aesthetically these stands as shown through your photos are really something special. Densely packed trunks with pale lichens accenting spiral bark- what a sight.
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#3)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in Brendan Byrne SF, NJ

Postby AndrewJoslin » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:18 pm

Still my beating heart! I'll second that, beautiful stand and trees. I'll never argue with good height but girthiness (is that a word?) for Atlantic White Cedar is so great to see.
-AJ
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#4)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in Brendan Byrne SF, NJ

Postby DougBidlack » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:22 pm

Erik,

yes, all the photos and measurements are from when we visited the site in late February of 2013.  I'm afraid I have a few other posts to make to get me up to date.

I'm glad you liked the pictures but they still don't properly reflect the beauty of the place.  I found that few people in New Jersey appreciated the beauty of the Pine Barrens region of their state relative to the Delaware Water Gap area in the northeastern part of the state.  Sure, the Delaware Water Gap area is beautiful and has taller trees but for me the real measure of a place is how close it is to what existed several hundred years ago.  I think the Pine Barrens area has much more forestland that comes close to this ideal than the Delaware Water Gap region.

Doug
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#5)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in Brendan Byrne SF, NJ

Postby DougBidlack » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:30 pm

Andrew,

well if girthiness isn't a word maybe it should be!  I also love the chunky ones.  Even better to find a forest full of them and, as Erik noted, packed real close together.  I think the best way to really appreciate a site like this relative to others would be to calculate the basal area of Atlantic white-cedars per hectare/acre etc.

Doug
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#6)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in Brendan Byrne SF, NJ

Postby Larry Tucei » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:39 pm

Doug-   Some really good illustrations of an Atlantic White Cedars.  Hard to imagine they grow all the way to the Gulf Coast. Mostly northwestern Florida. Larry
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#7)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in Brendan Byrne SF, NJ

Postby DougBidlack » Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:13 am

Larry,

I'd love to see some Atlantic white-cedars in the Southeast.  Probably the ones around the Great Dismal Swamp in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina will be the first because they are closer to me and I know a couple people down there who know something about that area.  But Florida is a possibility too.  I'd also love to see some of the ones found in South Carolina.  So many trees, so little time!

Doug

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#8)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in Brendan Byrne SF, NJ

Postby ElijahW » Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:30 pm

Doug,

Thanks for sharing this trip and posting so many great photos.  Atlantic white cedar is an interesting species about which I know very little.  The spacing of the trees resembles Hemlock swamps around here.  How similar is the experience of being in a Northern white cedar swamp to spending time among Atlantic white cedars?  I saw Atlantic white cedars in abundance for the first time just last year in eastern Massachusetts, and it seems an attractive tree.  Thanks again,

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks
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#9)  Re: Atlantic white-cedars in Brendan Byrne SF, NJ

Postby Lucas » Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:54 pm

Erik Danielsen wrote:but aesthetically these stands as shown through your photos are really something special. Densely packed trunks with pale lichens accenting spiral bark- what a sight.


I agree.

I was aware of AWC but didn't how pretty they are.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir
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