Howland's Island

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DougBidlack
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by DougBidlack » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:55 am

Elijah,

Will measured an American bladdernut to 9.3" x 32.9' in Lower Huron Metropark in southeastern Michigan. I measured the girth of one to 1.16' in the same park. I don't pay much attention to whether someone thinks a plant is a shrub or a tree, I just measure any woody plant that reaches 4m or more. Some plants are shrubs under some environmental conditions and trees under others so the distinction is very fuzzy at best. I think most people would consider American bladdernut to be a large shrub that can reach tree height. Of course what people consider to be tree height is highly variable but I don't know anyone that sets the bar above 32.9' (though they are probably out there somewhere).

Doug

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ElijahW
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by ElijahW » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:35 pm

Thanks, Doug. I didn't bother to measure the circumference on my Bladdernut, as it was just a few inches. I guess the species falls into the same category as Spicebush, Speckled alder, and Witch hazel. I'll be on the lookout for taller plants, though I doubt I'll come anywhere near 32'.

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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DougBidlack
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by DougBidlack » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:45 pm

Elijah,

it seems that so few people measure the really small guys that it is sometimes surprising what you learn when you start to notice them. I'm happy that you're taking an interest in this cool species!

Doug

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ElijahW
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by ElijahW » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:55 pm

Doug,

It's been mostly Erik's interest in the small stuff that challenged me to look more carefully at the plants I've been just walking over and past for years. Is there a particular book or collection of books that you would recommend to help in studying the small tree/woody shrub species?

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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ElijahW
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by ElijahW » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:00 pm

Thanks, Erik. Howland's Island has a few small areas, all subject to flooding, that I would consider old growth. This Green ash grows in one of those areas, along with Freeman maple, Swamp white oak, American elm, and Black ash. I've found several Green ashes over 110', but I believe this is the tallest.

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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DougBidlack
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by DougBidlack » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:51 pm

Elijah,

the one book I would like to have is "The Shrub Identification Book" by George W. D. Symonds. It is an older book and all the pictures are in black and white but it is better than any other shrub book that I've seen for the eastern US. I've been for no good reason been getting along with a hodgepodge of other books that kinda sorta cover the eastern shrubs. Last year a book was published called "Michigan Shrubs and Vines" and along with "Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota" they are helping me out pretty well, but I still want to get "The Shrub Identification Book" because it is just plain better at doing what the title would suggest.

Doug

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ElijahW
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by ElijahW » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:37 am

NTS,

After a couple of recent visits to Howland's Island, I thought I would share the most current data I have for the area. Though the numbers aren't dramatically different than those I've posted before, this summary should be clearer and more concise.

A couple of introductory notes on the list:

1. The Tuliptree, Bitternut Hickory, American Sycamore, Freeman Maple, American Basswood, Sugar Maple, Black Cherry, and American Beech are trees located and measured within the last six months or so.

2. The Green Ash has lost about four feet in height since last measured. The top leader likely was broken off.

Common Name Botanical Name Height (ft) Girth (in)

Tuliptree Liriodendron tulipifera 135
Bitternut Hickory Carya cordiformis 133.4 91
Eastern Cottonwood Populus deltoides ssp. deltoides 130.4 153
American Sycamore Platanus occidentalis 130.2 104
Red Hickory Carya ovalis 127.8 82
Black Locust Robinia pseudoacacia 123.1 67
Eastern White Pine Pinus strobus 123 56
Northern Red Oak Quercus rubra var. rubra 122.1 96
Shagbark Hickory Carya ovata 121.4 79
Freeman Maple Acer xfreemanii 119 154

Rucker 10 Index: 126.54

American Basswood Tilia americana var. americana 117.6 100
Sugar Maple Acer saccharum var. saccharum 117.3
Green Ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica 117.1 97
Black Cherry Prunus serotina var. serotina 117 90
White Ash Fraxinus americana 116.9 53
Pignut Hickory Carya glabra 116.7 60
Cucumber-Tree Magnolia acuminata 113.5 66
American Beech Fagus grandifolia 113 72
White Oak Quercus alba 112.3
Swamp White Oak Quercus bicolor 112.1 153

Rucker 20 Index: 120.945

I also located an isolated, single Blackgum on the Island's north end. It shows similar form and bark characteristics as the small population of Blackgums on the south end of the Island, and is probably close to those trees in age. I'm unable to upload those photos from my phone, and I'm still trying to figure out why. Enjoy,

Elijah

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by Erik Danielsen » Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:05 pm

Elijah, since you've got so much data from Howland's Island, have you considered mapping some of it to get a sense of how the trends you're seeing interact with the landscape from the digital bird's eye view, so to speak? I'm doing more and more mapping recently and it certainly makes me wish I had been more diligent about collecting good GPS points for more of the trees I've measured.

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ElijahW
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by ElijahW » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:16 am

Erik,

I definitely see patterns, but they’re just in my head right now. Howlands Island is basically flat, dotted here and there with drumlins and man made ponds; because of this, very slight changes in elevation or slope (just a few feet) result in vastly different plant communities. I use Google Earth quite a bit to look for potential big-tree areas, but I think the old-school topo map that my brother has would be just as effective.

I do have specific gps coordinates for some trees. What kind of program are you using for your mapping? I’m interested in trying something out.

Elijah

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Howland's Island

Post by Erik Danielsen » Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:44 pm

Elijah,

I've been using qGIS. It does a lot of what more sophisticated programs like arcGIS can do. High-resolution digital elevation tiles can be downloaded from orthos.dhses.ny.gov along with different aerial imagery sets and now liDAR for most of the state, which I keep downloading but then putting off learning to process. A spreadsheet of trees with latitude and longitude fields, along with other data, can then be loaded as a point layer and represented in different ways (all the trees as dots with a different color for each species, for example). I always got the impression GIS was some arcane field but it turns out you can just start playing around with data and googling instructions on what you want to do and find more and more uses for it. For example, if you made a shapefile for the boundary of howland's island in qGIS you could export that, import it to the USDA web soil survey interface, and then download the soils data for that shapefile to add into the same GIS project to see the correlation of trees to soils in addition to landforms.

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