Some NTS Statistics and related babble

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#1)  Some NTS Statistics and related babble

Postby dbhguru » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:43 am

Ents,

  On occasion I look at the membership lists to review the BBS ctivity. Did you know that since Mar 7, 2010, there have been 34,840 posts to the BBS offered by 474 individuals?  Nine members make up the 1000-posts club. Of the 474, the top 10 contributors account for 55% of all the posts. The top 25 contributors account for 78% of the posts. The top 35 contributors account for 85%. The top 51 contributors account for 91%. And finally, the top 100 contributors account for 97% of the posts. In terms of participation, basically, we have just slightly over 100 members, although far, far more are readers of the BBS. I present these stats and the conclusion without judgment other than to say a very small number of folks are making a pretty big splash.

 When we established ENTS in 1996, we had in mind pretty much what we have now, a forum where people interested in forests and trees along non-commercial lines could interact. Obviously, tree measuring has been a dominant preoccupation, but photography, scientific information, and even music and poetry are represented. However, we continue to have a big voice in tree measuring methodology and NTS tenacles now extend into many corners including American Forests, several state champion tree programs, and even into the U.S. Forest Service - through Dr. Don Bragg. Not a bad accomplishment.

  While some worry about over-emphasizing the measuring mission of NTS, in retrospect, I think that path continues to work best for us. And now with our connection to VA Tech Dendrology, we have the opportunity to reach the public on a new level. But we won't reach our potential without participation of all our key players. The height maximums for individual species, the hot spot sites, and species geographical trends are embedded in our data, which is scattered through thousands of posts. But where else can one turn to get a true size profile of say Betula lenta? What about Silvics of North America, websites offered by the big botanical gardens, state extension forestry services, USDA Plant Guide, you name it? None of those otherwise reputable sources are accurate on the their tree dimension information. For example, the USDA Plant Guide has this information about the size and age of Populus deltoides:

Populus deltoides Bartr. ex Marsh., eastern cottonwood, is a fast-growing tree which reaches 80 to l00 feet in height and 3 to 4 feet in diameter. It is a relatively short-lived tree, seldom surviving for more than 80 years.  

Whoever wrote that had no clue, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Consider their description of Liriodendro tulipifera.

This tree is rapid growing, attaining heights of 80- 120 feet and a trunk diameter of 2 to 5 feet. Young trees have a pyramidal form.

I have 4 tuliptrees in my backyard over 120 feet and I live at 42.35 degrees latitude north. Elijah Whitcomb has confirmed the species to over 150 feet at beyond 43 degrees latitude in NY. And where it grows optimally in the southern Appalachians, 150-foot tulips are everywhere. We don't get excited anymore until we reach 170. So, who knows this? Who has the information, the data? The answer is we do, and it has been accumulated by a very small number of us, illustrating our obsession. But beyond high-fiving each other, how do we make our data work for the greater scientific good? Think the Superlative Native Tree Database of NTS-National Cadres-VA Tech Dendrology! We're up to 2285 records, and that is a bare beginning.

I acknowledge that after we get the database built, the VA Tech source will still be only one of many sources, but what do you want to bet that it gains traction as we provide updated reports off of it to the general public.

Happy Easter Everyone

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest

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#2)  Re: Some NTS Statistics and related babble

Postby Joe » Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:19 pm

This may very well be the most active discussion forum having anything to do with trees on the planet.

There is, as of now, as far as I know, not a single discussion forum for mainstream forestry. The Society of American Foresters used to have 2-3 and now have none. Probably not much of a loss- as, when I did participate in past forestry forums, they were simply- not as interesting as the NTS site- as "the party line" is very strong in forestry- so few people ever dare say anything against that party line- ergo, no need for a discussion forum, as there are no discussion forums in North Korea. (ha, ha)

as Bob says, the NTS database will gain traction as time goes by since he has such great data

Joe
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#3)  Re: Some NTS Statistics and related babble

Postby ElijahW » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:48 pm

Bob,

I appreciate and am thankful for your optimism.  I read posts on the BBS for quite a while before joining, and didn't get into measuring seriously for a while after that.  I believe the work you, Will Blozan, Dale Luthringer, Ed Frank, and the rest of your compatriots have done is very important.  

I spent some time this afternoon walking around a small piece of land I own.  It's been left untouched for about 25 years and is reverting to forest, mostly Black walnut.  The Sugar maples here started to show color a couple of days ago, and I spotted a nice patch of Bloodroot.  Squirrels were doing their thing, and I was able to catch glimpses of several bird species, including Red-headed woodpecker, Black-capped chickadee, Red-winged blackbird, and Mourning dove.  It's been a great day.  

Happy Easter to you, as well,

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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#4)  Re: Some NTS Statistics and related babble

Postby dbhguru » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:36 am

Elijah,

  It is me and the others you mention who need to thank you. Your and Erik's contributions for NY State have changed the landscape for the Northeast. And that is the way forward. Individual time and availability necessarily changes over time since we are an all volunteer organization. So, new blood is our life blood, and we have to continually find inventive ways to get our message out - if that is indeed what we want. It is certainly what I want, but I don't have a lock on ideas for how best to accomplish our mission. The VA Tech route seems now to be our best course forward.

  That said, I have no illusions. Making the NTS-Cadre-VA Tech Dendrology Superlative Database work as intended will require a huge effort to get our measurements into that database. I will continue making as much of my time available as I can spare to assist others put their data into the required import format. So far, the takers have been Dale Luthringer, yourself, Erik Danielsen, Larry Tucei, Turner Sharp, and John Eichholz. Jared Lockwood has entered his own data directly since he's basically started anew. Others who have indicated that they will support the database include Jess Riddle, who is sitting on a huge data set(and I mean huge), and Matt Markworth, who also has a sizable number of records. All in all, this is a pretty healthy start.

 Years ago, when we started reporting our measurements in NTS, the current BBS and its forerunners, I think we were all pretty much on board. We wanted to correct the public record on maximum species dimensions and report on exemplary sites. None of us knew exactly what was entailed. We've been finding out ever since.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
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#5)  Re: Some NTS Statistics and related babble

Postby gnmcmartin » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:17 pm

Bob:

   Misinformation of all sorts about trees is everywhere--it is like a virus that can't be stamped out.  I haven't looked at the most recent edition of Knowing Your Trees, published by American Forests, but anyone reading the description in some of the former editions would definitely remove any NS they had on their land.  When I was doing my search about HWS last year, I talked to one "forester" in MD, and I happened to mention that I had NS growing on my timberland.  He responded with a tone of contempt, saying "why are you holding on to that Norway spruce??"  He went on about how terrible they are. I did not get into any argument with him because I was trying to get HWA info.

  But we all can do a little, here and there, to correct some of these false "impressions."  One mention of NS especially annoyed me because the source of it was so very, very prominent--Michael Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants," which is perhaps THE "Bible" for nurserymen. In it he trashed Norway spruce, so I decided to call him.  I did not directly challenge him, or say that his description was "ridiculous" or anything like that.  He was very nice, personable, and quite willing to talk about NS.  We also had a connection with us both of having spent a good deal of time at Michigan State U.  Anyway, after we talked about NS for a while, including those at MSU, he agreed that he was too harsh on NS, and within a year, I believe, his new edition came out, and, Voila!  A completely revised entry for Norway spruce.  He did not tout it as his favorite spruce, which are Oriental and Serbian, but his description, while not as enthusiastic as I would have made it, is certainly fair.

  Of course, one source of some of the "errors" about trees, is that in different parts of the country they may perform very differently.  But, people who don't have a fairly wide and general knowledge of a species should not "report" on them as if they are experts.

  --Gaines
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#6)  Re: Some NTS Statistics and related babble

Postby Joe » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:01 pm

Gaines, as a forester for 43 years, I have never, never been able to comprehend the craziness that comes out of the "profession". Their hatred of NS is just one example, but I could write a thousand page book filled with stupid statements from foresters.
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#7)  Re: Some NTS Statistics and related babble

Postby John Harvey » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:08 pm

My intention over the next couple months is to contribute to the database. I have a lot of information but I've just been out of the loop and aside from the random and occasional post I just haven't had a lot of time to read up on everyone else's posts. It's been like six days of work followed by one day of speeding out to the forests to cram in as much nature time as possible before nightfall. I need to dedicate some more time to sharing again and taking in all the great info on here as I have for so many years prior.
John D Harvey (JohnnyDJersey)

East Coast and West Coast Big Tree Hunter

"If you look closely at a tree you'll notice it's knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully." - Matt Fox
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#8)  Re: Some NTS Statistics and related babble

Postby dbhguru » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:36 am

John,

  Thanks. Presently, all of our records in the database are for eastern trees, and mostly northeastern ones. So, we look forward to picking up some great California trees.

  I would guess that members who have data to share, included in their many posts spread over literally years, are reluctant to begin the laborious assembly process. A little at a time is the way to go.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
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#9)  Re: Some NTS Statistics and related babble

Postby Erik Danielsen » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:52 am

It certainly is a process! I'd imagine that for many of us this is also the "busy season" at work- I know I'm swamped until the end of May, but a half hour spreasheet work here and there adds up. I recently made some contacts at Bard College up in the Hudson Valley, and there may be a new cadre trainee and hopefully BBS participant in the offing along with some freshly cadre-verified national champions... one more well-employed laser rangefinder in NY state is definitely something I'd like to see shortly!
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