Stateline Woods Preserve, off of Old Kennett Pike

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BeeEnvironment2020
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Stateline Woods Preserve, off of Old Kennett Pike

Post by BeeEnvironment2020 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:19 pm

Hello everyone,
I have been wanting to post about this preserve located out of Kennett Square, which has a rare 10-13 acre section of old-growth/very early secondary growth. Anyhow, It has plenty of very tall and large trees, especially unblighted beech (for now), and oak, in the old-growth section in a stream valley with many large boulders lying around.
The preserve, owned by the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County (Tlc for Scc), is around 80 acres in size, and boasts of a large white oak at the parking lot that appears to be in good health.
I have registered many of the old-growth trees on monumental trees: https://www.monumentaltrees.com/en/usa/pennsylvania/chestercounty/25912_statelinewoodspreserve/
However, I will put my findings here as well.
Here is a photo of the 6' DBH White oak at the entrance of the preserve, with a human for comparison:
The approximately 6' DBH White Oak at the entrance of the park. Maybe 250-300 years of age, and a height of about 20 meters.
The approximately 6' DBH White Oak at the entrance of the park. Maybe 250-300 years of age, and a height of about 20 meters.
I would place the age at around 250-300 years, as it appears it used to grow in a forest, and then at some point the forest was cleared, and this oak was allowed to grow in the open.
Now, traveling into the stream valley along a trail, we are greeted by old-growth, with Beech making a stunning appearance (note the very tall tulips in the background, and the large burl on an oak):
Here is a view of the old-growth section of the woods. Beech, Oak, and Tulip are the most dominant trees, with Beech appearing to be unblighted for now.
Here is a view of the old-growth section of the woods. Beech, Oak, and Tulip are the most dominant trees, with Beech appearing to be unblighted for now.
I would estimate the height for most of the old tulips to be around 155'-165', and Oak at 130'-135', and beech at 135'-145' possibly
As we travel further along a steep hill-side with the old-growth, we pass a large Tulip tree, with a CBH of 3.4 meters, and a height of approx. 135'. What I found fascinating about this tree, is that it has evidence of the bark balding up to 7 feet high, which signaled to me that it was a very old tulip, and this part of the forest was indeed old-growth:
A fascinating 3.4 meter CBH, about 135 foot tulip tree that showed signs of balding up to 7 feet high. However, on the other side of the trunk, a part of it is slowly rotting away.
A fascinating 3.4 meter CBH, about 135 foot tulip tree that showed signs of balding up to 7 feet high. However, on the other side of the trunk, a part of it is slowly rotting away.
And here is a view of the same tulip looking upward from the ground:
Here is a view upward of the 3.4 meter CBH balding tulip tree. I estimate the height to be about 35 -40 meters, or 130-140 feet.
Here is a view upward of the 3.4 meter CBH balding tulip tree. I estimate the height to be about 35 -40 meters, or 130-140 feet.
Now, as I looped around the old-growth forest, a trail passes close to a old-growth American beech. This beech currently is the tallest tree I have "accurately" measured in this forest at 42 meters, or about 140 feet:
A old-growth 2.82 meter CBH, approximately 140 foot American Beech, with almost no taper for the first 50 or 60 feet!
A old-growth 2.82 meter CBH, approximately 140 foot American Beech, with almost no taper for the first 50 or 60 feet!
Finally, here is a last image I made of the old-growth sections of the preserve:
OldGrowthStatelineWoods.jpg
Well, that's it for now. I have described more tree on Monumentaltrees.com, though I am hoping I will be able to add more trees onto this discussion later on.
(Let it be known that I don't have a 3 point measurement device, so I use a clinometer. However, I use extra caution, and take measurements from different angles and distances from where I believe is the tallest point(s) in the canopy (and on flat ground as much as possible), to get a relatively accurate result. It can take well over and hour with this method just to measure one tree. However, it would be great if we could go and check out the heights with a 3-point device. I wish I was able to get my hands on one, but I cant afford them.) :D
BeeEnvironment
Last edited by BeeEnvironment2020 on Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Stateline Woods Preserve, off of Old Kennett Pike

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sat Jan 09, 2021 1:50 pm

Hi BeeEnvironment,

This looks like a great forest site. The Oak-Tulip-Beech forests of that part of the Atlantic coast region can really put it up there. A question about your MonumentalTrees posts, though- they list that you measured the tall beeches with a laser in two-point mode? That's the measurement method we consider acceptably accurate when looking through MonumentalTrees records, so if those are really clinometer measurements it would be good if you can correct those.

Devices with a "three-point" mode aren't really the golden ticket for accurate measuring- just as long as you're using a laser rangefinder and a clinometer together (many devices combine them) and calculating with sine-based geometry (either manually or some devices offer this as a 2-point mode), that's what really matters. The three-point modes some devices offer have the same error sources as plain clinometer measurements. In the end, the foundation for being able to make good estimates is to have first made many accurate measurements with the proper equipment. Having a laser rangefinder is like gaining a new sense to add onto sight, touch, taste, etc- it lets you start perceiving a whole dimension of the landscape that you can otherwise only wonder about.

You seem to have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for documenting the forests in your area and appear to be doing what you can with what you do have, which is great to see. It's unfortunate that sometimes equipment costs are sometimes a barrier to this kind of inquiry. The laser rangefinder I started out with doesn't get any use these days since I now have two other units to work with, but it served me well for hundreds of tree measurements and it's still working perfectly. It doesn't calculate heights automatically but does read out the distance and angle measurements you need to do the calculations. I would be happy to mail it to you so it can get back to work and help you measure trees. You mentioned being in highschool so if you're a minor please do check with your parents before having a stranger on the internet mail you things, but if that sounds good to you, get in touch through the private messaging system or email at er1kksen @ gmail.com and I'll send it along.

Erik

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BeeEnvironment2020
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Re: Stateline Woods Preserve, off of Old Kennett Pike

Post by BeeEnvironment2020 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:37 pm

Hi Erik!
Thanks for telling me about the measurements, and for your offer! I should have put the measurements down as clinometer on monumental trees. I somehow missed where it said "clinometer" when I did it.
Thanks also for telling me that 3 point measurement are not really the "golden ticket", I never fully understood the difference. Now it does make sense that using a laser rangefinder is indeed like gaining a new sense/perspective.
:D Haha, yes, I do admit I have quite some enthusiasm when it comes to documenting forests and trees.
Thanks very much again for your generous offer! It seems to good to be true to me! Being a minor, I asked my parents, and they are perfectly fine about it, so I will be sure to contact your gmail account shortly within the next day.
Thanks again!
BeeEnvironment

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Stateline Woods Preserve, off of Old Kennett Pike

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:11 pm

No problem. I'll include a letter with some pointers on getting started and resources for further reading and practice.

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BeeEnvironment2020
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Re: Stateline Woods Preserve, off of Old Kennett Pike

Post by BeeEnvironment2020 » Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:08 am

Thanks! That will be sure to help me out with using it. I sent you an email from edumailha@gmail.com just now about it, and I should have included the shipping info.
BeeEnvironment

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dbhguru
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Re: Stateline Woods Preserve, off of Old Kennett Pike

Post by dbhguru » Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:00 pm

BeeEnvironment,

Erik's advice on us oof the 2 versus 3-point height measurement routines with a hypsometer is critical. You can visit the American Forests website at www.americanforests.org can find your way to the Tree-measuring Guidelines Handbook. It will cover the sine and tangent methods and illustrate where the errors are introduced through traditional clinometer measurements. You're now in THE organization that has led the way to more accurate tree-measuring. We're happy to have you as a new member.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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BeeEnvironment2020
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Re: Stateline Woods Preserve, off of Old Kennett Pike

Post by BeeEnvironment2020 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:18 pm

Thanks, Bob
I will be sure to read the American Forests measuring handbook, I bet it will be fascinating!
Yes, I am also proud to finally be in this association, thankyou very much :D
I am very much looking forward to documenting all my finds on this website!
BeeEnvironment

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BeeEnvironment2020
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Re: Stateline Woods Preserve, off of Old Kennett Pike

Post by BeeEnvironment2020 » Thu Mar 04, 2021 7:11 pm

Hi Everyone,
I have been meaning to do an update on the trees I reported on at Stateline Woods preserve. Thanks very much to Erik Danielsen (who kindly gave me his laser-rangefinder), I was able to measure some of the heights accurately of trees at this preserve.
On the day I measured the trees, the wind was blowing quite some, so I was unable to hit the tip-tops of the trees with the laser. So I am confident I did not hit the tops. The heights are probably up to 10-20 feet taller, but I will have to check back when I find the time.

Anyway, I don't want to bore anyone, so the results are as follows:

The Oak Tree (Quercus Alba) by the entrance of the Preserve: CBH 17', height of 24.79 meters / 81' 4"

The Tulip tree (Liriodendron Tulipifera) mentioned in the first post: CBH 11' 2", height of at least 41.58 meters / 136' 5". Likely is 20 feet taller than this.

The Beech (Fagus Grandifolia) with no taper for 60 or so feet: CBH 9' 3", height of at least 34.05 meters / 111' 9". Probably ~15 feet taller.

I measured a few other trees I did not report here previously. They are as follows:

Fagus Grandifolia - CBH 10' 6", Height of at least 34.18 meters / 112' 2". This tree has a MASSIVE crown for a forest-grown Beech, probably around 80-100 feet. Probably 130 feet or taller, but the branches were hard to shoot the laser through, so it is hard to tell how taller this can be.

Quercus Rubra - CBH 9' 2", height of at least 29.16 meters / 95' 8". Not a large sized tree. Has interesting crown shape.

All of these trees are documented at https://www.monumentaltrees.com/en/usa/pennsylvania/chestercounty/25912_statelinewoodspreserve/

Anyhow, it is interesting to see these results! I am fascinated that the CBH 10' 6" Beech was taller than the CBH 9' 3" Beech. Very fascinating for a newbie like me! :lol:
Best regards,
BeeE.

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JHarkness
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Re: Stateline Woods Preserve, off of Old Kennett Pike

Post by JHarkness » Thu Mar 04, 2021 8:49 pm

These are some very impressive trees, especially the beeches!

This site doesn't look like old growth to me, but certainly older second growth possibly on rich soils. I don't know much about the historic land use in your area, so I am probably generalizing, but around here (east-central New York/west-central New England) a lot of our forests were used for charcoal production (especially steep or rocky slopes, but never turned to agricultural land; the result is often large, old trees, complex microtopography, abundant deadwood, rich herbaceous layer, canopy gaps, etc. Some of these sites really have an old growth look, and I would argue that some are functional old growth (I've come to quite dislike the idea of only calling "virgin" lands "old growth"). It looks to me like this site is highly productive second growth (maybe an old woodlot?), but that doesn't necessarily mean that it ever was open agricultural land.

Regarding the white oak, I think you may be right that it was once forest grown. It has clearly been open grown for most of its life, but seeing how columnar the trunk is and how high the first branching is (somewhat unusual for the white oaks I see around here) makes me think that it had once had a proportionally small crown earlier in its life. It could also be that it was planted with several other trees about the same time, which later died for one reason or another allowing it to expand its crown.

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BeeEnvironment2020
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Re: Stateline Woods Preserve, off of Old Kennett Pike

Post by BeeEnvironment2020 » Fri Mar 05, 2021 9:45 am

Hi JHarkness,
Yes, the Beech are stunning!

You do make good points as well.
I do know that further up north, at French Creek State Park (which is the largest remaining forest in SE PA), there are probably hundreds of charcoal hearths, which supplied the nearby Hopewell Furnaces in the past (1700s), but the forest now features high biodiversity, along with two class A streams (the best of the best streams for fishing and water quality) in the park.

However, I don't believe this whole area around Stateline Woods Preserve ever focused on charcoal production. There was no need from the farmers to make charcoal, really. I have never seen old remnants of charcoal hearths in this preserve. If I do get a chance to explore some other areas in these woods, I'll let everyone know if I find one.

A bit south, where the creek in the above photos flow, there was a paper mill located in Yorklyn Delaware. However, this land was not owned by the mill at any point. I know a large forested area to the west of this preserve, over a few hills, called the Marshall Mill House Preserve, which was once owned by a mill worker, and most of the forest was logged up until about 90 years ago. That forest was near the Red Clay Creek, where there were many mills. The Marshall Mill House Preserve has mainly second growth, and is now dominated by large oaks, and many tulips, and some large beech. Aerial photographs from the 1930s onward show that probably all of the forested area (70-90 acres) was cut at one time or another, and it appeared to have been managed as a woodlot. You can even see from these aerial photos trees they selectively left after cutting. However, up on the very extreme high upper slopes there might be some old secondary growth, but I have not checked that yet.

I also wondered for a time if the 10 acre section of Stateline was an old woodlot, but I have never found old cut stumps in this area of the woods (maybe they decomposed and rotted in the past 100 or more years, at least, this has been a forest???). Also, the believed-to-be old-growth wooded area sits in a bowl shaped stream valley, with the slopes surrounding the area being pretty steep. There is no close road that ever ran nearby. Even if someone somehow used the stream to transport logs out of this small bowl-shaped valley, I would think it would have been pretty difficult to transport logs from the whole, or even most, of the forest area, just because of the slopes. Probably the very outer edges of this small valley was logged before the 1930s, as well as a large forest section to the south, out of the valley.
Note as well that the believed-to-be old-growth or old secondary growth follows the contour and slopes of the bowl shaped valley.

I wish I could use an increment borer on one of the trees at Stateline, so we could find out and know for sure if it is old-growth or not, but unfortunately, I don't know anyone in this area that has one that I could use :( It would be fascinating to know how old the balding tulip poplar I found is.

The white oak by the entrance is interesting for its shape, as you put it. I doubt it was planted, as I could not see any evidence from aerial photographs from the 30s that show that is was once close to other companions. Looks as if it stood out by itself for quite some time. I think what could have happened is that this tree was already ~40 feet tall and growing upright in the original forest, and after the forest was cleared around it for farming, this tree was allowed to spread its branches more horizontally than upright, allowing for its present shape.

All of this information is helpful and fascinating to me. Thanks very much for your explanations.
Anyhow, I don't want to bore anyone with my lots of explaining, so I think I will leave it at there,
Best Regards,
BeeE.

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