NTS Book Project on Big Trees of the World

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Re: NTS Book Project on Big Trees of the World

Post by dbhguru » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:13 am


I was thinking of height or girth cutoffs just for just the reason you correctly point out. A species could make it into the list through either height or girth. We certainly don't want to squeeze out the live oaks by applying a height cutoff. So, we're completely in sync.

Actually, the 25 or 30 range was just me sending out trial balloons. I'm actually not committed to a number. If an Ent wants to champion a species an do an essay on it, I'm fine with that. There may be outside reasons to limit the number from a marketing or purely practical reason. However, I look to Ed and others to tell us when we need to think of cutoffs. The practical reason I allude to above is my perception in interest on the part of the public, but I expect I'm projecting my own preferences.

Doug, I encourage you to give the Photo-Excel diameter measurement method a test drive. The more I test it, the better it gets. For straight-trunked trees, I think that if we shot to the bottom and top of a section of trunk (distances and angles) that through proportionality, we could model the trunk at different intermediate points straight off the photo without having to have formally shot those points from our measurement location. The Excel spreadsheet would be complicated, but it would be developed in template form. To use the template, the measurer would do the following:

(1) Copy the template spreadsheet to a new spreadsheet and rename it.
(2) Import the photo to the new spreadsheet.
(3) Enter the measurements associated with the reference object and the ends of the trunk segment into the new spreadsheet.
(4) Choose locations along the trunk in the photo and put masking target lines (line shape objects), starting from bottom and moving toward the top, by convention (or vice versa). Can't skip around.
(5) Run a VBA macro to have the volume of the trunk segment automatically computed.

Note that the section of the trunk being modeled could lean toward or away from the camera, it just can't curve, since computing the distance from camera to points along the trunk would not be possible unless assumptions were made about the kind of curve. That would introduce too much complexity.

Michael Taylor is working on an even more sophisticated VBA macro, but I can code the one to implement the above process. It would take me some time, and Michel could do it much quicker, but he's got a lot on his plate. Eventually, one or the other of us will get to it. In the meantime, the Photo-Excel method can be applied where ever the measurer gets the laser-clinometer readings going up the trunk and puts masking line objects across the trunk at those points to get diameters.

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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Re: NTS Book Project on Big Trees of the World

Post by bbeduhn » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:12 pm

I'm interested in doing a few essays. I'm not so sure about the height limits being so high as many wonderful species will be left high and dry (or low and dry). Whether we go with 40m or 45 m, I'm very supportive of the project and look forward to doing some writing...and photographing...and measuring. I'm open to any southern Appalachian species. Some of my favorites won't make the cutoff.

Hickories interest me but they can be rather confounding as far as identifying them off season. And, of course, metasequoias, which should top 40m in the US this year.

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Re: NTS Book Project on Big Trees of the World

Post by KoutaR » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:45 pm


25 or 30 species or even more is reasonable for the eastern US but it is a high target for Europe given the requirements. I think that we don't have and will not have within a few years enough material for that. I suppose we are speaking about native species.

I fully agree with Ed about the formats etc.


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Re: NTS Book Project on Big Trees of the World

Post by Don » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:54 am

As everybody raced off to their favorites, I realized that I do have favorites, albeit because of different 'maxima'. With height the only criteria, one of my favorites has two maxima of note, species and age.
Pinus longaeva (Great Basin Bristlecone Pine)
Tree Circumference:455"
Crown Spread:44'
Total Points:518

But not being more than 52' high, it pales in comparison to the greater than 50 meter club. But I realize that to broaden our scope to include species maxima (tallest of each species), we risk redundancy with the AF Big Tree Registry. And age maxima is difficult to obtain in many species when you are at the maxima end (difficult to bore a 5 foot radius tree, or into hollow or rotted interiors).

So as much as I would like to throw Bristlecone, Foxtail, and other five-needle pine trees into the mix, I guess it needs to be not a book of big trees, but a book of TALL trees. But do let me know when age or girth giants merit attention, I could put together some kind words on my favorites...
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:

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