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Moving Forward with American Forests

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:22 pm
by dbhguru
Ents,

The AF MGWG had a telecon earlier today and I'm pleased to report that we're on track for the measuring guidelines, establishing rules for measuring multi-stem trees, thrashing out the national cadre concept, imposing photographic documentation requirements for nominated trees, etc. Don and I were afraid that after Sheri Shannon left, we might lose momentum, but that does not appear to be the case. There is every reason for us to believe that AF fully intends to set very high standards for the National Register. There is also good reason to believe that AF sees NTS as an important partner in making this happens. Can't get much better than that. AF is going to try to make it to Durango. So, I 'll be looking to establish a program for Aug 6th. that centers on measuring trees for championship status and that promotes AF.

Bob

Re: Moving Forward with American Forests

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:21 pm
by Don
ENTS/WNTS-
As you can see from the above message, both Bob and I feel like "we've crossed the Rubicon", and "the die is cast"...we are looking at significant changes ahead, but we see the sensible path ahead as a gradual one.

In the meantime, it would be great to hear a re-affirmation of those who could realistically see themselves able to contribute their time and energies in some manner of role in a national cadre of tree measuring gurus...many of you have the passion, and that rings out loud and clear...many of you have the sense of the woods that shows in your quick species identification, recognition of exceptional tree sizes for those species you know....many of you have embraced the sine method as the elegant, simple, and most accurate tree height measuring method, available for those that can run a tight laser rangefinder...all part of providing the most accurate tree measuring data possible.

If you think you have the skills, the energy, and some amount of time you would like to offer, please let us know.

If you have the time, the energy, and wish to develop the skills necessary for very accurate measurement, please let us know.

If you're excited about this opportunity for NTS to contribute to raising national standards for national registry tree measurements, please let us know.

Know that we need you!

Re: Moving Forward with American Forests

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:07 am
by pattyjenkins1
We are not in a position to help out with measuring trees, but we are able to train people to climb them for additional data! We were thrilled to add Matt Markworth (and his daughter Abby) to the ranks of TCI-trained climbers at the conclusion of his Basic Tree Climbing Course yesterday afternoon. YAY Matt!!

I am certainly available to help out with anything for which my skills can make a contribution.

patty

Re: Moving Forward with American Forests

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:00 pm
by dbhguru
Patty,

Thanks. Your skills are considerable and definitely needed. An area that begs attention is a simple species dimensional summary. Matt Markworth's impressive effort to track species maximums for us would provide the base source of information. Jess Riddle has long made contributions in this area in the past, as have I. Collectively, we have the data, or are accumulating it, but we need a simple summary format posted in an easy to access location, and we need to keep it updated. To be of value, it needs to be seen as authoritative. Here in lies the challenge. A cooperative effort between AF, NTS, and TCI may be a way to proceed. We would first establish the individual roles. Don and I would approach AF on the idea. To their considerable credit, they are coming to understand what is at stake in the accuracy wars. But we would still need to make a convincing case for their involvement in species maximum height lists, which would represent a new product line for them. This would create another AF-NTS connection, but it can be expanded. Your administrative expertise and the potentially important role of TCI in settling height measurement disputes could elevate the mission (Hey dummy, we know exactly how tall the tree is, we climbed it!)

My recent foray into height maximums for quaking aspen has obviously elevated the source of data issue in my mind. I'm coming to recognize the magnitude of the problem as being larger than I had realized. We've long been aware in NTS of the broad numerical spreads out there for species maximums that come from otherwise credible sources. But because of the Internet, the problem has gone viral. We now have professional organizations and academic institutions designing highly attractive websites that belie the accuracy of some of the underlying information. In their attempts to be public friendly, I suppose, they are spreading useless and misleading information about species dimensional maximums. Some may argue that it doesn't matter even if the result is a trivialization of information. But it had better matter to us, if we believe the information is important. After all, what is a poor member of the public supposed to believe?

There are explanations for the plethora of junk data to which I refer, but so far, no solutions. Enter a cooperative effort between AF, NTS, and TCI.

Bob

Re: Moving Forward with American Forests

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:10 pm
by Erik Danielsen
I'll go ahead and say that I've got the time and energy for skill development and I sure am excited. I look forward to being as involved as my growth in skills and knowledge (and financial capacity to get around, I suppose) permit, and will keep my eyes and ears peeled for opportunities to be of use and expand my capacities. Thanks for sharing the encouraging news.

Re: Moving Forward with American Forests

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:52 pm
by Don
Eric-
Good on ya!
Do I recall after having got a lemon of a Nikon, of you having switched to a Bushnell...newer model with an accelerometer based clinometer? I'm not familiar with that model...can you educate us?
-Don

Re: Moving Forward with American Forests

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:57 pm
by Erik Danielsen
I did indeed. I am still educating myself about it (planning to do a range calibration tomorrow) but it's a model rather dramatically named "The Truth." Seriously. http://www.bushnell.com/all-products/la ... /the-truth

I'll admit I've been compulsively measuring things since it arrived even though I haven't calibrated or tested it yet. The angle display being displayed in the viewfinder makes the process very quick compared to using separate instruments. As it only displays whole yards/meters and whole degrees we'll see how accurately it can be made to function. I may end up nicknaming it "The Truth +-1m " or something like that. When I have more to tell I'll post a topic with the results. Turns out the beam does penetrate narrow canopy gaps pretty well, so that's nice. But if all else fails I'll just hang on to it until I can replace it with a 440&clinometer or something like that.

Re: Moving Forward with American Forests

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:12 pm
by Don
Eric-
There's lots of help available on how to make the most out of what you've got! Matt Markham posted a photograph of a clinometer attached to his laser that I particularly liked...Bob Leverett talks about stepping forward or backward until 'clickover' to get the most accurate reading from laser rangefinders...this in combination with a hundred or two hundred foot long tape laid out between you and your target can be used check accuracy and to really learn your laser.
As you're learning, there's more to accuracy than just having the equipment. Developing an eye for which twig is in fact the tallest, sometimes through uncooperative trees nearby, can be frustrating!
As they said in Kentucky when I worked there, "keep atter it, yer doin' good"!
-Don

Re: Moving Forward with American Forests

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:16 pm
by Larry Tucei
Bob and Don- Thanks to your hard work along with many others NTS has become a real player with AF. I look forward to contributing from my region and helping with any projects in the future. Great job guys, it’s really an honor to be involved in such a monumental event! Larry

Re: Moving Forward with American Forests

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:08 pm
by Don
Larry-
Thanks, we know we can count on you! We're getting the ball rolling, anticipating that it will be rolling slow to start with, and gradually gain momentum...we'll keep you, and others that rise to the occasion, in touch.
-Don