Our Multi-stem Challenge

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dbhguru
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Our Multi-stem Challenge

Post by dbhguru » Mon May 25, 2015 9:54 am

Hi NTS,

We continue to struggle with how to deal with multi-stem forms for the purpose of crowning national champions. This is a hot National Cadre topic, but equally of concern to many NTS members. The often multi-stem forms of live oaks that give them the overall appearance of a gigantic shrub haunts those of us in the Cadre. Quite frankly, we've got a long way to go in sorting it out. Consider the following image.
TwoOaks-1-a.jpg
I don't think anybody would regard this as one tree. But fast forward the clock to 50 years from now and assuming these two continue growing, they will increasing press against each other. The point of trunk separation will move up until there is a bark contact between the two trunks at our above 4.5 feet. Over the course of the 50 years, did two trees become one for the purpose of championship measurement? That kind of silliness is what we're trying to prevent. However, that does not solve the problem of the tree that puts up shoot from the root collar as a fairly common open-grown form and ealing with it after the separate trunks have pressed together to form a super trunk structure that looks like a single trunk to the public. If the tree stands alone in yard or park, its "oneness" is emphasized.Don's gobsmackers need love too.

Our biggest challenge is to figure out how to measure the gobsmackers so that they do not dominate the champion tree lists, leaving the forlorn single-stem trees without hope of their day in the sun. In the case of two red oak trunks pressing together, we've got that one under control, but those monster multi-trunk live oaks? Oh my aching .....

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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mdvaden
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Re: Our Multi-stem Challenge

Post by mdvaden » Mon May 25, 2015 11:00 am

I think some may over-complicate the simplicity of dealing with what's before their face. It may be simpler to rank according to what an organism has become, not what people guess or suspect happened. Or, should there be a couple tiers. One for fairly crystal clear single trunk trees. But another class for largest "organism" of the species? Seems it could be fun if American Forests broadened into a superlatives set of classes too ... The tallest ... Greatest girth ... Broadest crown ... Etc..

Why not maintain the overall champion list. But also add in the superlatives for species for various characteristics.
Last edited by mdvaden on Mon May 25, 2015 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dbhguru
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Re: Our Multi-stem Challenge

Post by dbhguru » Mon May 25, 2015 2:55 pm

Mario,

What you suggest is, in fact, the direction we are going. When we began the AF MGWG back in June 2103, Don Bertolette and I suggested expanding the list to possibly include two champions of a species: (1) the largest single-stem, and (2) the largest multi-stem. We further talked about adding lists for the champions of each dimension. Such a proliferation of the mission was not in the cards then, but it is definitely in the future.

Our first objective was to tighten up the measuring guidelines. That has been done.

http://www.americanforests.org/wp-conte ... nes_LR.pdf

Next we breathed life into Don's National Cadre concept. The Cadre now boasts 20 full members and 15 apprentices. Our upcoming workshops in Durango, CO, and Va Tech in VA will most probably net us more apprentices. But full 50-state coverage is a long way off. So, we have to have a game plan for operating in between. The eventual plan is to have national champion candidates certified exclusively by National Cadre members, but a lot of things have to be in place first, e.g. a travel budget to reimburse Cadre members who are asked to travel maybe several hundred miles to measure a tree.

Our long term database objective is to profile as many species as we can in terms of determining their maximum dimensions achieved in different parts of their ranges and keyed to climate, soil type, terrain features, etc. This is what is driving the white pine, tulip tree, and black birch databases. But we're we're a long way from compiling enough information to serve all the intended purposes. Perseverance is the plan.

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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