Volume for Tropical Trees

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Volume for Tropical Trees

Post by dbhguru » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:19 am


My friend Don Bertolette's recent Hawaii visit reminded me of how far we have to go in figuring out how to measure and judge big buttressed tropical trees for the champion tree competitions. DBH and CBH do not work. Period. However, it is turning out that there are ways for estimating volume. Some weeks back Don Bragg sent me a copy of the following article;

On the geometry and allometry of bigbuttressed
trees - a challenge for forest
monitoring: new insights from 3D-modeling
with terrestrial laser scanning
authored by

Nils Nölke (1), Lutz Fehrmann (1), I Nengah Surati Jaya (2),
Tatang Tiryana (2), Dominik Seidel (1), Christoph Kleinn (1)

The authors propose the following equations for computing volume below the buttressing of tropical trees.
VbEquation.png (7.75 KiB) Viewed 539 times
DAB is diameter above buttressing, Hdab is height from ground to DAB, and fb is a buttress form factor that averages to 1.53 for the trees they include in their small sample. The measurement of DAB is a natural for the reticle, and we have use of the reticle zeroed in (reference the latest edition of the Bulletin of the Eastern Native Tree Society).

The above mentioned article plus two extremely detailed papers by Drs, Steve Sillett Bob Van Pelt, and others make me wonder if the DAB approach would work for our less complicated, but still strongly buttressed eastern trees such as cherry bark oak bald cypress, and even American elm.

Our approach vis-avis the champion tree program might be to: (1) compute regular big tree points for the part of a heavily buttressed tree above the buttress, (2) compute buttress volume, and (3) add the two measures together. This would be a far easier process than trying to compute volume for the entire tree, which in a tropical setting could be virtually impossible for most tree measurers. There would be some judgment over the point where buttressing ended. We would need to develop guidance for that. Just thinking out loud.

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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