Re-invigorating our primary mission

General discussions of measurement techniques and the results of testing of techniques and equipment.

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dbhguru
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Re-invigorating our primary mission

Post by dbhguru » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:51 am

Hello Ents:

Monica and I are presently in Crestone, CO, enjoying what we have come to call our other home. While I was re-measuring the Colorado co-champion pinyon pine a few days ago, and puzzling over the many shapes that the species exhibits, I couldn't help reflect on NTS's long path back to 1996 when we formerly established ENTS on a server at the University of Arkansas. Later, we moved to Topica, then Google Groups, and finally to here. Throughout, our membership has remained modest, if not small, but our accomplishments have been significant. By my reckoning, we have been the premier tree-measuring organization in terms of the primary dimensions used in the big tree contests, and early on, we developed a voice in volume modeling, courtesy of Will Blozan's early climbs for the Great Smoky Mountains NP and a handful of tall trees in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and other parts of the southern Appalachians.

Where are we today? Well, I'm unsure. Key members have been called to other mission, and largely moved on. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it has left some mighty big shoes unfilled. In the end, we remain an Internet interest group with our accomplishments scattered over literally thousands of posts. Great stuff in those communications, but less effective than they could be. For example, we have lots to say on Rucker Indices, the promotion of better tree-measuring methodology, and the profiling of individual species in terms of growth patterns over wide geographical ranges. Nobody, but us, does the latter, or arguably can, for reasons not needed to be discussed here.

Going forward, one NTS mission that I think could be strengthened is that of our role in supporting the champion tree programs. American Forests is the logical organization to spearhead changes, but AF has not been able to develop the necessary funding sources to make tree-measuring the serious endeavor that was the goal in 2013, when AF undertook precisely that mission. Putting AF tree-measuring in sounder ground, using NTS methods, has been a shared mission with my long time friend Don Bertolette since 2013. And we've given it our all, producing the AF Tree-measuring Guidelines Handbook, But that document remains just a guide, and it is buried pretty deep within the AF website. States can still use sloppy methods in measuring tree heights, and get away with it. Still, I'm thankful that AF has kept the handbook on their website.

Speaking to AF's challenges that we can assist them on, the biggest one is to develop better rules for handling trees of varying shapes - yes, the multi-stems. And we're perfectly positioned to render assistance. We are not hampered with the need to communicate with the general public. In exploring the options, we don't have to dumb down everything to a seventh grade level. That said, how should we proceed? We'll I guess Don and I have already begun. We had a protracted discussion a couple of days ago - iPhone to iPhone. Don was ensconced in an easy chair with cool beverage in hand, sipping gingerly, while I, with iPhone in hand, wondered around in a field of prickly pear in the San Luis Valley on about 92 degrees. Lots of whews and ouches. But, we agreed that NTS was the logical organization to develop/propose rules for measuring girths of varying forms for championship contests. Don launched right into the job by researching what controls forms assumed by pinyon pines.

Can we now collectively take on this assignment under the NTS banner? Can we develop better rules for forms like Larry's live oaks, my pinyons, banyans, etc., etc., etc. The floor is open for discussion. Please remember, we are trying to serve as an American Forests think tank. We can go as deep as we wish. They will be under no compulsion to adopt what we might propose, but at least, a better mouse trap will have been designed.

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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Larry Tucei
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Re: Re-invigorating our primary mission

Post by Larry Tucei » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:24 pm

Bob- You and Don are always at the forefront of these Projects. The Coppice, Multi-Trunked tree has always been a puzzle to measure. When you see a Pith to the ground it is usually a multi- trunk, or trunks. However Live Oaks and other trees sometimes form piths that do not reach the ground this is a Single Trunk specimen with two or more large Stems. I like the method you guys came up with where if double, triple stems exist you measure where they reach 4.5' if not you go under over to the nearest point and note it. What I was wondering do you add them all together and get an average? What was the process you have come up with. I just want to be clear on what we come up with. Larry

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Don
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Re: Re-invigorating our primary mission

Post by Don » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:58 pm

Larry-
You've one of the larger challenges ahead of you with the live oaks that abound in your 'neighborhood'. While I'll not lay out the mathematical solution, I would like to suggest that one aspect of that solution involves calculations that are not far off of those needed to determine volume. And that is where I see the problem of comparing sizes of live oaks (and other 'gobsmackers' !) getting solved...measuring the multiple stems' central axis/pith lines up 4.5' from ground level/root collar, and taking the circumference of each stem perpendicular to the central axis/pith line. The rest gets resolved in one of Bob's spreadsheets that determines functional circumerence.
I know you have a rather formidable register of live oaks, and it occurs to me that each future visit to new or past live oaks measured, that you begin capturing their circumferences and stem numbers.
Bob may have additional thoughts, additions, corrections...; ~]
-Don
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:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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dbhguru
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Re: Re-invigorating our primary mission

Post by dbhguru » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:47 am

Larry,

Ditto to what Don said. In addition, the simplest way to implement functional circumference that he and I advocate is as follows based on three scenarios:

1. All stems are separate from the others at 4.5 feet up the pith lines
2. Two or more stems are pressed together at 4.5 feet up their pith lines, preventing a simple tape wrap of each stem
3. Either of the above scenarios, but with an obstruction added at 4.5 feet on one or more stems, preventing a simple tape wrap or caliper measurement

For scenario #1

a. Measure each circumference the normal way following your best guess as to the pith lines.
b. Square each circumference
c. Add the squared circumferences
d. Take the square root of the sum

The last step gives you the functional circumference. If your measurements were in inches, the answer you got in step d. is the point total you are seeking. If you measured in feet, multiply the result of step d. by 12.

I'd ordinarily have diagrams and equations, but I'm using a computer at our B&B that has minimal capabilities.

I'll deal with the other scenarios later, but is the above process clear? I'd love to see the results of this process applied to a couple of the live oaks that lend themselves to it. The comparison figure would be the smallest tape wrap circumference you can get between 4.5 feet vertically above the base and the base.

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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Larry Tucei
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Re: Re-invigorating our primary mission

Post by Larry Tucei » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:24 pm

Bob and Don- Thanks for the response I'll give it a go and post some results. Larry

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edfrank
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Re: Re-invigorating our primary mission

Post by edfrank » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:59 pm

Hmmm. I posted a long and thoughtful reply but it did not appear and is gone. I will try to recreate it tomorrow.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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