Fastest growing tree on the planet?

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M.W.Taylor
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Re: Fastest growing tree on the planet?

Post by M.W.Taylor » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:21 pm

Brett Mifsud wrote:Just one final thing - a big thank you to Michael Taylor for his generosity, guidance and encouragement over the last 20 years to all things related to big and tall trees - it is greatly appreciated!
Brett

Brett, It has been an honor and a privilege being your friend for the last 20 years.

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Re: Fastest growing tree on the planet?

Post by dbhguru » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:23 am

Michael and Brett,

We all are indebted to you two for bringing these superlative species to the forefront. Without the work that you, and a few others, do, we'd still be dealing with outdated figures from past National Geographic sources. What stands out to me now are the incredible growth rates that we are seeing in regenerating stands. Anyone wish to make projections on maximums?

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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Re: Fastest growing tree on the planet?

Post by M.W.Taylor » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:22 pm

Bob and Brett, There is at least one 2nd growth douglas fir of similar age class that is over 90m. Douglas fir are capable of sustained growth rates approaching e. regnans.

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Re: Fastest growing tree on the planet?

Post by mdvaden » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:46 pm

M.W.Taylor wrote:Bob and Brett, There is at least one 2nd growth douglas fir of similar age class that is over 90m. Douglas fir are capable of sustained growth rates approaching e. regnans.

Thanks for noting that Michael. I was trying to search in that regard the other day, recalling something along those lines, but came up dry on recollection, etc..
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Re: Fastest growing tree on the planet?

Post by M.W.Taylor » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:29 am

Mario,

The top three fastest sustained vertical growing trees.

E. regnans 92.1m 92 years old (1926 re-growth) Victoria Province
Pseudotsuga menziesii 90.2m 112-118 years old (1900-1906 re-growth) Santa Cruz Mountains
Sequoia Sempervirens 87.0m 112-118 years old (1900-1906 re-growth) Santa Cruz Mountains

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Re: Fastest growing tree on the planet?

Post by dbhguru » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:21 am

Michael,

Have you done or seen growth curves, even if projections based on measuring different trees, of Douglas fir and redwood showing their gain in trunk volume over time and the equivalent carbon sequestration?

I've spent a lot of time recently profiling white pines in terms of trunk volume growth and am fairly settled on what a fast growing pine in a stand can achieve in 50, 100, and 150 years. At the upper end of growth curve for the great whites, 120 ft^3 of trunk volume is not out of the question at 50 years. However, the vast majority of pines will be under 100 cubes. I commonly place stand-based maximums at 100 ft^3 for a dominant pine. At 100 years, the high achieving pine can reach 300 ft^3, and at 150, it will probably exceed 500 cubes.Individual trees such as those honkers in the Adirondacks and pines in few spots in New England will beat these numbers and reach 650 cubes by 150 years, if not more. Then we have those very few pines that exceed 1,000 cubes between 150 and 200 years. It isn't clear to me what they would have held at 50 years, but not more than 135 or 140 cubes. Just ain't gonna happen.

What about earlier? At 25 years, a fast growing white pine in a stand may reach 20 ft^3, and 25 at the most. So, the pattern that seems to be revealing itself is that pines experience a huge percentage growth in its first 50 years - no surprise there. And as to be expected, that percentage trails of after 50 years, but the absolute volume growth increases and stays high for another hundred years. My guess is that after 150 years, we'll commonly see absolute volume growth back down to the first 50-year level out to between 200 and maybe 250 years. After that, I expect absolute increases will continue, but down to maybe half the rate of the first 50 years - just speculating.

I'm curious as to your thoughts about the West Coast species. I expect that silvicultural data is good out to maybe 75 years for the important timber species, but I doubt that forest managers project much beyond. Could be wrong. Don, you may have thoughts on this. And in the Southeast, forget it. Their planning horizon for plantation species like Loblolly Pine is 25 to 30 years.

The forest management paradigm here in New England is changing to embrace ever shorter stand rotations, which I believe works against the natural role of forests to be significant carbon sinks. I'm making a virtual career out of the white pine, and don't mind crawling out on that proverbial limb for that species, but wonder what experience (or at least speculations) the rest of you have with other species. I'd think our good friend Gaines has some valuable insights.

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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Re: Fastest growing tree on the planet?

Post by dbhguru » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:21 am

Michael,

Have you done or seen growth curves, even if projections based on measuring different trees, of Douglas fir and redwood showing their gain in trunk volume over time and the equivalent carbon sequestration?

I've spent a lot of time recently profiling white pines in terms of trunk volume growth and am fairly settled on what a fast growing pine in a stand can achieve in 50, 100, and 150 years. At the upper end of growth curve for the great whites, 120 ft^3 of trunk volume is not out of the question at 50 years. However, the vast majority of pines will be under 100 cubes. I commonly place stand-based maximums at 100 ft^3 for a dominant pine. At 100 years, the high achieving pine can reach 300 ft^3, and at 150, it will probably exceed 500 cubes.Individual trees such as those honkers in the Adirondacks and pines in few spots in New England will beat these numbers and reach 650 cubes by 150 years, if not more. Then we have those very few pines that exceed 1,000 cubes between 150 and 200 years. It isn't clear to me what they would have held at 50 years, but not more than 135 or 140 cubes. Just ain't gonna happen.

What about earlier? At 25 years, a fast growing white pine in a stand may reach 20 ft^3, and 25 at the most. So, the pattern that seems to be revealing itself is that pines experience a huge percentage growth in its first 50 years - no surprise there. And as to be expected, that percentage trails of after 50 years, but the absolute volume growth increases and stays high for another hundred years. My guess is that after 150 years, we'll commonly see absolute volume growth back down to the first 50-year level out to between 200 and maybe 250 years. After that, I expect absolute increases will continue, but down to maybe half the rate of the first 50 years - just speculating.

I'm curious as to your thoughts about the West Coast species. I expect that silvicultural data is good out to maybe 75 years for the important timber species, but I doubt that forest managers project much beyond. Could be wrong. Don, you may have thoughts on this. And in the Southeast, forget it. Their planning horizon for plantation species like Loblolly Pine is 25 to 30 years.

The forest management paradigm here in New England is changing to embrace ever shorter stand rotations, which I believe works against the natural role of forests to be significant carbon sinks. I'm making a virtual career out of the white pine, and don't mind crawling out on that proverbial limb for that species, but wonder what experience (or at least speculations) the rest of you have with other species. I'd think our good friend Gaines has some valuable insights.

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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Re: Fastest growing tree on the planet?

Post by M.W.Taylor » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:59 am

Bob, I have not seen those growth curves.

I think the claim "fastest growing tree" is open ended. I've seen Jeffrey Pines do 8' a year in good sites. Then the growth rate dramatically declines as they get bigger.

What about fastest to reach a certain point ? Fastest to 100', 200', 300', 400' etc. For fastest to 200', 300' and 400', I believe e. regnans easily beats them all.

I remember the nursery at Scotia near Fortuna clear-cut all their redwoods on the southern 1/2 part of their plantation in 1984. They replanted a stand of redwoods and Eucalyptus globulus side by side. After 15 years, the E. globulus were twice as tall as the redwoods. After 34 years they still tower over the redwoods. These eucalyptus globulus trees look to be well over 100 feet tall now. Their tops are floppy and sagging. Over time the redwoods will surely surpass them as they have better supporting bases for the vertical leaders in their crowns.

From a carbon sequestration standpoint, obviously volume is what matters. And also how decay resistant the wood. Old Growth Coast redwood being one of the best because those big trees add huge amounts of wood per unit time compared to other species. And when fallen, their logs stay intact or hundreds of years, thus locking up a huge amount of carbon.

dbhguru wrote:Michael,

Have you done or seen growth curves, even if projections based on measuring different trees, of Douglas fir and redwood showing their gain in trunk volume over time and the equivalent carbon sequestration?

I've spent a lot of time recently profiling white pines in terms of trunk volume growth and am fairly settled on what a fast growing pine in a stand can achieve in 50, 100, and 150 years. At the upper end of growth curve for the great whites, 120 ft^3 of trunk volume is not out of the question at 50 years. However, the vast majority of pines will be under 100 cubes. I commonly place stand-based maximums at 100 ft^3 for a dominant pine. At 100 years, the high achieving pine can reach 300 ft^3, and at 150, it will probably exceed 500 cubes.Individual trees such as those honkers in the Adirondacks and pines in few spots in New England will beat these numbers and reach 650 cubes by 150 years, if not more. Then we have those very few pines that exceed 1,000 cubes between 150 and 200 years. It isn't clear to me what they would have held at 50 years, but not more than 135 or 140 cubes. Just ain't gonna happen.

What about earlier? At 25 years, a fast growing white pine in a stand may reach 20 ft^3, and 25 at the most. So, the pattern that seems to be revealing itself is that pines experience a huge percentage growth in its first 50 years - no surprise there. And as to be expected, that percentage trails of after 50 years, but the absolute volume growth increases and stays high for another hundred years. My guess is that after 150 years, we'll commonly see absolute volume growth back down to the first 50-year level out to between 200 and maybe 250 years. After that, I expect absolute increases will continue, but down to maybe half the rate of the first 50 years - just speculating.

I'm curious as to your thoughts about the West Coast species. I expect that silvicultural data is good out to maybe 75 years for the important timber species, but I doubt that forest managers project much beyond. Could be wrong. Don, you may have thoughts on this. And in the Southeast, forget it. Their planning horizon for plantation species like Loblolly Pine is 25 to 30 years.

The forest management paradigm here in New England is changing to embrace ever shorter stand rotations, which I believe works against the natural role of forests to be significant carbon sinks. I'm making a virtual career out of the white pine, and don't mind crawling out on that proverbial limb for that species, but wonder what experience (or at least speculations) the rest of you have with other species. I'd think our good friend Gaines has some valuable insights.

Bob

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Re: Fastest growing tree on the planet?

Post by gnmcmartin » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:02 pm

Bob:

No real insights or specific knowledge. But, I do know that while the sites for east coast species are virtually always rated at a base age of 50 years, thus a very good white pine site will be rated as 100, meaning the best dominant trees in an acre will be 100 feet tall at 50 years. Because west coast species grow much larger, and sustain their growth over longer periods, they are sometimes rated at a base age of 50 years, but also commonly at 100 years.

Next, growth curves have been calculated and plotted for many, if not most west coast conifers, usually with reference to a specific site in a specific location. I have seen a few of these, but have not studied them carefully, and can't make any large generalizations. But, my guess is that species such as redwood will show the best sustained height growth. Douglas fir should be outstanding also. These growth curves far "outstrip" those of our eastern conifers. A web search can turn up a lot of these.

Now to the "nitty gritty" of foresters decisions on when to harvest. There are all kinds of harvesting methods/schedules, but much of the short rotations we hate to see in our eastern forests are based on a careful calculation of growth and yield. If, the goal is the maximum production of wood, as measured in cubic feet, then a determination is made of what is called "mean annual increment." Annual increment is the growth per year at any given age, mean annual increment (MAI) is the total growth at any given age divided by the age of the stand. When the MAI reaches the point of "culmination" (CMAI), the average annual increase in volume of a stand begins to decline. On this basis, if the objective is attaining the maximum yield from a site, say as measured in cubic feet volume, the stand should be harvested, and a "new" one initiated. I think we in NTS should understand the basis on which these relatively short rotations are used--it is very strict, harsh economics.

Different species of trees on different sites have the CMAI occur at different ages. I believe that this CMAI occurs at later ages for west coast conifers. Of the eastern conifers frequently grown in plantations, such as red pine, white pine, and Norway spruce, CMAI for white pine--I am not sure I remember, but I think it occurs by age 50 or a bit sooner--for Norway spruce, it is sometime after age 60. This is according to studies done at SUNY Syracuse on sites in central NY.

But, if the goal is high quality lumber, knot free, etc., then a completely different management regimen and harvesting schedule is needed. Forest managers decide how to manage a stand, and for what products, based on the markets for those products, the prices they bring, and the cost of management and harvesting. It is all "hard-nosed" economics. We can complain all we want to, but to no avail.

In some very special circumstances, hard-nosed economics is not the determining factor, and one branch of forestry, relatively new, is forest aesthetics.

Now we must understand that growth and yield of individual trees, rather than the total of growth for a full acre of trees, is a totally different thing. An individual tree, as it grows larger and larger, can continue to produce a lot of wood, and if a CMAI was calculated for individual trees, I would guess it would come at a much later time than the total for a stand of trees. As a stand grows older, the number of trees an acre can support declines.

Ultimately what happens with an old growth stand is that not only is the stand CMAI long past, but eventually the annual production of wood of the very old trees will decline, trees will occasionally die, and the MAI if calculated on a recent period of ten years or so, it could be essentially zero, or perhaps show a decline, depending on the species mix and the reproduction. At this point, the "carbon sink" value of a stand will involve some very complex calculations based on a number of assumptions, including some about the soil. The amount of carbon stored in the wood of the standing trees may approximate an equilibrium. But, the carbon "sequestration" of the stand can continue to increase, depending on factors such as the climate, the condition of the soil, and the "biota."

You have done valuable research on the continued growth of older white pine trees, and I hope you continue. As for the wood production of very, very old and large trees, a number of years ago I read that according to one calculation, the General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park was determined to be at its very great age, the fastest growing tree on earth. I don't know how the calculations were done, or what the basic assumptions were, but if that were true, I would not be totally surprised. I would guess that in terms of total wood production, some of the large old white pines you are studying would prove to be very fast growing also.

--Gaines

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Re: Fastest growing tree on the planet?

Post by dbhguru » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:37 pm

Gaines,

Thanks for your always thoughtful and informative response. I think lots of our members will like to read precise definitions of terms they may hear. From my long association with forestry professionals here in New England, I'm on top of the details you shared, and do recognize the economic imperatives. Terms like mean annual increment are well understood. The challenge is applying some of the concepts to sites with mature trees. From a management standpoint, I think site index applies best to even-aged, single species stands as opposed to the mixes species, mix-age sites such as I deal with most of the time. That was one of the reasons we developed the Rucker Index system to judge a site's capability to grow tall trees where species and ages are mixed.

From my perspective, one of the crucial points of the discussion centers around the actual methods employed in the field to measure the mean annual increment. My observation here in New England is outside academic circles, they are often much less rigorously done than what you do. In fact, Gaines, I expect that you represent the gold standard in the care that you take. With you at the gold end of the spectrum, a lot of what I observe locally is more toward the cast iron end. For example DCR's CFI plots are used a lot in decisions about annual growth, but that system is so full of holes that all you see is daylight shining through. Species group definitions have changed and then database hasn't caught up. In many plots only diameters are measured. In other stands, height projections are made off of diameter alone. At still other plots, students green as the Jolly Green Giant are sent out with a tape and clinometer. Locations get generalized or confused. These revelations, some long known me, come straight from DCR officials who are unhappy with the poor discipline. I applaud their professionalism, but they are powerless to clean up the system.

Most of these discussions center around the role of young, versus mature, versus old growth forests as carbon sinks. As you know, the prevailing belief is that young forests are where all the action is. But that is proving not necessarily to be the case so far as carbon sequestration. Still, the full picture is not so simple as some of my associates believe it to be on their end of the opinion spectrum. More to come.

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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