Ramblings

A selection of founder Robert Leverett's more philosophical posts and trip reports.

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dbhguru
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Ramblings

Post by dbhguru » Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:26 pm

ENTS,
It has been two weeks since Monica and I returned from the West. That is about the period of time that it takes me to come down off the western high and return to my eastern forest mission. Yesterday's confirmation of a 141.4-foot white pine in Mass Audubon's Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox, MA was the kicker I needed to get back into the grove. When it comes to tree measuring, I run hot and cold like most measuring Ents, but most of the time my temperature is pretty darn high. But when it a cold spell, nothing like finding a new, potentially exciting site.

With yesterday's confirmation, I thought back to the time when my friend Jack Sobon and I set out to measure all white pines in MA over 140 feet. It was a labor intensive endeavor then because we were using a transit, but the spots were very few. In fact, We though there was only a handful of sites with 140-foot white pines in the entire state and that we'd probably already found a;; but two or three. Times change. Trees grow. Now there are two handfuls of 140-foot sites, and maybe three. We may even break 140 somewhere in eastern Mass. But even though we've documented more sites with 140-footers in Mass, trees of that stature are still quite rare and with the growing threat of biomass on the horizon with whole tree harvesting, older stands of poorly formed pine on private property may go up in smoke - literally. It is time for me to get cracking and see if I can locate more. In the Berkshire-Taconic region, on good pines sites, if the trees are left to grow for 120 years or more the chances of getting some 140-footers go up exponentially.

What will it mean to continue building the list of 140-footers? Well, it provides us with a better picture of what white pines do in New England within a time span of a couple hundred years. They are far more productive at sequestering carbon than the assertions we're beginning to see coming from the biomass industry's junk science. But even if the data does not find its way into arguments about growth and carbon sequestration, it will help provide a historical snapshot of the species during a period when the climate is changing.

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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