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More tall sugar pines to report

Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:36 pm
by M.W.Taylor
Last weekend I traveled out to the Tahoe National Forest to investigate some tall LiDAR hits with a few friends. The trees looked like sugar pines in both the point clouds and Google Earth images. The tree were indeed tall with one being the 5th tallest known standing sugar pine.

Sugar pine #1
Height: 255.64 ft (77.92m) dbh: 6.9 ft

Sugar Pine #2
Height: 247.34 ft (75.39m) dbh: 7.1 ft

Both trees grow in fragmented old growth forest among mostly 2nd growth trees.

The northern Sierra Nevada and Cascades foothills of Oregon are soon going to have much more LiDAR available online so hopefully we will be able keep locating more unknown tall pines into the foreseeable future. I want to document as many great pines as quickly as possible before they are gone because they are starting to die off in what appears to be a mass extirpation event. The reasons include but are not limited to 1) beetle infestation, 2) persistent drought, 3) blister rust 4) a warming trend in the pacific NW that reduces surface water and accelerates the bark beetle life cycle. It may be that the pines first undergo some type of stress and this attracts the beetles. The southern to central Sierra ranges have lost a most of their largest sugar pines in the last decade. Without the aid of LiDAR we simply would not have enough time, energy or resources to root out the tallest from all the remote fragments.