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Re: Russ Forest Lidar

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:01 pm
by gjschmidt
dbhguru wrote:what method and equipment are you using to measure tree height, if I may ask?
Bob, I have a Nikon Forestry Pro. I suspect the Doug's accuracy is greater on account of a few things. I know that when standing in at a given spot, my device seems report a certain set of exact values, implying that either the clinometer or the range finder go up in coarse increments. I did hit 46.0 m twice from near the same location, but not from other angles. But may be that's good enough to be plus or minus half a meter (1.5 ft), unless it is for a record sized tree. It is certainly more accurate than the old technique using the tangent method.

My device cost $400, his, I think that he said, was more than $1000 (without knowing the actual comparative specs, price implies something).

Doug was also a little more systematic in his technique, using a tripod to mount his hypsometer, and also placing a thumb tack on the trunk (at a measured distance from the ground) as his base reference. I can definitely see the advantage of using the thumb tack as a more certain way of knowing where the ground is than pointing the beam obliquely at ground clutter. This is even more critical if pointing down slope.

Re: Russ Forest Lidar

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:50 pm
by gjschmidt
Larry Tucei wrote:...the north woods ... I would guess second growth... no White Pines? Larry

"North woods"? I had to drive south from Grand Rapids to get there;) What we call the "north woods" is too cold for tuliptree to grow naturally. Though I did see one planted in Rose City, Michigan, east of Houghton Lake, which is north of the "floristic tension zone" (a.k.a. north woods). It survived okay. The tree generally had compact stunted appearance. I can't say that I have seen it flower. Grand Rapids itself is too far north for sweetgum to grown naturally, but the trees seem to grow okay, except for that one winter a couple years ago when it took them an extra month to leaf out (after the other trees).

Presettlement map shows oak savannas just to the west, and beech-maple forest where we were. It is conceivable that the portion that had the black oak was an open extension of the savanna and that the trees were too small and ignored at the time of logging. The portion with the beech, on the other hand, would likely have been forested. So it may well have been cut, but at least 150 years ago.

White pine is not so common as a native tree this far south and this far inland in the state. it is found along the sand dunes a half hour to the west. It becomes more ubiquitous on sandy sites around Grand Rapids northward as well as near the lake.

Re: Russ Forest Lidar

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:45 am
by dbhguru

I also have a Nikon Forestry Pro. Before that I owned a Forestry 500. I also have two other Nikon laser rangefinders. It seems like I feel the need to own one of every brand.

The Forestry Pro isn't as accurate as the TruPulse, but in many tests, I generally can get within +/- 1.5 feet of actual distance and for nearer, highly visible targets, the average error is closer to +/- a foot. I think we'd both agree that the Forestry Pro is an easy instrument to use and of a handy size.

Doug's TruPuse 200X wasn't full price. Brand new, they run around $1,800, but oh what a sweet instrument! BTW, LTI has a new offering for us coming soon. It's called a TruPoint 200H and it incorporates both a infrared pulse-based laser and a phase-based red beam laser. The accuracy of the class II laser is +/- 1 millimeter and I think the infrared laser will have an accuracy of around +/- one centimeter. That's phenomenal. However, LTI has been having development problems, which have led to multiple product release delays. The big weakness of this new instrument is that they offer only a 2-power viewing scope. I don't know who talked them into that one, but I predict that it will prove a real deficiency.

The TruPoint 200H will have a missing line routine, but only in the vertical plane. It will still implement the 3-point tangent routine . I don't mind. I like having the routine available because there are still ways of reducing Tangent Method errors, and for straight-bole conifers, it can be nice to get a quick approximate height to see if its worth searching for the highest twig ala the Sine Method.


Re: Russ Forest Lidar

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:41 pm
by Don
Just in, from Forestry Suppliers...two Haglof Vertex Laser GPS Hypsometer Packages...Laser, ultrasound, tilt sensor provide accurate andreliable distance, height, and angle measurement; with built-in GPS receiver...; ~ }

Re: Russ Forest Lidar

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:06 pm
by dbhguru

OOH, THAT SUCKER COSTS $2,500. I have my limits, and I think that instrument exceeds them.


Re: Russ Forest Lidar

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:55 pm
by Don
They look like they'd need a tripod !

Russ Forest Big Tulip Tree

Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:19 pm
by DwainSchroeder
I visited Russ Forest in the fall of 1980 after reading about the big tulip tree (in a Michigan Dept of Natural Resources magazine). The magazine listed the tree as 196' tall. A specific number like 196', as opposed to say a description of "over 200' tall", implied to me that the tree was measured with some good accuracy.

I enjoyed my trip there, and visited some other big trees in the area, including a large Burr oak, I believe in the town of Niles. The tulip tree was indeed massive but I had no way to verify the height. The tree had some serious hollowing going on at its base so I knew it was vulnerable to high winds. I recall there was another tulip, almost as large, close by.

A few years ago I read a short article posted on the internet written by someone who visited the site after the tree went down in a storm (in the 1980s ??). (I can no longer find the article.) His self imposed mission was to verify how tall that tree really had been, and that's easy to do when a tree is on its side. His visit occurred already several years after the tree had gone down, so some of the smaller upper braches were already rotted away. This made an exact measurement impossible so he needed to estimate the original extend of the upper crown. I don't recall his final number, but I believe he thought that it would be hard to justify any height beyond 140'-150'.

All the same, the tree was impressive. I believe that the climate is good to the trees in that area. The prevailing westerly winds coming across Lake Michigan keep the humidity up and help even out temperature extremes. I would like to visit this forest again sometime down the road. I know that Michigan State University has done a lot of forestry research work there, and that would be interesting to see.

Re: Russ Forest Lidar

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:47 am
by dbhguru

There are ways to check on the credibility of an extravagant-sounding claim for the height of a tree. NTS has built much of its expertise not only on measuring tree dimensions very accurately, but in amassing comparative statistics. These stats suggest that Liriodendron tulipifera should be able to attain 150 feet in southern Michigan, but not much more.

The epicenter of super growth for the tulips are the coves of the southern Appalachians. At 191.9 feet, the Fork Branch (?) tulip that Will Blozan climbed several years ago is the tallest tulip we've ever measured. Going north, heights come down until we see 150 - 160 up to about 41 or 42 degrees north latitude. The data suggest a 30-foot height differential for tulips, north to south. So far, that differential is holding up. I think Elijah holds the record for the northern most accurately measured 150 - the one near Rochester, NY.

In terms of a 196-foot figure quoted versus a round number like 200, if the measurer used a clinometer and tape or applied one of the similar triangle techniques, a number such as that quoted could result. However, it is not unusual for tape and clinometer users to get exaggerated heights from that technique, which is why NTS does not accept tree height measurements coming from other sources unless the method used is adequately explained and accepted by us. This may make us sound elitist, but the mis-measuring of tree heights by otherwise credible sources has been epidemic over the years.


Re: Russ Forest Lidar

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:18 pm
by DougBidlack

in early March of this year I was able to meet up with Greg Schmidt to measure some impressive trees at this forest. I was able to get there a couple hours or so earlier as I was staying in northern Indiana the previous night and I set out to check on the site with the 3rd tallest lidar hit. I found it pretty easily and I was able to measure a couple of tuliptrees.
9.37' (112.44") x 141' (Nikon 440 straight up)
12.28' (147.36") x 144' (Nikon 440 straight up)
Both of these trees were taller than any tuliptrees that I had ever measured in Michigan. In fact, they were both taller than any deciduous trees that I had ever measured in the State.
The site with the highest lidar hit was next closest so I went there next. I think Greg told me that the lidar hit came out to 148.3' least that is what I wrote down. There were two tall tuliptrees growing close together and I measured these twin towers.
10.79 (129.48") x 145.5' (Nikon 440 straight up)
12.82' (153.84") x 148.5' (Nikon 440 straight up)
I was especially pleased that my straight up shot of the taller tree was a nearly perfect match for the lidar hit. These were the new tallest deciduous trees for Michigan as far as I knew. Below are a couple pictures of the twin towers.
I still had a little time before Greg was supposed to arrive so I wanted to measure a few other tree species. First up was a group of nice-looking black walnuts. The tallest measured:
9.99" (119.88") x 135' (Nikon 440 straight up)
This easily beat my old records for tallest black walnuts for the State by nine feet. One of the old records lives in Warren Woods and the other lives in Lower Huron Metropark. Below is a picture of this impressive tree. It is the one near the center rather than the two bigs at the left.
Next up was a tall black cherry that had seen better days. It was struck by lightning but was still holding on and boy was I glad that it did! This tree measured:
9.65' (115.80") x 132' (Nikon 440 straight up)
This is currently the tallest black cherry that I know of for the State and it bests the old record of 126' for a tree that I had recently measured in Highland State Recreation Area. Below are three pictures of this battered but still beautiful cherry.
I next measured a tall-looking white oak.
12.23' (146.76") x 120' (Nikon 440 straight up)
I finally measured a 120' white oak in MIchigan! This beat out my current measly record of 114' for a tree in Kensington Metropark. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of this white oak and it was getting close to the time that I needed to meet Greg.
After meeting Greg we decided to try and get a better height measurement for the tallest tuliptree. On the way there though we ran into a beautiful black oak. This tree measured:
12.73' (152.76") x 114' (Nikon 440 straight up)
Nope! This one wasn't a height champ for the State but it had an impressive combination of girth, height and crown spread. Below is a picture of this beautiful black oak.
After measuring the black oak we spoke with a couple that lived in the area and wanted to show us an area with some tall beeches among other trees. We agreed to this side trip and we learned more about the region and the people that lived here. It was time well spent. We saw many attractive beeches and the tallest were mostly in the 111' to 118.5' range. Here are a couple of pictures of just one of these incredibly beautiful beeches.
The sugar maples in the area appeared to be a little less common and I didn't make as many quick measurements of them but the ones that I did measure were just a little bit shorter than the beeches. There were also a few nice bitternut hickories but the only one that would have been worth measuring had the top blown out. We didn't measure it but we probably should have at least put a tape around it. Slippery elms seemed relatively more common than American elms in this forest and I made quick shots up of three of them to:
90', 91.5' and 103.5'
Below is a picture of a slippery elm in another part of Russ Forest. It seems likely that a slippery elm here could approach or even exceed the current height record of 114'; the now dead tree in Lower Huron Metropark.
I forgot to mention three northern red oaks that I had quickly measured earlier in the day. All of them were right at 120' but it seems likely to me that Russ Forest has at least one that will break the current height record of 127.5' for a tree in Warren Woods. After saying goodbye to the couple that led us on a pleasant walk we parted ways and began heading back to the tall tuliptrees again. When we arrived at the twin towers we set to work on measuring and photographing these beauties! After some work I finally felt like I had a good line to the top as well as the pin at 4.5'. I got 148' 2" with my TruPulse 200X but there was a damn twig blocking my shot of the very top of the tuliptree. With a slight adjustment and a remeasure I ended up with a height of 148' 6"...exactly the same as the 440 straight up. Jeez! Here are two more pictures of these two tuliptrees.
We next headed over to the site with the second tallest lidar hit. As Greg mentioned there was an area of pure sugar maples to the South of the woods we were headed for and they were starting to extract the liquid which would eventually be turned into maple syrup. The forest that we entered, on the other hand, was dominated by beeches. I measured one to 121.5' which would be the tallest beech for the day. When we reached the area with the tuliptrees they were more impressive than expected. The first measured:
12.36' (148.32") x 150' (Nikon 440 straight up)
Wow! Yet another height champion! Below is a picture.
The next tuliptree was even more amazing. It measured:
13.80' (165.60") x 150' (Nikon 440 straight up)
Below are four pictures of the best find of the day!
Greg is at near the base in this next picture.
A close-up with Greg.
A look up at the crown.
We tried for some time to get a more accurate height for this last tuliptree but the beeches would not cooperate. We both decided that we needed to leave this fantastic forest for another day. Hopefully not too far off in the future.

Trees measured:
13.80' (165.60") x 150' MI height champ
12.36' (148.32") x 150' MI height champ
12.82' (153.84") x 148' 6" (measured with TruPulse 200X)
10.79' (129.48") x 145.5'
12.28' (147.36") x 144'
9.37' (112.44") x 141'

Black Walnut
9.99' (119.88") x 135' MI height champ

Black Cherry
9.65' (115.80") x 132' MI height champ

American Beech
? x 121.5'

White Oak
12.23' (146.76") x 120' MI height champ

Northern Red Oak
three trees to 120' (no girth measurements)

Black Oak
12.73' (152.76") x 114'

Slippery Elm
? x 103.5'
? x 91.5'
? x 90'

All heights of the above trees were measured by shooting straight up with the Nikon 440 except for the one tuliptree that was measured with the TruPulse 200X.