Niagara River Gorge White Cedars: Notes and Links

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edfrank
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Niagara River Gorge White Cedars: Notes and Links

Post by edfrank » Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:07 am

Niagara River Gorge: Notes and Links

Some of the oldest trees in the east are in the Niagara gorge (some near the big eddy) along the cliff sides. http://www.wildonesniagara.org/maps/ancientcedars.html Some are 1500 years old. They are generally clinging to cliffs and growing in talus slopes. Some are being affected by rock climbers, but most are scattered and inaccessible, and small in size.

Bruce S. Kershner - Maps of Niagara Gorge and Old Trees
http://www.niagaraheritage.org/kershner_maps.html
niagara_pan1a.jpg
niagara_pan2a.jpg
Ontario's Oldest Trees: http://www.ancientforest.org/oldtrees.htm
White Cedar - Living 1316years, Niagara Escarpment Dwarfed cliff cedar ***. Germinated 688 AD. Kelly and Larson 2004, Larson 2005

White Cedar - Dead 1890 years, Niagara Escarpment Cliff cedar. The age of this cedar was obtained by crossdat...ing three slices in different parts of the dead bole. Larson 2001, Larson 2005

The Last Stand – A Journey Through the Ancient Cliff-Face Forest of the Niagara Escarpment by Peter E. Kelley and Douglas W. Larson from amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Last-Stand-Journe ... 159&sr=1-1

Ancient Forests Cling to The Niagara Escarpment Posted by: Dr Reese Halter | October 16, 2010
There is this blog with 1 photo and comments: http://drreese.wordpress.com/2010/10/16 ... scarpment/

The Gymnosperm Database
Thuja occidentalis
http://www.conifers.org/cu/th/occidentalis.htm

THE NIAGARA ESCARPMENT ANCIENT TREE ATLAS PROJECT; THEHUNT FOR ONTARIO'S OLDEST TREES
http://www.escarpment.org/_files/file.p ... _kelly.pdf

Effects of Rock Climbing on Populations of Presettlement Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) on Cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, Canada, P. E. Kelly and D. W. Larson, Conservation Biology, Vol. 11, No. 5 (Oct., 1997), pp. 1125-1132
(article consists of 8 pages)
Published by: Blackwell Publishing for Society for Conservation Biology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2387394

Here is a note from a similar cliff population in Wisconsin
http://www.doorbell.net/lukes/a080699.htm

Wisconsin again- Vertically inclined http://dnr.wi.gov/wnrmag/html/stories/2 ... rest.htm#3

A Review of the Niagara Escarpment Ancient Tree Atlas Project; 1998 - 2001 by Peter E. Kelly and Douglas W. Larson http://www.escarpment.org/_files/file.p ... _kelly.pdf

Cedars date from centuries Trees discovered in Middleburgh may be NY s oldest. Cobleskill Times-Journal, July 3, 2002
http://www.nativetreesociety.org/champi ... n20703.htm

American Scientist, The Magazine of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, September-October, Volume 87, No. 5
Cliffs as Natural Refuges
http://www.nativetreesociety.org/champi ... t00901.htm

Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis L.) An Annotated Bibliography by R. V. Hofmeyer, L. S. Kenefic, and R. S. Seymour (CFRU RR 07-01 August 2007) http://nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/jrnl/2007/nrs ... er_001.pdf

Niagara River Gorge, Southern Ontario by Dale Luthringer, April 15, 2002.
http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldt ... _gorge.htm

.
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Marcboston
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Re: Niagara River Gorge White Cedars: Notes and Links

Post by Marcboston » Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:24 pm

That would be a great road trip!!! I would love to see those trees and photograph them.

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James Parton
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Re: Niagara River Gorge White Cedars: Notes and Links

Post by James Parton » Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:44 am

Awesome! Kershner did some Great work. He has a lot of info in those maps. This would be a great area for an ent with climbing skills.
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sradivoy
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Re: Niagara River Gorge White Cedars: Notes and Links

Post by sradivoy » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:51 am

Definitely would like to visit these ancient trees in the near future. Perfect setting!

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Don
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Re: Niagara River Gorge White Cedars: Notes and Links

Post by Don » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:04 pm

By the very nature of these cedars, I hope future 'visitations' are from afar...already in 2010 they're mentioning disturbances from rock climbers. It is their very inaccessibility that has allowed for their longevity...
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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Niagara River Gorge White Cedars: Notes and Links

Post by Erik Danielsen » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:14 pm

Disturbance by rock climbers is in fact what lead to their discovery! A climber cutting a cedar that was in the way of a climbing route happened to notice the incredible density of growth rings. There's a beautiful book linked in the original post titled "The Last Stand" about the discovery and documentation of the Niagara Escarpment's ancient cliffside cedars, and subsequent studies into populations of trees in similar niches worldwide. Beautiful line drawings and descriptions of about a dozen of the oldest individuals, as well as excellent photos and good writing. Highly recommended.

Fortunately the cedars in certain sites, like Niagara Glen, are both accessible and not in much danger from climbers. That's a good place to check them out.

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sradivoy
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Re: Niagara River Gorge White Cedars: Notes and Links

Post by sradivoy » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:01 pm

All I need is some good binoculars and I'm fine. Its nice to know that, although eastern species aren't as imposing in terms of height and size as their western counterparts, at least in terms of age, with the exception of the bristlecones, are on par in terms of longevity. The white cedars are just as old as the western redcedar and the baldcypress is just as old as the redwoods and sequoias. The Senator was just as old as the President at over three thousand yrs - and with a longer growing season to boot! I think these ancient eastern trees deserve a lot more appreciation then they've been getting.

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bbeduhn
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Re: Niagara River Gorge White Cedars: Notes and Links

Post by bbeduhn » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:40 am

The Senator was not likely 3,000 years old. It had been hollow for some time so a true age could not be determined. The oldest confirmed age for baldcypress is 1,600+ years in NC, on a tree that is not all that large. The Senator is most likely the product of rapid growth and not great age. The baldcypresses recently reported on in Texas appear to be the product of rapid growth and not great age as well. Very few large trees in the east are exceptionally old. The Wye Oak would fall under the exceptionally large and old category. The great sized tulips tend to be in the 250-300 year range but the oldest known (Forge Creek ~520+ years by now) is of modest size. This doesn't mean that large trees aren't quite old, just that the oldest are not generally exceptionally large. Sequoias and some other western conifers are certainly exceptions to the rule.

wisconsitom
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Re: Niagara River Gorge White Cedars: Notes and Links

Post by wisconsitom » Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:03 am

Awesome. And it would not be out of the realm of possibility that one could age one of these cliff-dwellers and get a new age record while a new height or girth record could conceivably exist in the slopes below with their deeper, more well-developed soils. That is to say, places like Door County WI are among the very best places to see northern white cedar in its various growth forms, age classes, size classes, and so on. A very characteristic tree of the region. BTW, that same limestone rock situation extends southward from Door, to include the counties of Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Any one of these-and there are still more-could hold impressive white cedars, including possible additional cliff dwellers. For example, Maribel Caves County Park in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin for years held this states record white cedars. A tornado did those in I believe-haven't been back in years-but the point is that this area is extremely rich in this species.

My land is just north and west of the limestone belt, yet it must still be having some influence, as the entire area where this parcel is is in what I've dubbed "the cedar belt". That is, Thuja o. is extremely common, grows well, and is an actual commercially harvested species in this region. The latter point is troubling of course, since elevated deer populations are very hard on this plant.

I know I've said this here before but it bears repeating: For all lovers of trees and forests, it is likely many have never seen a naturally-occurring grove of Thuja occidentalis. I know that on some other tree boards wherein I participate, lots of folks cannot get their heads around this plant being anything except a possibly overused landscape plant. Few have ever seen where the species actually comes from, which is odd in a plant that was literally the first new-world plant brought back to Europe. These groves, like in my woods, are places of incredible mystery and beauty, full of old-growth characteristics. In my woods for example, there is a large old tree which, growing in saturated soil as it does, tipped in the wind to the point that it is now horizontal. The roots at the distal or windward side were torn loose but on the near side, they remained rooted in the ground. So this tree's branches-on the uphill side-are now each growing as separate "trees" if you will, each one dead-straight, reaching for the sun. Stuff like that.

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sradivoy
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Re: Niagara River Gorge White Cedars: Notes and Links

Post by sradivoy » Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:11 am

Erik Danielsen wrote:Disturbance by rock climbers is in fact what lead to their discovery! A climber cutting a cedar that was in the way of a climbing route happened to notice the incredible density of growth rings. There's a beautiful book linked in the original post titled "The Last Stand" about the discovery and documentation of the Niagara Escarpment's ancient cliffside cedars, and subsequent studies into populations of trees in similar niches worldwide. Beautiful line drawings and descriptions of about a dozen of the oldest individuals, as well as excellent photos and good writing. Highly recommended.

Fortunately the cedars in certain sites, like Niagara Glen, are both accessible and not in much danger from climbers. That's a good place to check them out.
Judging by the title alone "The Last Stand" looks like a must read. I'm marveled by how this secretive community of cliff dwelling dwarfs have managed to escape our detection until fairly recently. This is the east version of the bristlecone. Both are survivors. I really want to try the arborvitae's tea to appreciate the tree on a different level. I hear it's loaded with vitamin C.

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