New Mission at Fort Hill, Ohio Takes Shape

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Joe

Re: New Mission at Fort Hill, Ohio Takes Shape

Post by Joe » Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:24 am

What would be very cool would be if a collection of the best, say, 100 photos of the biggest/oldest/best trees were put into a NTS sponsored coffee table book. I've seen hundreds of great photos in this forum, so I'm sure it would be easy to put together a collection. I happen to love big coffee table books which is why I periodically make this suggestion.

I think the public who sees the book would be astounded- since most people in the east think only redwoods get huge- since most eastern trees are toothpicks when, in fact, they can be extremely large. And in the west, who'd think Ponderosa Pine could be as huge as one photo posted recently in this forum?

The Sierra Club publishes books- so could he NTS? It would be a great way to advance the cause.
Joe

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Matt Markworth
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Re: New Mission at Fort Hill, Ohio Takes Shape

Post by Matt Markworth » Sat Oct 24, 2015 5:11 pm

Joe,

A book like that would be fantastic. I bought Tom Kimmerer's book a couple days ago entitled Venerable Trees: History, Biology, and Conservation in the Bluegrass. Lots of great photos, both black and white and in color, and extremely educational.

Bob,

I visited E. Lucy and Annette Braun's grave site this morning. They're surrounded by great old trees including this ancient white oak...
braun - white oak.jpg
braun.JPG
Matt

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Rand
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Re: New Mission at Fort Hill, Ohio Takes Shape

Post by Rand » Sat Oct 24, 2015 9:39 pm

Beautiful photo. A fitting resting spot for a lover of trees no?

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Matt Markworth
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Re: New Mission at Fort Hill, Ohio Takes Shape

Post by Matt Markworth » Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:23 pm

All,

Here are some tidbits gleaned so far from E. Lucy Braun's ecological survey on Fort Hill.

Increment borings from her assistant Thomas R. Von Bokern:
- An eastern red cedar located on the cliff-margin was about 120 years old, with a diameter of 5 1/2 inches
- A chinkapin oak located on the cliff-margin was just less than 200 years old, with a diameter of 7 inches

Naturalist John Locke visited the Fort Hill enclosure in 1838:
- He reported a chestnut atop the wall with a diameter of 6 feet
- He reported a poplar (tuliptree) in the ditch with a diameter of 7 feet

Matt

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Rand
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Re: New Mission at Fort Hill, Ohio Takes Shape

Post by Rand » Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:29 pm

Matt Markworth wrote:All,

Here are some tidbits gleaned so far from E. Lucy Braun's ecological survey on Fort Hill.

Naturalist John Locke visited the Fort Hill enclosure in 1838:
- He reported a chestnut atop the wall with a diameter of 6 feet
- He reported a poplar (tuliptree) in the ditch with a diameter of 7 feet

Matt
And here we were all Ohhing and Ahhhing over the teenaged striplings that have regrown since then.

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dbhguru
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Re: New Mission at Fort Hill, Ohio Takes Shape

Post by dbhguru » Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:47 am

Rand,

This is a favorite topic of mine. I imagine that the pre-settlement forests of Ohio were among the best in the East. Rich soils and sufficient rainfall are among the reasons. But were there 6-foot diameter trees everywhere one looked. Somehow, I doubt that. In rich coves there would have been some and occasionally clusters, but I think most of the old photos of big eastern trees showed the exceptional as opposed to the common.

An on-again, off-again project of mine has been to try to derive statistics on the distribution of large white pines in stands that have some age on them here in the Northeast. Where trees grow close together as in a white pine stand, what is the likely diameter distribution in, say, a stand on a favorable site that has reached an average age of 150 years? We do have a number of such stands spread across the Northeast, and while I wouldn't rely on the statistics from any single stand, putting them together does suggest that a 4-foot diameter is pretty hard to achieve unless the pine gets extra growing space. A very few pines may make it to 4.5 or even 5 feet in diameter, but we don't see whole stands of them. However, a 3-foot diameter is common.

People report on the unusual trees, and time often magnifies our perceptions of what is normal versus exceptional. When all species are included, the distribution of large diameter trees in the pre-settlement eastern forests would have yielded plenty of 5 to 6-foot diameter trees (and occasionally 7 and 8), but not as a high percentage of the mature trees. We would have likely seen plenty of 3 and 4-foot diameter trees, which is consistent with some of the early accounts of the chroniclers. And of course. I could be completely wrong. Thoughts?

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

Joe

Re: New Mission at Fort Hill, Ohio Takes Shape

Post by Joe » Sat Oct 31, 2015 8:29 am

Bob, this is indeed an interesting topic. I've always wondered what the forests looked like before the invasive species, "homo sapiens European" showed up. In that book, "1492"- the author concluded that the Indians "managed" most of the forests- with fire and some cutting- but David Foster, Director of Harvard Forest, in one book suggested that that "management" occurred mostly along the coasts and major valleys- leaving the hinterlands in a primeval condition- whatever that might have been. Certainly storms and wildfires and periodic infestations of insects and disease occurred- taking down individual trees and entire forests- resetting the forest to an early succession state.

I think your vision of the tree size distribution is probably right on- for those pre-settlement forests- but I bet there were some forests that exceeded that typical distribution. It's reasonable that an almost pure white forest is unlikely to consist of mostly very large trees- but in pre-settlement times there were probably very few pure white forests- since the white pine type isn't a climax type- which would more likely consist of a mix of species. Within such a mix, I bet there were quite a few white pines far larger than any you've ever seen. It's really too bad we don't have any good data on those early forests.
Joe

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Rand
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Re: New Mission at Fort Hill, Ohio Takes Shape

Post by Rand » Sat Oct 31, 2015 6:31 pm

Bob,

Site Index is a well known concept in forestry, but I wonder how well/whether it can be consistently correlated with the maximum size a given species can obtain on that site? So for example, a site index of Y, is a pretty good indication that the maximum size will be Z. You could perhaps, reconstruct the stature of the primeval forest just by looking at the existing site index maps.

Joe

Re: New Mission at Fort Hill, Ohio Takes Shape

Post by Joe » Sun Nov 01, 2015 6:28 am

Rand wrote:Bob,

Site Index is a well known concept in forestry, but I wonder how well/whether it can be consistently correlated with the maximum size a given species can obtain on that site? So for example, a site index of Y, is a pretty good indication that the maximum size will be Z. You could perhaps, reconstruct the stature of the primeval forest just by looking at the existing site index maps.
Rand, I think the science behind site index is limited. It will suggest how tall a tree might get at any point of its life- more or less- assuming those who created the index for that species had good data- which is probably not the case- they probably took measurements in only a few places- and, as we've seen, in the past, height measurements were---- uh... not so accurate. And, the site index says little about the diameter growth. Charts have been created by "forestry researchers" which will suggest total timber volumes in a stand for a species over time for different site indexes, but again, based on limited data. And, these charts won't be accurate for stands that have been mismanaged- and, they'll say nothing about old growth.
Joe

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Rand
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Re: New Mission at Fort Hill, Ohio Takes Shape

Post by Rand » Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:02 am

Joe,

Well bummer. I was thinking that a tree's growth in the first 100 yrs, might be indicative of how much volume it might put on in the next 100-200 - and how that volume was distributed is pretty much a function of how much competition the tree had (short and fat vs tall and skinny)

As far as diameter, we've all seen wolf trees that get huge, simply from lack of competition, so I was working under the assumption of an undisturbed site, which is what I assume Bob was talking about when he was referring to primeval forests.

I should also mention that the the actual 'Fort' at fort hill is on a hill top and is largely a shorter, drier looking oak-hickory stand, so I'm assuming the trees mentioned were short & fat compared to the trees down in the coves where we found the really tall ones (which frankly, didn't look much over 150 years old). However there was a wet spot at the north end & the ditch that did hold some water and had a few short and fat red maples growing in it. I picture Locke's trees growing near these wet spots.

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