Where is NTS Going

General discussion forums related to trees and forests.

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Where is NTS Going

Post by Larry Tucei » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:39 am

Bob- This is what I say- NTS is an elite group of people that have a passion far beyond the average Joe, Jane. The data we have collected over the years is astonishing. The climate down in the Deep South keeps me from posting much in the summer months. However in the winter I'm super active and love posting my finds to this forum. I also post on Facebook but only to Friend and Friends of Friends. Has NTS run its course no way- If you want to reach the public sure Facebook, Twitter etc is the way to go. But remember this only a minority of people love the Forest and Trees. I'd like to know the percentage of that! Getting our Data to VT is great for Historical Records and Academia. The connections I have made since I joined NTS have been outstanding and the places I'm been thanks to all of you fantastic. I would have never made such a difference with Live Oak Data, Pine Data, Tree Data and so on without NTS. I most likely would not have traveled to most of those places. I feel we should continue the Mission and for the producers we will continue to roll on. Any members that want to drop off that is their preference but I for one remain steadfast. Larry

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Where is NTS Going

Post by Erik Danielsen » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:01 pm

edfrank wrote:Erik

The reason I first became involved with the Eastern Native Tree Society, and took over as the webmaster many years ago was to preserve the information being presented in the various forum posts so that it would not simply fade away. I still see that as a valuable service provided by the NTS BBS and want to see it continue to serve that purpose long into the future. I am not and have not suggested that it be replaced by the Facebook Group, but that both groups be considered different subsets of the Native Tree Society as a whole.

Ed
Ed, I certainly wasn't meaning to suggest that you thought the facebook group would replace the BBS. I and I'm sure everyone else here are indebted to your work maintaining this webforum, and I find myself very much in agreement with your thoughts in this thread.

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dbhguru
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Re: Where is NTS Going

Post by dbhguru » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:49 pm

Ents,

Today I was privileged to make a presentation on old-growth forest and big trees of Massachusetts at the 3rd Berkshire Natural History Conference held at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, MA. The presentation went over well - in fact, very well. There were lots of numbers on big trees and superlative forest sites to accompany the photos. I even sneaked in a slide showing some of the formulas we use to measure tree height. I kept the presentation on the light side with self-effacing humor, and that was appreciated. Afterward, several attendees communicated to me that they had received a valuable education on the exceptional trees of Massachusetts. They accepted the information as absolutely authoritative.

As Monica and I drove home, I reflected on the roll that NTS has played in getting us to where we are today, enabling solid information to be shared with attendees, information they could get nowhere else such as the state's champion tree program, scientific studies, and timber surveys. And it couldn't have come from non-NTS big tree aficionados using unsophisticated measuring methods. I felt pretty good about what had happened. For me, it was an affirmation that NTS continues to have true value.

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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JHarkness
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Re: Where is NTS Going

Post by JHarkness » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:51 am

ENTS,

Apologies for reopening this thread, but I've seen a continued discussion of this topic by a few members recently and thought that I should give my opinion on the matter.


The main mission of NTS since it's creation has been searching for, documenting and recognizing exceptional trees and forests, that's great and I think it should be continued, but I'm not sure how interested the public really is in exact tree measurements. I personally have noticed more of an interst in how a forest develops from an early succesional forest to an old growth forest, what roles certain trees play in that, how do these forests impact the local environment as they mature, etc.? Perhaps people are more interested in understanding how forests work than in know to the decimal point how tall a certain tree is? Though I have also seen the exact opposite be true, this summer I hosted a forest ecology walk and all people wanted to know was how tall the trees around them were and how tall they can get, the subject of 200-foot white pines of the past peaked a lot of interest, but is that true with the general public overall? I can't say for sure.

One case to back up my observations would be Peter Wohlleben's book The Hidden Life of Trees, a good book that asks a lot of questions that science can't exactly answer presently but fails to fully convey some of the basic functions of forested ecosystems, problems they face and what can be done to protect them. It has been met with incredible public reception, for example my neighbor absolutely loved his book and said she started appreciating her forest more, but then she decided to try to "clean up" her forest after hearing that in the forest he manages, they remove snags (or "risk trees" as he calls them) and clean up coarse woody debris, to "improve" the asethetic value of the forest. I expressed my opposition to this, but she said that he's a "professional" and that I don't know what I'm talking about. Sadly, people here are picking up on that thinking that it's a good thing to do, another neighbor of mine was concerned that blowdown in their hemlock forest would suppress regeneration after reading this book. So people are indeed concerned about forests and trees, maybe not so much in measuring them, but especially in how they function, the problem I see is that no one gives them the correct information, it's almost always distorted by commercial forestry practices, culture and personal opinion.

That said, I have seen an incredible amount of interest in books on trees and forests within my town alone, so perhaps it's time for there to be a book written by several NTS members that would talk about the functions of forested ecosystems, their health, invasive species, sustainable management, and provide information on what certain species are capable of in terms of size and carbon sequestration?

Perhaps something NTS doesn't convey very well through the BBS or website is that we're not just about tree measurement, our logo, for example, suggests this. Topics on invasive species, ecological functions of forests and managment practices are unfortunately harder to find than measurements for a first time visitor.


Joshua Harkness
"Be not simply good; be good for something." Henry David Thoreau

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dbhguru
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Re: Where is NTS Going

Post by dbhguru » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:06 pm

Joshua,

Basically, I understand where you're coming from. In truth NTS was originally established to celebrate trees in science, art, music, poetry, religion, wood crafts, medicine, photography, etc. We've had periods in the past when we dabbled in tree poetry, and photography has always been big. I'd like to see us return to poetry and the arts, if only on occasion.

Alas, the measuring mission was always implicit in the backgrounds of those of us who originally created NTS, but there is alway a call to find balance in art, poetry, etc. And Lukas keeps us up on lots of scientific articles, research papers, etc. What we're not about is politics and environmental activism - beyond occasional discussions. Nor are we about the business-based professions associated with trees and forests, although some of our most productive members are from forestry and arboriculture. In terms of heavy science, we are really not organized to function as a mainstream forest research organization, but we can work with them, and have. That is a key point. A lot depends on individual initiative.

Back to our measuring mission. It really isn't intended for the general public, but we don't want our members to feel that they have to be part of numbers generation. However, for the motivated few, it is a real home, and offers opportunities. In the past, we had joint projects with the NPS, and we've been part of over a dozen conferences, and of course, tree-measuring workshops. Our affiliation with American Forests has been productive beyond expectations. Nothing much has happened between us an Virginia Tech beyond the initial establishment of the database, but that could change.

When I was complaining about a lack of activity, I got a big boost from what other of you said. I especially liked Erik's assurances, reproduced below.

As long as there are trees and forests to measure, NTS is still relevant. Even if no one posts for a month, the archive of information here is valuable and unique.


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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JHarkness
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Re: Where is NTS Going

Post by JHarkness » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:49 pm

Bob,

I whole heartedly agree. NTS is very relevant even as just an informational archive at times, as far as I know, no other organization has such detailed information on accurately measured trees.

A question I keep coming back to is "why measure trees?" What difference does it make if a tree is 109.4' versus 108.7', how does that minute difference effect us or that tree's environment? Unless the tree is really of some exceptional status, I don't see tree measurement as really needing to be that precise, I enjoy tree measuring as much as the next person, but I don't see the point in it as more or less a "sport", however, I strongly think we should continue with tree measurement and pursue more big and tall trees, even if not quite record size, but I think, like you said, we need to balance it with other aspects involving forests (certainly not emotionally fueled forestry discussions, however). Perhaps some of us should work on forest restoration techniques and posts information about it here? Such as what effects removal of invasive species, reducing deer browse, controlling forest pests, etc. can do in the long term? I've been doing a lot of work in these areas in the past few years, but I feel that I'm all too often working in the dark, it's just not something that that many people do, or document and publish their findings when they do, I'm sure there are others like me who are attempting such things, but maybe don't know how successful they'll be in the long term, so they give up. Perhaps ENTS should also include more scientific studies of various forest functions and components? An example would be a project I'm undertaking to document and calculate the volume of coarse woody debris in my forest, measure and document snags, and determine how this deadwood is interacting with the forest as a whole, including fungi, tree regeneration, plant diversity and wildlife. We could really expand the amount of valuable information stored in the BBS if we incorporated more aspects of forests, even if they're aspects that we already have incorporated, but inspiring existing members, or acquiring new ones to post more about these aspects could prove valuable. I think just serving as a base for information about how different parts of a forest function together and how linked everything in the natural world is would be quite beneficial, take the same neighbor of mine that I mentioned earlier, her kids love wildlife, but said to me that they don't really care about trees or forests, I don't think it's really that they don't care, I think it's just a lack of understanding that a forest is a lot more than just trees, and that trees are a lot more than most people make them out to be, even if ENTS won't serve as a means to deliver information to the public, I think it would be a very good informational resource for people who will do that independently.


That said, I think it's pretty darn good that we have as many members as we do here, before I found out about NTS I was under the impression that I was one of the few people in the world who genuinely cared about trees and forests, I was quite surprised to find a group dedicated to trees and forests that had several hundred members! However, it is quite disturbing to think that out of over 7 billion humans, there are only a couple hundred of us here, but perhaps we should consider the amount of unregistered visitors the BBS gets, though we may not have many members, thousands could be finding the information accumulated here and utilizing it in some way or another, or just learning more about what trees can actually do. That is a pretty big impact.

Joshua
"Be not simply good; be good for something." Henry David Thoreau

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Where is NTS Going

Post by Erik Danielsen » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:40 am

Josh, that sounds like a worthwhile project and I'll look forward to whatever you find.

I'm also getting a more systematic project going where I am, but I think that angle of interest (studying the impacts of other forest components and changes) is exactly why accurate measurement is important- tree growth responds to change. If you can't accurately measure the same tree over a series of successive years, there's no way to make use of that very useful set of indicators. That's why DBH plots are so ubiquitous in forest studies- you can take a bunch of undergrads out with DBH tapes and get decent data year after year, whereas few in those sciences are well enough trained in accurate height measurement to get repeatable data, so it simply isn't used. This isn't relevant to every study, but it does open up a whole new avenue of potential studies that no one has conducted. When we do informally do tracking of this sort (see Bob's tracking of various MTSF pines) we have often found the available scientific literature to be lacking. There's a body of decent data on performance of various species under timber management- not as much on the structure and dynamics of mixed-age diverse forests. Most of what is available on that subject involved researchers associated with ENTS.

More broadly, this applies to the very baselines of what we consider "normal" heights for various species, according to silvics manuals etc. The discrepancies we find between our broadly assembled data, not just record trees, and mainstream references that often seem to have relied on conservative eyeballing in managed forests for "typical" heights and erroneous tangent methods for "maximum" heights are significant. A dedication to accuracy is a way of establishing that this is more reliable data, and sufficient case to revise those baselines.

Those are what make ENTS a good informational resource for the people who communicate science to the public.

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JHarkness
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Re: Where is NTS Going

Post by JHarkness » Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:02 am

Erik,

Thank you for bringing up using tree measurement to monitor trees and stands, I forgot to mention that as being another important use of tree measurement. It's something that I've also started doing on my property, though I really won't have complete baseline data for a few more weeks until I can measure most of my trees accurately, but I do feel that this is very important, especially if we bring in volume measurement as a way to monitor stands, I'll actually be purchasing a reticled monocular soon for this purpose, there are a few stands in my area, some second growth, some mature, some old growth, that I want to use this on and see where certain trees go, and where the stand as a whole goes, in terms of volume.


Another good use of tree measurement is to appreciate trees more, I'll tell the story of two of my red maples as an example, there's one hollow red maple that sits just below 1,000 feet in elevation, it's a fairly short tree, quite unimpressive compared to the towering northern red oaks right next to it, and it's circumference didn't look all that special from the trail that passes it, one day I decided to walk around it and I saw that has a very elliptical trunk and was actually very large, it turns out that the tree is 8' in CBH, but I was more impressed by the girth of the 6' red oak right next to it. I have another red maple in a protected valley along the brook that flows through my property, the site is home to many big and tall trees, though no record breakers as far as I know, but there's a neat "little" red maple there, it is only a foot in diameter, but I've always been drawn to it by it's strange spiral grain. Well, that "little" red maple turns out to b 107' tall, and is almost as tall as it's far more impressive neighbor, a 3' DBH sugar maple!
"Be not simply good; be good for something." Henry David Thoreau

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dbhguru
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Re: Where is NTS Going

Post by dbhguru » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:32 am

Joshua, Erik, Elijah, et al.,

An example of where NTS is going, or can go, is ground-truthing for other people, organizations, and technologies. I am teaming up with the forest biometrician for DCR to tweak the three models he uses to calculate tree volume. He has an instrument from Leica that is similar to the LTI TruPoint 300. We measured the diameter of the Jake Swamp tree on Wednesday at a spot on the trunk that Ray marked. I got 2.29 feet and he got 2.28. That is a difference of 0.01 feet or 3 millimeters. I had my instrument on a TriPod and Bill held his in hand. If we had been using our heads, he could have laid his Leica on top of my TruPoint for stability. They are exactly the same size. Nonetheless, we're building up trust in each others measurements.

I'm curious to see how Bill's three models work on white pines. The simplest model just uses DBH and total height plus a form class, which is based on judgment. The second model uses DBH, diameter at 17.3 feet, and diameter at 2/3rd of the full height. The 17.3 is where the model treats trunk curvature changing from neiloid to paraboloid. The third model takes diameter measurements at 1.0 feet, 2.0 feet, 3.0 feet, 4.0 feet, 4.5-feet, and every 4 feet thereafter. I expect that the latter model was meant to be applied mostly to trees on the ground. Being religious about 4-foot intervals for standing trees inn a forest - well, good luck.

I may change my mind when the Criterion 400 that Michale has shipped me arrives. I've named it the Kraken. When I told Michael, he sent me an email back saying, "Release the Kraken." For those familiar with Class of the Titans, they well know that saying.

Yesterday, I finished reticling a white pine in our back lot. It measures 8.8 feet in girth at 4.5 feet and is just on 130 feet in height. I succeeded in getting enough reticle measurements to feel confident that its trunk volume is 330 ft^3. Trunk and limbs equal 350 ft^3. That amounts to 2.01 tons of carbon, assuming a wood density of 24 lb/ft^2 and 48% carbon by weight. The 24 is the air-dried weight. I use 24 as opposed to 25 to be conservative and to discount for a small amount of decay. Backing in the trunk form factor, I got 0.415. That was higher than I would have ordinarily applied to the tree which is about 120 years old.

The key is to find outlets for our data. More on this to come.

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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addy
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Re: Where is NTS Going

Post by addy » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:04 pm

One of the worst problems with facebook diverting people from BBS type sites is that FB is absolute rubbish at archiving information. Finding even mildly old posts is a nightmare that usually ends in failure. I don't see this ever changing, all they seem to care about is collecting user data and delivering advertisting. I wish there was a way to reverse the flight from BBS's to social media.

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