Customary New Years Resolutions

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dbhguru
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Customary New Years Resolutions

Post by dbhguru » Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:50 pm

Hi All,

For the past several years, on each New Years Day, or soon thereafter, I've gone through the motions of setting down my resolutions vis-a-vie NTS. Following this trend, should history hold true, I would violate or fail to fulfill most of the promises by mid-year. By year's end all my resolutions would be on the trash heap. So, this year, I'm going to be cautious. My only resolution is that I'm not going to make any firm resolutions. Instead, I present a hope list that includes what I hope will happen for myself and my fellow and lady Ents during 2013.

1. I hope to finish an Internet version of Dendromorphometry sometime in late 2013. If this happens, a more academic version can then be undertaken in accordance with the original plan - one that has proven too ambitious for an all-volunteer effort. So, I've switched to a quick and dirty version to come first in order to get a product out that can be distributed and referenced.

2. I hope not to set expectations for myself (or NTS) that are impossibly high. I've done that in years past. In particular, I don't want to set high expectations for cooperative ventures between NTS and other organizations or professions, with one noted exception (see 4 below). If positive associations happen, I want to be pleasantly surprised and enjoy the successes without judgment or keeping a scorecard. Naturally, I have some organizations in mind, but am trying not to project past the point of que sera sera.

3. I hope to be able to temper my criticisms of those who mis-measure trees badly. Oooh, did I say that? But even as I express this hope, I have wavering faith that I'll be able to discipline myself sufficiently. I start out with good intentions and then get overwhelmed with the foolishness of people who should darn well know better. So, I sound off, but to what end? Maybe I can program myself to look the other way. Three cheers for trying.

4. I hope to be able to forge a closer alliance between NTS and LTI in 2013. So far, it has proven well worth the expended efforts, but much more can be done. The joint NTS-LTI events of 2012 included the tree measuring workshop in Cook Forest this past April, the rendezvous in Durango, CO in July, and the second tree measuring workshop in MTSF in October. That's a pretty good start. LTI has promised support of NTS. Let's take advantage of their generous offer.

5. I hope we'll be able to attract some more super performers to fill the geographical holes in our tree measuring coverage and to foster other tree-oriented projects (Michael Gatonska's tree soundscapes is an example of a stellar non-measuirng project of the highest order of artistry).

6. I hope that we in NTS can better concentrate our efforts. Please bear with me on this one. There is only so much Ed Frank can do to bring it all together via the BBS. He's already done 10 lifetimes worth of work. Consequently, there's a huge amount of material out there, but alas, even with Ed's best efforts, it remains far too scattered. We need a set of conclusions that we draw and post, as opposed to what others may infer from the many, many posts. As a minimum, we need to establish a set of lists that we collectively maintain for display at the top of the BBS. That's the way the big folks do it in corporate information systems. They often create corporate "dashboards", with a purpose of keeping eyes focused on the important business indicators. The risk is always to overdo it by trying to think of everything and creating a complicated reporting systems that few use. This should be simple. We could maintain the top 10 Rucker sites for the world (as we know it) and/or the top Rucker sites for a set of geographical regions we would agree to monitor. The Northeast, Southeast, Rocky Mountain West, and the Pacific realm could serve as a starting point for the USA. Kouta, Jeroen, and Michael could define several European provinces. Bart Bouricius could identify an area in Central or South America or both to monitor, etc.

7. I hope Larry Tucei can raise the number of live oaks reaching 20 feet in circumference to unimagined totals. Larry's persistence reflects the best of NTS. I also wish comparable success for other standout Ents, including Brian Beduhn, Eli Dickerson, Ryan LeClair, Zane Moore. Naturally, I wish for exciting new discoveries by Michael Taylor and Mario Vaden in the Northwest. And Will in the Southeast is always a given. Aw shucks, I wish great new tree discoveries for everyone.

8. I wish success to all the champion tree coordinators who are in NTS. In particular, I wish my friend Don Bertolette success with his Alaska Champion Tree Program. I can't imagine the challenges a tree coordinator faces in Alaska. Don's up there by his lonesome, the most isolated of the Ents. I often forget what he faces in terms of geographical hurdles, and then their are the brown bears. Need I say more?

9. I hope that we in NTS can come to grips with the tree form challenge and settle on measurements and how to do them for the complex tropical and wetland forms and tree structures. Getting a handle on this problem would move us out of the customary three-tree-dimensions world and its timber origins. I say that is the direction we should take.

10. Lastly, I wish for good health and longevity for all my fellow and lady Ents.

I'll stop the wish list at this point. Someone else's turn.

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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bbeduhn
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Re: Customary New Years Resolutions

Post by bbeduhn » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:09 am

Bob,
As a general rule, I don't make New Year's resolutions but...I do plan to continue ongoing projects at Biltmore, with Metasequoias and on and off the Foothills Trail in SC and NC. I also hope to get to the Smokies a couple of times. I want to get into speadsheets to track annual or somewhat annual measurements on outstanding and some instanding trees.
Brian

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Re: Customary New Years Resolutions

Post by dbhguru » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:20 am

Brian,

Good for you. I think that setting specific goals for ourselves is the only way that we can stay on course. If each of us takes ownership of a particular place or forest and then proceeds to gather data on it, before long we find ourselves surprised in terms of what we've accomplished.

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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Larry Tucei
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Re: Customary New Years Resolutions

Post by Larry Tucei » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:30 pm

Bob, . 1. The Live Oak Project is ongoing although I didn't post as many trees last year as in the past there will be more coming soon. 2. A volume on the Ms State Champion would be a good start. I will contact the owner and get the ball rolling on that with some help from you Bob of course. There are lots of Live Oaks still to measure in Louisiana, Florida, Georgia with a few left in Ms., and Alabama. 3. I plan on getting up to Delta National Forest to measure the Virgin Sweet Gum and Pascagoula Mgt Area to record the big Cypress and others before spring. The water level is a factor in some locations but I have a small boat now so the sky’s the Limit Bob!! 4. Jasper Co. Ms. has a 2.5 acre tract of 300-400 year old tract Long Leaf with the National Champion tree; I'd like to verify that aging. 5. Durango this summer with you Monica and others will be exciting. 6. To help others to appreciate our Trees and Forests. I would like to thank Ed for the fantastic job he does with BBS. I also want to thank Will, Don, Don, Michael, Mario, Eli, Brian, Ryan, Zane and all the other NTS members who help make this the best tree forum on the web!!!! Larry

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Re: Customary New Years Resolutions

Post by dbhguru » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:07 pm

Larry,

An admirable list. I look forward to next summer. We'll set some new Rocky Mountain tree records. There are several people in the Durango area just waiting to take us to some special places where we'll see whopper Quaking Aspens. Then there is a spot that is supposed to have the largest Rocky Mountain Douglas Firs. And the list goes on.

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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eliahd24
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Re: Customary New Years Resolutions

Post by eliahd24 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:00 pm

What a great post Bob. And timely. I have a tradition of scribbling my resolutions on a napkin, but they tend to be more general. I need and want specific goals relating to my role with NTS. I've said before that I would be thrilled to compile a "max-list" for Georgia. Between Jess Riddle and myself, we have a mountain of data. Jess has found a few record breakers in the past few months that he has yet to post about as well (including a 151' White Ash!... sorry Jess, I couldn't resist). What I need from Bob/Ed/Will is a desired format for such a list. Even better would be a template with a few samples to get me started. I know we tend to go heavy on the data fields, but we should probably keep it fairly simple so that it's digestible and brings in newcomers and seasoned NTSers alike. Personally, I think we should have this for every state (which would require coordinators for every state as we have discussed in the past).

Other projects I want to FINISH in 2013 include the following:
-Updated Rucker10 for major sites in Atlanta (probably 20 sites more or less)
-Tally of Atlanta tuliptrees over 155' with GPS coord's (there's just too many to have a threshold lower than that)
-Tally of all the tuliptrees i've measured over 13' CBH in Atlanta (a list about 60 trees deep now including our first in the 16'x150' club)
-Tape drop of the 4 tallest trees in Atlanta, all of which are tuliptrees over 160' (this will be a challenge as I don't have the talent, experience or tools... maybe I can entice Will or other regional NTSers to take a road trip to Atlanta...)
-Update the Atlanta Rucker 10, R20 and R50 (no, that's not a typo)
-Continue to update Atlanta and Georgia Champion Tree Lists with new champions (and replace recently deceased champions)

....what else is there?? thoughts? anyone wanna help? ;)

I also want to second Larry and Bob's words- this really is the best board around and it's because of the great leadership, Ed's tireless work, and all of our wonderful members. Cheers and let's keep challenging ourselves and sharing our knowledge and passion with others!

~Eli

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dbhguru
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Re: Customary New Years Resolutions

Post by dbhguru » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:58 am

Eli,

Congratulations. Very impressive list. You, Will, Brian, Larry, Jess, and Michael Davie have boosted the South as the region of the country that is currently most active in terms of tree measuring. Not too surprisingly, the region of greatest activity shifts around. There was a time when New England, and Massachusetts in particular, was the most active area. Then Pennsylvania enjoyed a long period in the sun. We talked about the Pennsylvania A Team. George is keeping PA in the news these days. Ohio gained prominence thanks to Steve and Rand. With Matt in southern Ohio, that region could rise again. But not to overlook others. Tom Howard in New York does yeoman duty for us, and there is Ryan in CT.

I could go on, but there is an interesting dynamic at work here. Someone in a region comes forward to take the lead and that encourages others to follow. The unpredictability of who's going to be next makes the game all the more exciting. And now we're seeing geographical regions for which we've previously had little or no data starting to be represented. Picking up the West Coast experts, we now have direct access to the measurements for the Redwoods and Sequoias, and lately other species that nobody previously reported on. Michael Taylor, Mario Vaden, and Zane Moore are constantly rewriting the record books out there. Not to be too modest, I'll accept a pat on the back or two for the Rocky Mountain region and Hawaii. But both these areas have vast untapped potential, and a once per year visit just doesn't do the job. However, with Eric Morgan now located in Arizona, I believe we're going to start getting some good coverage in the Southwest - hopefully Eric can scout out Arizona, New Mexico, and southern California as his time permits. Comparable to the Marines, NTS is looking for a few good measurers. I think Eric well fits the requirement.

In terms of format for reporting trees on a max list, I well understand where you are coming from. We tend to go overboard. If the format doesn't work for the measurer, then it isn't going to be used. As a minimum I believe we need the following columns in an Excel spreadsheet. Not all columns would be filled in for each tree.

Country
State or Province
County or Township
Property Owner
Site Name
Subsite
Latitude
Longitude
Species (Scientific)
Species (Common)
Measurer
Date of Measurement
Height
Method of Height Measurement
Girth
Height at which girth is taken
Maximum Spread
Average Spread
Area of Crown Coverage
Trunk Volume
Limb Volume
Comments

Again, I stress, not all columns would be filled for a tree. For example, volume will seldom be measured. But these would be the columns in the order shown. No extra or stray columns. We need standardization. Columns with numeric entries would be entered as pure numbers (no text) to allow for aggregation, automatic selection of maximum and minimum, and averaging, where appropriate. If the format is absolutely standardized, consolidations become relatively easy and can be automated. Maybe the ENTS database could be tweaked to accept Excel data in the above format. That would be a huge step forward in our data organization.

I'll close with a reinforcement of our measuring mission. We pride ourselves on having a big tent to cover diverse tree interests. That will not change. However, the one activity in which we unquestionably excel is in locating and accurately measuring trees and documenting sites to a new level of quantitative completeness not elsewhere available. In terms of documenting the superlatives and exploring species maximums, nobody can realistically dispute this. Our calling positions us to make contributions to scientific research if we so choose - and I do wish that we'd choose more often. It is true that many other people could enter the field and perform just as well as we do, but to this point in time, they haven't. So we have a very important role to continue playing if truth in the numbers is to be important, in the least. It would be satisfying if there was more recognition from outside sources of our role without our needing to toot our own whistle, but alas, self-promotion continues to be required. Ed Frank is presently working on a Wikipedia post on tree measuring for non-commercial purposes. He and I had discussed it at length months ago. Obviously, Will, Michael, and I will help Ed. But courtesy of Ed's initiative, things are moving fast. Ed's initiative, my determination to complete Dendromorphometry (keep your fingers crossed), and the indispensable bread and butter contributions of the rest of you could make 2013 our banner year. All we'll need is a symphony to and by the trees by Michael Gatonska to herald our accomplishments.

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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pdbrandt
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Re: Customary New Years Resolutions

Post by pdbrandt » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:03 pm

eliahd24 wrote:
Other projects I want to FINISH in 2013 include the following:
-Updated Rucker10 for major sites in Atlanta (probably 20 sites more or less)
-Tally of Atlanta tuliptrees over 155' with GPS coord's (there's just too many to have a threshold lower than that)
-Tally of all the tuliptrees i've measured over 13' CBH in Atlanta (a list about 60 trees deep now including our first in the 16'x150' club)
-Tape drop of the 4 tallest trees in Atlanta, all of which are tuliptrees over 160' (this will be a challenge as I don't have the talent, experience or tools... maybe I can entice Will or other regional NTSers to take a road trip to Atlanta...)
-Update the Atlanta Rucker 10, R20 and R50 (no, that's not a typo)
-Continue to update Atlanta and Georgia Champion Tree Lists with new champions (and replace recently deceased champions)

....what else is there?? thoughts? anyone wanna help? ;)

~Eli
Hey Eli,

I have been trying to get down to Atlanta for some time to see the TCI headquarters and climb with Peter Jenkins, the Maher brothers and other Canopy Chatter forum friends. Atlanta is the recreational tree climbing Mecca as I'm sure you know. Your request for Tulip tree measuring assistance is one more great reason to make such a visit happen. I would love to lend any assistance I can. I know for sure I will be making a road trip to Atlanta in September and I look forward to meeting you then if not sooner.

Patrick
Patrick

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Re: Customary New Years Resolutions

Post by eliahd24 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:08 pm

Patrick- I'm good friends with Peter and Patty Jenkins. They are great people and a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm. I'd be happy to show you some of my secret tree sites when you visit. I'm a novice climber and would also welcome your help in learning more and/or helping to measure one of Atlanta's tallest tuliptrees. Hit me up offline any time: eli_dickerson (at) yahoo (dot) com. Cheers!

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Re: Customary New Years Resolutions

Post by eliahd24 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:35 am

Thank you for the detailed reply Bob. I plan to use your suggested fields to update my current data before adding new data from the 2012-2013 "season". I'll be in touch with Jess to see how many of my height champs he has dethroned without sharing. I kid, I kid but serious that guy is amazing and has been measuring trees since grunge music was popular!!

Let's use this momentum to continue propelling us forward in our very worthy endeavors in 2013 and beyond.

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