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Europe vs. the eastern US - comparing tree heights

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:42 pm
by KoutaR
NTS,

The two regions with deciduous broadleaf forest as natural vegetation – Europe and eastern North America – apparently have quite similar potentials for native tree heights. If we compare laser/tape measured absolute height records, Europe leads at the moment. However, if we compare Rucker indexes the east US wins due to higher species diversity.

I tried to find a new method for the comparison. We cannot compare what species reach in the two regions as there are very few shared native species, but we can compare genera. In the table below, I have listed the height records by genera in the both regions. Only those genera are included for which there are known laser/tape measurements in the both regions in the native species ranges. For Europe, I did not include the species in the Canary Islands as it is unclear if the islands are in Europe. I did also not include Larix decidua (European larch) as all the measurements we have are outside its native range. Further, I did not include Sorbus domestica and S. torminalis (which both are much taller than S. aucuparia) because according to the molecular studies they should be placed in their own genera (as Cormus domestica and Torminalis clusii). The averages of the genus records for the two regions are very close to each others.

               
                       
EurVsEastUS.jpg
                                       
               

I suppose that the measurers pay less attention to the low tree species than to tall ones, so the records of the tall species may be closer to the actual height potentials. In the second table below I have included only the genera with known 20+ m trees in both regions. Now we end up in the exactly same averages!

               
                       
EurVsEastUS20.jpg
                                       
               

Please correct me if there are errors in the US records.

Kouta

Re: Europe vs. the eastern US - comparing tree heights

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:35 pm
by Will Blozan
Kouta,

Very interesting indeed. I want to ponder this comparison more but aside from the A. saccharum height (where was this from? Old Boat Gunnel Flats/Kalanu Prong, TN trees? If so, it was an error when bases of two separate trees were thought to be one in the viewing angle...) all else looks good.

Too bad Carya, Magnolia are not a common genus. Also, you compare a "soft" pine with "hard"- perhaps this could be compared within sub-groups? Same with Quercus?

Just some initial thoughts.

Will

Re: Europe vs. the eastern US - comparing tree heights

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:37 pm
by Matt Markworth
Kouta,

Cool comparison. I wasn't aware of the 56.4' Cornus florida and would be interested to learn more about it. Do you have the reference for that one?

Thanks,
Matt

Re: Europe vs. the eastern US - comparing tree heights

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:37 am
by KoutaR
Will, I took the A. saccharum height from here:
http://www.nativetreesociety.org/bigtre ... e_list.htm
Indeed, it seems to be a Kalanu Prong tree. What is the actual height record for A. saccharum? 144.2 ft?

Carya, Magnolia and many others grew in Europe before the Ice Ages but many geographical structures in Europe (the Baltic Sea, the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Carpathians, the Mediterranean Sea) are west-east oriented - bad thing for species migrations in front of the flucuating glaciers.

Comparing subgenera instead of genera is a good idea but I think it should then be done for all the genera - otherwise we are biased towards the charismatic genera. Unfortunately, we have no reliable measurements for the European soft pines. Pinus sibirica in southern Russia may reach about the same height as P. sylvestris and P. nigra. There are no red oaks in Europe.

Matt, I have got the Cornus florida height from a message on the BBS or from an e-mail. I cannot find the source for now. Nice if somebody confirms the height.

Kouta

Re: Europe vs. the eastern US - comparing tree heights

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:06 am
by Bart Bouricius
Interesting idea, I am thinking it might be interesting, though probably difficult, to also consider the size of the areas that are considered to be "old growth" on either side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Re: Europe vs. the eastern US - comparing tree heights

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:23 am
by Will Blozan
Kouta,

Sorry about the maple error. I went back to remeasure the tree on Kalanu and it was ~138'. Not bad though... And yes, 144' would be the next but it is historical- the top has died back and is now a bit under 142' as of 2010.

I believe the 56' dogwood is in Atlanta, GA and measured by Eli Dickerson. Similar heights are in PA (?Scott Wade) and TN (Smokies 2 @ 55'+).

Will