Interesting book: The Bristlcone Book, by Ronald M. Lanner

General discussions of forests and trees that do not focus on a specific species or specific location.

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

Post Reply
ryandallas
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:23 pm

Interesting book: The Bristlcone Book, by Ronald M. Lanner

Post by ryandallas » Sat Feb 13, 2016 9:12 pm

Some interesting facts contained therein:

The three bristlecone pines--foxtail pine, Rocky Mountain bristlecone, and Great Basin bristlecone--all develop interfoliar shoots, or shoots emerging from needle fascicles. Due to this unusual growth pattern, the bristlecones, like Thuja plicatas, develop a "candelbra" outline. Only these three pines develop these shoots. Without them, these trees would not live nearly as long.

Great Basin bristlecones lack senescence. Their metabolisms never slow down. Why, scientists don't know.

Great Basin Bristlecones, erm, commit suicide. A tree depletes the soil beneath it until the soil erodes and the tree falls. (This is not always the case, but it's very common.)

In bristlecones, annual growth rings are often as narrow as 1/200th of an inch.

Over time, Great Basins develop elliptical crowns. They (the crowns) are longest North-South. This is curious in and of itself, yet doubly curious when you consider wind patterns. This growth pattern does not streamline the trees--it does the exact opposite! On those barren mountaintops, westerly winds are the most brutal.

An excellent book. Please support Mr. Lanner.

User avatar
Rand
Posts: 1217
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:25 pm

Re: Interesting book: The Bristlcone Book, by Ronald M. Lann

Post by Rand » Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:24 pm

ryandallas wrote:
Over time, Great Basins develop elliptical crowns. They (the crowns) are longest North-South. This is curious in and of itself, yet doubly curious when you consider wind patterns. This growth pattern does not streamline the trees--it does the exact opposite! On those barren mountaintops, westerly winds are the most brutal.
I bet the tree is maximizing sun exposure during the summer months/growing season, where the sun sets/rises further north than the winter.

User avatar
Don
Posts: 1560
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: Interesting book: The Bristlcone Book, by Ronald M. Lann

Post by Don » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:23 pm

Ryan/Rand-
I too found this trio interesting. These three share another trait, with western white pine, whitebark pine, limber pine and sugar pines all have 5 needles per fascicle (bundle), which is thought to be an advantage in gathering sunlight. Another feature that the trio shares is the closing down of energy loss with the needles regrouping to prevent stomatal 'leakage' in stressful times. These 5 needle pines also are more commonly found at higher elevations, with their advantages in the extremes encountered there, at or near timberline.
One of the mechanisms that the bristlecone family share is the ability to operate with incredible economy, with extreme examples of trees thousands of years old maintaining existence through surprisingly narrow strips of cambium. I haven't read Lanner, but I wouldn't necessarily characterize their metabolism as "never slowing down".
I hadn't noticed in my own investigations of the 'Bristlecone National Forest' that their crowns were elliptical, but suspect that, as Rand hints, that is a feature that allows them to more effectively capture solar energy with long eastern/western aspect/exposures. I'll be looking for this in my next visit this Fall.
Attaching my favorite Pinus longaeva images:
These are two bristlecone pines with distinct geneologies
These are two bristlecone pines with distinct geneologies
View is to the South, with crowns elliptically aligned East and West. There is a bronze plaque nearby that discusses the two distinct geneologies of these trees less than 50' apart. The one of the left, is described as having 'straight grain' whereas the one on the right has a spiraling grain. The cones of these to variants also differ, in color and shape. The one on the left has an aluminum tag stamped 00 on the backside (away from the trail that crosses between them. These two are of the northernmost extent of the stand that is known as the Schulman Grove as it drops into a saddle between 'groves' further North, and into a similarly high elevation zone (+ or - 11,000'). Neither one has 'committed suicide' although they are of significant longevity.
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

User avatar
Don
Posts: 1560
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: Interesting book: The Bristlcone Book, by Ronald M. Lann

Post by Don » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:38 pm

Rand/Ryan-
Attaching other images of interest...
09MISCELLANY 112.jpg
The following images include groupings of bristlecones that generally arrange themselves in an East/West array, presumably not interfering with each other's Southern exposure?
For scale, note Lacey, our beloved 70 pound yellow lab at the left...
DSCN1811x1.jpg
Changing locations from the White Mountains, about 50 miles SW across the Owen River Valley (some 8-10,000 feet lower) and back up on the Sierra Nevadas at around 10,000-11,000' to a Foxtail Pine forest (intermixed with lodgepole pines), found along the trail going from Cottonwood Meadow to an 11,000' pass to the North. Although not in this image, one can distantly see Foxtail Pine forests, from Bristlecone Pine forests (and vice versa).
DSCN1765.jpg
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

Post Reply

Return to “General Discussions”