A 969-year-old Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

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#1)  A 969-year-old Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Postby PAwildernessadvocate » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:29 pm

Several years ago I posted this information to the old ENTS email list, so I thought I would repost it in the BBS forum too for people to see.

I have a copy of a USDA Forest Service publication titled "The Tionesta Natural and Scenic Area, Allegheny National Forest" and dated March 1943. The document focuses on the 4,100-acre Tionesta old-growth forest straddling the county line in southern Warren and McKean Counties. However, when describing the age and size that Eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) can achieve on page six it also mentions the following about a 969-year-old hemlock in Luzerne County:

The ability to grow slowly beneath the shade of competing trees and to outlive the hardwoods is characteristic of hemlock and is one reason why it is so abundant in the virgin forest. A hemlock cut in Luzerne County near Mud Lake in 1893 and carefully counted by Dr. D.S. Hartline gave the astonishing record of 969 years on the stump. This is the maximum age known for this species.


Has anyone ever seen any other documentation of Tsuga canadensis living more than 500 or 600 years or so? 969 years is amazing!

               
                       
Tionesta1943document2.jpg
                                       
               
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#2)  Re: A 969-year-old Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Postby James Parton » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:26 pm

WoW! I knew they could exceed 500 years but this surprises me. I am curious on what Will Blozan has to say on this.
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#3)  Re: A 969-year-old Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Postby edfrank » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:51 pm

Kirk,

The document "Hough, A. F. and Forbes, R. D.  1943.  The Ecology and Silvics of Forest in the High Plateaus of Pennsylvania, Ecological Monographs, Vol. 13, No. 3, July 1943" describes a 536 year old hemlock apparently located near the creek bottom of East Tionesta Creek.  It does not mention any older hemlocks being located.  I can email you a copy of the report if you are interested. (2.16 MB).

I have the 1977 report:  "Bjorkbom, John C., and Larson, Rodney G.  1977. The Tionesta Scenic and Research Natural Areas, Forest Service General technical Report NE-031, Upper Darby, PA: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experimental Station. 24 p."   http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/4015 It likewise does not mention the older tree from the report you mention.  

Charlie Cogsbill mentions a number of older hemlock trees in this discussion from our website:  http://www.nativetreesociety.org/specie ... ck_age.htm

The Hough reference is this article:  "Hough, A. F. 1960. Silvical characteristics of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis).  Res. Pap. NE-132. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 23 p.  http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/13718

At maturity, hemlock may reach large size and great age. The record for age is 988 years; for d.b.h., 84 inches; and for total height, 160 feet ( 23 , 53 ).3 ,7 These trees were in original old-growth stands.
 

The first reference cited by Hough 1960 is Frothingham, E. H. 1915. The eastern hemlock. U.S. Dept. Agr. Bul. 152. 43 pp., illus  http://www.archive.org/stream/bulletino ... t_djvu.txt  but it does not give really old tree ages in the text.    The second reference is Morey, H. F. 1936. Age-size relationship of Hearts Content, a virgin forest in northwestern Pennsylvania. Ecology 17: 251-257.  I don't have a copy of that article.

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#4)  Re: A 969-year-old Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Postby edfrank » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:02 am

Kirk's original post can be found here:

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/fieldt ... _in_pa.htm  

The Confirmed Ages for Eastern trees Thread can be found here:  
http://www.nativetreesociety.org/dendro ... _speci.htm

Neil Pederson's Eastern old-List is found here:  
http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~adk/oldlisteast/

There also is this report from Schalls Gap:
http://www.nativetreesociety.org/bullet ... v06_04.pdf
               
                       
schalls.JPG
                                       
               



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#5)  Re: A 969-year-old Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Postby jamesrobertsmith » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:45 am

When I was in Helvetia WV we looked at some local photos in the museum/library there featuring photos of some truly huge hemlock trees (felled, of course). Bigger than anything I saw in Cataloochee before hwa killed them all. No indication of how old they were, but they were enormous.

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#6)  Re: A 969-year-old Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Postby PAwildernessadvocate » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:07 am

edfrank wrote:The Hough reference is this article:  "Hough, A. F. 1960. Silvical characteristics of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis).  Res. Pap. NE-132. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 23 p.  http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/13718

At maturity, hemlock may reach large size and great age. The record for age is 988 years; for d.b.h., 84 inches; and for total height, 160 feet ( 23 , 53 ).3 ,7 These trees were in original old-growth stands.
 

The first reference cited by Hough 1960 is Frothingham, E. H. 1915. The eastern hemlock. U.S. Dept. Agr. Bul. 152. 43 pp., illus  http://www.archive.org/stream/bulletino ... t_djvu.txt  but it does not give really old tree ages in the text.    The second reference is Morey, H. F. 1936. Age-size relationship of Hearts Content, a virgin forest in northwestern Pennsylvania. Ecology 17: 251-257.  I don't have a copy of that article.


Thanks Ed. I have copies of the 1943 Hough & Forbes, and 1977 Bjorkbom & Larson documents. However, I had not seen the 1960 Hough document before, so thanks for the link. Another little tidbit of info that makes you think 900-1,000 year old hemlocks are not outside of the realm of possibility (or at least they used to be possible). Too bad he doesn't give the location of 988-year-old tree. Maybe that info is in the 1936 Morey paper, I'll try to track that one down.
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#7)  Re: A 969-year-old Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Postby PAwildernessadvocate » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:30 am

Here's a link to the 1915 Frothingham publication on Google Books:

http://books.google.com/books?id=NheCnV ... ck&f=false

I don't see a way to convert this to a PDF though. You can read it online, but I'd like to download it and print it out to read. I don't really like reading documents that large online.

You can purchase a PDF of the 1936 Morey article here for $14:

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1 ... 6309675853

I don't feel like spending $14 on it though, so I'm going to try a source where I think I can probably get a copy for free.
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#8)  Re: A 969-year-old Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Postby edfrank » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:43 am

Here is a version of Frothingham (1915) in Word - I saved the image file from each page and compiled them:

               
                       
Frothingham 1915 The eastern hemlock Tsuga canadensis (Linn.) Carr.docx
                                               
(2.43 MiB) Downloaded 34 times
               
               


and as a pdf:

               
                       
Frothingham 1915 The eastern hemlock Tsuga canadensis (Linn.) Carr.pdf
                                               
(2.55 MiB) Downloaded 29 times
               
               


.
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#9)  Re: A 969-year-old Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Postby dbhguru » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:18 am

Ed, et. al.,

  In conversations with Charlie Cogbill, he rejects, or at least suspects, the validity of the 988 figure. He came to believe that it was an extrapolation. We'll never know for sure.

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#10)  Re: A 969-year-old Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Postby James Parton » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:12 am

We have lost so many ancient ones to hwa.
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