New beech height record

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#1)  New beech height record

Postby KoutaR » Sat May 04, 2013 9:04 am

               
                       
KleinengeleinParzelle4.jpg
                                       
               

NTS,

“Kleinengelein” is an old European beech (Fagus sylvatica) stand west of Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany, well-known for its exceptional tree heights. The old stand is only 5.4 ha (13 ac) in area. Since 1951, only dying trees have been removed, and since 1995 there has been no maintenance. Now there are already many fallen large trees and snags.

               
                       
Kleinengelein-fallen_treesKarlheinz.jpg
                       
Photo by Karlheinz.
               
               

The reserve was extended to 53.7 ha (133 ac) in 2010. The dominant tall trees germinated between 1763 and 1793. In addition, there are probably even older trees from the late 1600’s. In 1984, the wood volume of the densest 0.5 ha plot was 772 m3/ha being equivalent to approx. 500 t/ha of stem biomass. The altitude is 400-440 m with a north-eastern to eastern aspect. Soils are fertile brown earths and annual precipitation is 750-800 mm.

Recently, Karlheinz and I spent two days measuring the tall beeches of Kleinengelein. Measuring was difficult due to the dense, large crowns, even though they were leafless.

               
                       
Kleinengelein-Karl_measures.jpg
                       
Karlheinz measures the second tallest beech.
               
               

Karlheinz had contacted the foresters and the Munich University researcher who had last measured the stand in 2006, and we had a table showing tree numbers and their heights. In 2006, the trees had been measured using the tangent method but the measurements appeared to be very good for tangent measurements, the mean difference between the 2006 and our measurements being about 1.7 %. The tallest tree in the Munich University data was 47.8 m tall. We were able to confirm that it really is the tallest tree of the stand. Our measurements with Nikon Laser 550A S instruments gave its height as 46.8 m =154 ft (at least two tops at this height).

               
                       
Kleinengelein4-317-2-NTS.jpg
                       
The tallest beech. The white mark is at 1 m height. The arrow shows the tallest top.
               
               


               
                       
Kleinengelein4-317-1-NTS.jpg
                       
Another view to the tallest beech.
               
               

It is possible that there is a still higher top even if we spent many hours searching for the tallest top and good measuring locations; this tree was difficult to measure due to its broad crown and other dense-crowned beeches around it. This is the new European beech height record. Its CBH is 310 cm (=122''). The second tallest beech that we found was only 20 cm lower, 46.6 m (= 153 ft), with the CBH of 313 cm (=123'').

               
                       
Kleinengelein46.6m-NTS.jpg
                       
The second tallest beech. The arrow shows the tallest top.
               
               


               
                       
Kleinengelein46.6mKoutaKarl-NTS.jpg
                       
Kouta, the second tallest beech and Karlheinz.
               
               

We found seven beeches at least 45 m in height. The thickest (dead) tree had CBH of 405 cm = 159’’.

               
                       
Kleinengelein41m-base-NTS.jpg
                       
One of the thickest live trees. Height 41 m (135'), CBH 369 cm (145'').
               
               

The forest has originally been a managed beech-oak mix. The oaks have mostly been cut. Now there are a few sessile oaks (Quercus petraea) but they are only about 30 m tall. Otherwise the stand is almost pure beech. We recorded a few saplings of silver birch (Betula pendula), hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) and Norway spruce (Picea abies).

UPDATE MAY 2013:
The tallest reliably measured beech is now 49.3 m tall:
viewtopic.php?f=198&t=5400&p=23625#p23625

Kouta
Last edited by KoutaR on Fri May 17, 2013 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#2)  Re: New beech height record

Postby Will Blozan » Sat May 04, 2013 10:08 am

Very nice! As always, your posts are so informative, well photographed and exciting. It is fascinating to me how much is known about stand initiation dates. This really helps understand the capabilities of a species.

Will
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#3)  Re: New beech height record

Postby dbhguru » Sat May 04, 2013 12:44 pm

Kouta,

    I second brother Will's comments. Those beech are absolutely spectacular - and in a managed forest. It will be a cold day in hell over here before we'll see comparable trees in an eastern managed forest. The American paradigm is the skimpier the better. If a hardwood gets to a diameter of 20 inches and height of 80 feet, it's time for that sucker to pay for itself. Out of the forest it comes.

Bob
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#4)  Re: New beech height record

Postby KoutaR » Sat May 04, 2013 12:46 pm

Thanks Will!

It is fascinating to me how much is known about stand initiation dates.


As this was a managed stand in the past and it has been known for a long time that the location is exceptionally favorable, there are good records. All the trees in the study plots have also been cored during the studies of the last decades.

Kouta

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#5)  Re: New beech height record

Postby KoutaR » Sat May 04, 2013 1:15 pm

Bob,

Already when Kleinengelein was a managed forest, the policy was to spare the best trees. This is probably a reason for the exceptional heights today.

Kouta
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#6)  Re: New beech height record

Postby Bart Bouricius » Sun May 05, 2013 5:46 pm

Thanks for another great posting.  This reminds me of the beach tree forests I saw in Southern Sweden when I was going to school there in the early 70's, though I am sure the trees  were much smaller.
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#7)  Re: New beech height record

Postby mdvaden » Mon May 06, 2013 12:04 am

Wish my "plot" looked like that.

Ha ! I've got 3 purple beech planted in front - one of my favorite trees are the Fagus.

...
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#8)  Re: New beech height record

Postby DougBidlack » Tue May 07, 2013 7:32 am

Kouta,

I love reading your posts!  I wonder if you can compare this site with the one that Jeroen measured in Belgium.  It seems as though they were both planted around the same time as Jeroen mentions 1763-1793 for the Belgian site.  The trees that you measured were taller but they generally appear to be more slender than the Belgian site (Jeroen mentions girths from 10.46-15.3' in girth).  I also wonder about the biomass of the two sites and how they might compare.  Lastly, you say that the soils at Kleinengelein are fertile brown earths but I'm not entirely sure what that means.  The soils around Bamberg mostly seem to be sand if I remember correctly but it sounds like the soils at Kleinengelein are much better than just sand.

Doug
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#9)  Re: New beech height record

Postby KoutaR » Tue May 07, 2013 11:26 am

Thanks, all! We have a new find - a really surprise. A report follows soon...

Bart, are you originally from Sweden?

Doug, I haven't been to the Belgian site and I know it from Jeroen's writings only. Thus, I cannot compare the two sites, unfortunately.

I took the soil information from this paper:
http://www.wwk.forst.tu-muenchen.de/info/publications/OnlinePublications/318.pdf
According to the paper, the soils are sandy brown earths on sandstone. The terms "sandy" and "brown earth" describe different features of soil. "Sandy" describe the soil particle size. Brown earth is a soil type which is not podzolized because of non-acidic parent material, nutrient-rich plant litter and active soil fauna mixing the humus into the mineral soil. Brown earth may be sandy or silty, for example. However, I am not a soil expert. If somebody has something to correct or add, please do it.

Kouta
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#10)  Re: New beech height record

Postby Larry Tucei » Tue May 07, 2013 12:26 pm

Kouta-  Congrats on the Beech new records! Like everyone said a great post which is the norm for you. Like Bob pointed out we will never have a Forest with such management. Just think 3 or 4 centuries ago all of the worlds Forest would have trees of this magnitude and greater!  Larry
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