James, Gaines, Neil,
Thanks. And thanks, Ed, for posting the link. Along with Cook Forest and MTSF, Pack Forest is a true forest icon. It appeals to our lingering collective memories of the great pines of the pre-colonial Northeast. What a sight they must have been, and Pack Forest is as attractive as any white pine woodland I know of. I can't wait to get back up there and model the Grandmother white pine using the method that I've been perfecting. The method is attached. It is what will be used to model the tuliptree in Poplar Forest in April along with Will's climb. Gaines, can you come down and join us at Poplar Forest on April 22nd? James, can you come up from NC? At this point it looks like the team will consist of Will, myself, Dr. Nancy Weiss, and maybe Ranger Dan. But we could use more Ents. Lots more. This is a high visibility ENTS effort that is for a noble cause. As Poplar Forest's Director of Archeology stated: "Mr. Jefferson would have approved. Two of his favorite things were trees and mathematics".
As spring approaches, I find the tree projects on my plate growing without bounds. As of late, I've been working with Michael Taylor, the redwood guru in California, on his ingenious modeling method for measuring the height of a tree using three transit stations and 3 remote baselines. It involves the iterative solution of 3 simultaneous equations, so it is not for the faint-hearted and it definitely requires a computer program. You cannot do the calculations in the field, but Mike's method promises accuracies of a centimeter or less. The method does not require any horizontal angles, believe it or not - only external baselines and vertical angles. I had to write a testing program using freeware called Chipmunk Basic to find a converging solution. Yep, Chipmumk Basic. I'm pleased to report that that darn little free rodent version of the Basic language works pretty well -- considering that it is free. But oh, how I miss Visual Basic. Alas, the price of converting to MAC. I can hear Ed saying, "I told you so". The MAC gives us Apple Script, a highly sophisticated, but difficult too learn scripting language that promises to automate everything and communicate with the dead. But my aging, nearly 70-year old brain just doesn't want to stretch to accommodate all the object-oriented concepts and many threads that this modern, all-purpose scripting language require you to learn. It attempts to be more English-like and in the process is verbose. I'd rather be out measuring trees.
Back to limb modeling. I would be most appreciative if any of you would give the attached LimbLengthModeler a test. I have successfully used it on three trees in the back. The first attachment shows one of the trees and the measurement points used. The calculations show that about 24% of the volume is in the thick limbs of this forest-grown oak. That is a little more than I expected. Bart Bouricius thinks that tuliptree limb mass for mature trees will be more on the order of 20%. Oak limbs are a little thicker on average. Limb volume as a percentage of the total is a result that we want to determine the tree being modeled in Virginia.
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Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest