Last night, I finely jumped into the huge project of revising our draft book on Dendromorphometry. Folks, it is no small task. I'd been dragging my feet, knowing what lay ahead. The first draft, which was a huge undertaking in itself, languished while several of us forged ahead, developing new methods of tree measuring. But, it became apparent that we needed to hold off and allow time for developments to be completed. However, now it is time to produce, to get the show on the road. I am confident that we've got enough material to write one heck of a book. In fact, we have so much material that our plan is to divide it into elementary, intermediate, and advanced sections on tree measuring.
For new members who are unfamiliar with the book project, when completed, we believe that the book will be the definitive guide to measuring trees in the field, at least for the types of measurements that interest us, and by dividing the book into three distinct sections, we will be providing material for the widest range of potential readers. Folks who are just beginning will find straightforward explanations of tree measuring. That section will basically be a Tree Measuring 101 guide. It will stand on its own. For people who want to achieve the highest levels of accuracy attainable with affordably priced laser rangefinders, clinometers, and compasses available today, the intermediate section has them in mind. And for those who want to push the envelope as far as it can be pushed, we will have an advanced section. The heavy math types can check out our formulas by following our derivations in the appendices. In addition to mathematical derivations, there will be other appendices that give interesting lists of all kinds - measurements for outstanding trees. We will also have appendices that evaluate specific equipment. This latter set could almost be a book itself.
I expect that there will eventually be more than one version of our book. The initial plan is to produce a hardcopy version. Later there could be Internet options. I don't know how that would work, but as you might expect, the Internet is where Ed Frank comes in. But we need to get much farther down the road before bugging Ed. However, at some point, Ed's role will become important, and sooner than later, if it turns out that a hardcopy version proves not to be feasible.
The primary authors of the book in terms of producing the hardcopy draft include Dr. Lee Frelich, Dr. Don Bragg, Dr. Robert Van Pelt, Will Blozan, Michael Taylor, and yours truly. Since I am retired, and none of the other coauthors are, it falls to me to produce most of the draft. At this point, the plan is to include a forward, an introduction, elementary, intermediate, and advanced sections on measuring, and an extensive set of appendices. My specific role will be to produce the introduction, the elementary section, most of the intermediate, and some of the appendices. Will will add material in the intermediate section on tape drop measuring and volume modeling. It will then fall to Michael Taylor to produce the advanced section, some of the appendices, and provide better graphics than I was able to muster for draft #1. BVP will no doubt be involved with the graphics. When we have completed the draft, Don Bragg will take it and format it appropriate to a technical publication. The result will then be given to Lee, who will assume control at that point to get the work published. If this sounds like we're highly compartmentalized in our roles - not so. There will be complete coordination at every step of the way. The need for continuous coordination is the lesson learned from draft #1. I was the Lone Ranger in draft #1, and that afforded too many opportunities to go astray.
At the point that the draft is complete, I presume that Lee and Don will find some willing reviewers so that before taking the final step with respect to a publisher, the draft will have been properly reviewed. However, in terms of overall organization, we will remain with the basic plan. There are fundamental, sound reasons to split the book into the three sections previously described. In all probability, the market wouldn't be there for standalone intermediate and advanced versions.
As a side issue, and to keep all of you informed, on Dec 12th Michael Taylor and I will have our second consultive session with Laser Technologies Inc. LTI makes the Impulse 200LR, the RD1000, the TruPulse 200, and the TruPulse 360, among other instruments. Michael owns an Impulse 200LR and a TruPulse 200. I own an RD1000, a TruPulse 200, and a TruPulse 360. Michael now has on loan a TruPulse 360 and advanced mapping software. LTI is dead serious about the recommendations we made in the first consultation session. What is especially exciting now is that it appears that American Forests will be part of the Dec 12th meeting, courtesy of Michael's invitation to them. This is an important development, and opens the door to American Forests becoming a more important player in "high-end" tree measuring. That can only lead to good things for all concerned. In particular, it could result in closer cooperation between American Forests and NTS. That is a relationship that I have sought in the past, and almost pulled off a couple of times, but the stars weren't in alignment then. Now, they just may be.
I realize that many NTS members are not into heavy tree measuring, and that is just fine. There is no reason for every Ent to pursue the quantitative side of our passion. There is plenty to do along artistic, historical, and cultural lines, and just simple enjoyment of trees with no particular goal in mind. So, please don't view those of us with the measuring gene jumping all the time as not considering the other missions of NTS as equally important to our own. However, I do hope that all members will take pride in being part of what is arguably the Cadillac tree measuring group on the planet. No false modesty there, folks. Facts are facts. We produce.
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest