Measuring Odd Tree Forms

General discussions of measurement techniques and the results of testing of techniques and equipment.

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru, edfrank, dbhguru

#11)  Re: Measuring Odd Tree Forms

Postby dbhguru » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:40 pm

Ed,

   When I get to Kauai tomorrow and settle down, I'll start looking for variant tree forms to photograph. Maybe if we collect a lot of images, we'll get more ideas. However, your categorization is making more and more sense.

Larry,

   You should have seen me negotiate that 30-foot wave surfing only on the souls of my feet. Hmm, wonder what's in this drink I'm having. Oooh, packs a punch.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
User avatar
dbhguru
 
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:34 pm
Location: Florence, Massachusetts
Has Liked: 0 times
Has Been Liked: 730 times
Print view this post

#12)  Re: Measuring Odd Tree Forms

Postby edfrank » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:11 am

Bart Bouricius wrote:Height is no problem, well not impossible, and for volume, cut the tree thingy off at the base or bases or stems, roots, whatever, then pick it up with a helicopter and place it in a tank large enough to hold it.  tie it to the bottom fill the tank with water, then remove it.  Measure how much the water went down and you have your volume without all those fancy shmancy mathematical models involved.  I am still puzzling over what we could call a circumference though.  We do have to define it in order to measure it.  Is this a start on your proposal Ed?


Bart,

I don't think we should get caught up in the dilemma and false bravado of trying to say the measurements define the tree.  The approach should be more along the idea that the mathematics and the measurements are being used as a vocabulary to discuss a particular  tree and to discuss and compare one tree with another.  We need to find and take those measurements that are most descriptive and form the best vocabulary for these physical one aspect of the tree's nature.  There are the ideas of artistry as an aspect, and of presence as an aspect. These are equally valid concepts and need to be included in the discussions of the nature of these trees. The measurements are a part of the whole, not the entirety of what we should be considering.  We need to develop a vocabulary suitable for these trees with unusual forms.

Ed Frank
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky
User avatar
edfrank
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4100
{ IMAGES }: 0
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:46 pm
Location: Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania, USA
Has Liked: 822 times
Has Been Liked: 600 times
Blog: View Blog (3)
Print view this post

#13)  Re: Measuring Odd Tree Forms

Postby dbhguru » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:27 am

Ed,

  You are spot on. Yes, we need a new vocabulary to use in describing the range of tree forms, and yes, the math should be a part of the vocabulary, but certainly not be the arbiter of truth. When I get to Kauai, I intend to turn my attention to photography and submit as many images of the range of forms as I can manage. I will make no judgements or draw no conclusions.

   The view below looks up into a banyan.

               
                       
Banyon-4.jpg
                                       
               


    Here is a common form for the coastal mahogany.

               
                       
SeaView-5.jpg
                                       
               


Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
User avatar
dbhguru
 
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:34 pm
Location: Florence, Massachusetts
Has Liked: 0 times
Has Been Liked: 730 times
Print view this post

#14)  Re: Measuring Odd Tree Forms

Postby edfrank » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:30 am

mdvaden wrote:It would not get me to rethink champion tree measuring too much more than, say, clonal aspen groves. For the reason that both are not merely multiple stems, but also multiple roots. There's a bunch of extra roots sending water and nutrients to the complex of wood and leaves.

Still a pretty cool tree though.

I'd be inclined to vote for having a second category. One for the champion with a single stem, and maybe another champion category for an organism of a species where extra trunks or adventitious root stems could be added.

...


Mario,

The problems faced by measuring these banyan type trees and the clonal colonies are very analogous.  For these types I am thinking that a key descriptor of the trees or colonies may be the area they occupy.  I also like the idea of figuring out how many trunks or aerial roots they have where that determination is practical, the height, and again if practical the girth of the largest individual stem.  If you look at my listing referenced in a precious post, I have a number of categories of unusual forms.  I think all are justifiable distinctions.  It is not reasonable to try to have a champion for each category as many of the forms are so unusual or unique to a particular tree or circumstance that in these cases calling one a champion and another not does not really make sense.  I can see a champion list for single trunk trees, multitrunk trees based upon basically the same criteria with the addition of listing the number of stems in the mass, and for things like the clonal colonies and large figs maybe area is the way to go.  That is how some of the large clonal colonies of box-huckleberry bushes are described also.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky
User avatar
edfrank
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4100
{ IMAGES }: 0
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:46 pm
Location: Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania, USA
Has Liked: 822 times
Has Been Liked: 600 times
Blog: View Blog (3)
Print view this post

#15)  Re: Measuring Odd Tree Forms

Postby dbhguru » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:10 pm

Ed, et al

 For many of the banyans, forget measuring the largest trunk. Even if you could identify it, you probably couldn't get to it.

  The area within the perimeter of the vertical trunks/roots, the area shaded by the crown, and the height are logicals.

   Trunk/root density should figure in to the determination, but I don't have an idea on how to make the measurement.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
User avatar
dbhguru
 
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:34 pm
Location: Florence, Massachusetts
Has Liked: 0 times
Has Been Liked: 730 times
Print view this post

#16)  Re: Measuring Odd Tree Forms

Postby edfrank » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:03 pm

dbhguru wrote:Ed, et al

 For many of the banyans, forget measuring the largest trunk. Even if you could identify it, you probably couldn't get to it.     The area within the perimeter of the vertical trunks/roots, the area shaded by the crown, and the height are logicals.  
   Trunk/root density should figure in to the determination, but I don't have an idea on how to make the measurement.

Bob


Bob,

The girth/size of the largest trunk should be measured where it can, and where it can't, it can't.  Maybe a reticule could be used ins some cases with some interpolation. I am not sure that perimeter around the trunks/area occupied by the trunks/roots versus perimeter of the crown/shaded crown area would be much different in terms of providing a unique descriptor.  I could see in smaller specimens a marked difference between the two,  but as the mass grew larger in size, while the overall shaded area would always be larger, the area occupied by the trunks would be a a larger and larger proportion of the total. This area consideration is an important descriptor for these types of trees and I am leaning toward crown shade area as the more significant of the two....

We need to get a handle on what changes in the specimens as they grow from a smaller unit to a larger mass.  What changes in terms of defined trunks, crown shape, etc. - how do the larger forms evolve over time and is that something we can breakdown into  stages?  What can we document, what can we describe, what can we photograph, and what can we measure that better help us describe this growth process?

What variations are there between large specimens of a particular species or group of closely related species, and what is the cause of these variations?  What differences are there between open grown specimens and those grown in a forested setting with other tall trees?  How can we capture those differences?

Edward Frank

.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky
User avatar
edfrank
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4100
{ IMAGES }: 0
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:46 pm
Location: Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania, USA
Has Liked: 822 times
Has Been Liked: 600 times
Blog: View Blog (3)
Print view this post

#17)  Re: Measuring Odd Tree Forms

Postby dbhguru » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:59 am

Ed,

   After my Hawaii education, I'll address some of the points you made in your last post on measuring odd tree forms. One observation you made is the need to know how the form of a species changes as it grows into maturity and beyond. From what I saw of the banyans, ohias, koas, ironwoods, acacias, coastal mahoganies, etc. that form gets increasing complex, unruly, and most importantly, unpredictable. However, this observation does not apply to species like the cook pine, the form of which remains largely predictable. So, unfortunately, I see no universal principle at play that we can rely on. It is species specific.

   In terms of which serves to reflect over all growth better, crown coverage or basal perimeter, well, sometimes one and sometimes the other. For a tree in a park that has no surrounding competition, I'd go with crown coverage. However, once we enter a rainforest environment, we can throw the rule book out the window. All bets are off. For instance, I have come across photos of ohias on Kauai that are structures of multiple trees that started at different times plus the usual kind of coppicing following injury. The result is a complex form that is irregular and bizarre and offers no clues as to simplification.

   When we were just the Eastern Native Tree Society focused on the eastern USA, discussions such as these would have been purely academic, but as we extend our reach to more geographical regions, the academic fades in light of on-ground realities. It's as if we began as zoologists measuring the lengths and girths of eels, and after a period of comfort, ran headlong into a giant octopus. What to do? What to do? The traditional tree measurer simply ignores the implications of the bizarre new form and tries to force the old system. But we Ents can do better - I think.

   Remembering the coastal mahoganies on the Big Island, I am reminded of Larry Tucei's live oaks. Number, size, and length of limbs become the governing attributes. Heights may be relatively to measure, but they don't count for much, nor does girth of the organism at a few feet off the ground. What happens thereafter dictates the form and directs our attention to either a few large limbs or a more or less equal distribution of a larger number of limbs in an upside down octopus like structure. In some cases, a dominant limb thrusting outward, dipping to the ground and rising again is the dominant feature. It is a limb-dominant form as opposed to a trunk-dominant form.

   One point I must emphasize is that these trees cannot be conceptually extracted from their environment and measured as an abstraction. They are structures that have developed over time in unpredictable ways. Casual observation will not settle the issue as to what is the original part of the structure versus a coppice versus what was a separate seed landing in an area of decay and sprouting as a separate organism. A scientific investigation would solve the puzzle, but we can't turn a single tree into a career. So, do we concern ourselves with such challenging forms through a comparative system or treat each as its own universe?

   In 2014, or before, Monica and I will return to the Islands and hopefully, I'll be better prepared to quantify what I'm seeing. All I could do this time was stand with my mouth agape. The very real possibility exists that these tree structures present problems of measurement to solve well beyond my pay grade. I'll end with an image of ohias on the big island. These are tree forms that are easy to deal with. I'll present images of challenging ones in future posts.

               
                       
Hawaii-MaunaLoa-10.jpg
                                       
               


Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
User avatar
dbhguru
 
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:34 pm
Location: Florence, Massachusetts
Has Liked: 0 times
Has Been Liked: 730 times
Print view this post

#18)  Re: Measuring Odd Tree Forms

Postby edfrank » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:46 pm

Bob,

I appreciate your comments.  If you look at what I write when I do trip reports, I always try to include a description of the overall site and of the forest in general, along with what historical context I can find for the site.  I have in the past also had a tendency to rail against modelers who tend to ignore things they cannot easily quantify in their model and would simply pretend these factors did not even exist.  At some point we need as a group to do better in our descriptions of sites we visit.  I was so impressed, when I first started to participate, by the detail found in the reports published by Will Blozan and Jess Riddle in particular as they gave an impression of the overall forest, instead of just being a tabulation of numbers.  

This brings me to the odd formed trees you are finding in the tropics.  My multitrunk classification here: http://www.nativetreesociety.org/multi/index_multi.htm is meant to be a guideline of how to approach the measurement of some of these odd forms.  “The odd forms include those forms that grew because of unusual circumstances that affected the tree, or those trees that simply have an unusual growth form not seen in most other tree species.” They were devised as an approach to the problem of measuring these odd trees and not meant to be a rigid list of this must be done, and that must be done, but a way of looking at them.  I suggested what thought were things that could be measured on these forms and put it out there for discussion, but I received few comments and little input on the concepts.  

The approach I would take now on these trees is not so much different.  Since most of these trees are unique or unusual in there form and not amenable to easy measurement, the best approach, in my opinion, is to write a detailed narrative description of the tree with what measurements we can take used to amplify and better illuminate the descriptions.  My general comments above in post #16 still seem to be applicable:
We need to get a handle on what changes in the specimens as they grow from a smaller unit to a larger mass.  What changes in terms of defined trunks, crown shape, etc. - how do the larger forms evolve over time and is that something we can breakdown into stages?  What can we document, what can we describe, what can we photograph, and what can we measure that better help us describe this growth process? What variations are there between large specimens of a particular species or group of closely related species, and what is the cause of these variations?  What differences are there between open grown specimens and those grown in a forested setting with other tall trees?  How can we capture those differences?


These are still things we should try to investigate, even if the results are in a written narrative form rather than a collection of numerical measurements.  There are some things we should be trying to consistently measure whenever possible.  I think height is something that is measurable.  The area occupied by the trunks and the area occupied by the crown are similar values and are generally measurable.  The area occupied by the trunks might be easier to measure in some cases.  In open areas where the crown area could be measured more easily, maybe both values could be measured.  I would still like to see where applicable as idea of how many large trunks are included in the tree complex and the approximate size of the largest trunk if possible.  Other measurements could be taken where they seem to add to the narrative description of that particular tree.  

I think there are measurements we should plan on taking, and that should be measurable in most cases.  The maximum height of the complex should be measurable, the area occupied by the multiple trunks should be measurable, and in many cases the crown area should be measurable.  GPS locations should be taken whenever possible.  We need to know the location of our trees. If you can’t use a GPS instrument, the locations should be pulled from Google Maps, or topographic maps where possible.  Beyond this are things like number of trunks larger than x value, the maximum girth of the largest trunk, and whatever seems appropriate for that particular tree. So I would favor narrative descriptions, with some specific measurements that are included in most descriptions, and other measurements where useful to better describe the tree within the narrative.  

I also want to emphasize the importance of photographs of the tree.  There needs to be a process or system whereby the photos of a particular tree can be associated with the description of the tree in the researcher’s notes.  The goal of the narrative and measurements is to document the tree.  Photographs can immensely improve the understanding of what is being described, and help readers to visualize the tree.

Edward Frank

.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky
User avatar
edfrank
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4100
{ IMAGES }: 0
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:46 pm
Location: Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania, USA
Has Liked: 822 times
Has Been Liked: 600 times
Blog: View Blog (3)
Print view this post

#19)  Re: Measuring Odd Tree Forms

Postby dbhguru » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:18 pm

Ed,

  Your approach is not only reasonable, thinking back on the bizarre forms I saw, it may be our only realistic approach. The combination of narrative, measurements where they can be taken, a photograph, and GPS coordinates all are needed to do justice to the job. Dealing with the complex tree forms forces us to push the envelope in our thinking, and in the short term, if that is all that comes out of these discussions, our efforts will not have been for naught. In the long run, hopefully we'll add usable measurement methods for crown and basal areas. I intend to revisit my procedure for measuring area using a rangefinder, clinometer, and compass. The protocol I have now is too limited.

   A challenge we have is to persuade other Ents to try out Excel worksheets, such as those already developed, that do all the computations from a set of simple inputs. As part of the Dendromorphometry, I will revisit the area calculators. One thing I know, a trip to the tropics has the power to broaden one's perspective on what we consider to be a tree and approaches to measuring and comparing complex forms. And in terms of measuring, we have a long way to go to exhaust the photographic possibilities. Consider the following image and the associated calculations. Pretty darn good, huh?

               
                       
Screen shot 2012-12-31 at 8.54.22 AM.png
                                       
               


Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
User avatar
dbhguru
 
Posts: 3043
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:34 pm
Location: Florence, Massachusetts
Has Liked: 0 times
Has Been Liked: 730 times
Print view this post

#20)  Re: Measuring Odd Tree Forms

Postby KoutaR » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:48 am

Bob & Ed,

Perhaps a very rough volume estimate for trees like in Bob's message #1 could be obtained in the following way:

1. Measure the CBH of the whole trunk-aerial root complex.
2. Take a sample area inside the complex, e.g. 1m x 1m in the case of the first tree and perhaps 2m x 2m in the case of the second tree.
3. Measure the circumferences of all the trunks and aerial roots in the sample area.
4. Calculate cross section areas for all the trunks and roots from the circumferences and divide the sum by the whole sample area (e.g. 1m2 or 4m2 above). You get a "wood/air" ratio.
5. Use (("wood/air" ratio) * (CBH of the complex)) as a substitute for CBH.
6. The rest as with "normal" trees.

Kouta

For this message the author KoutaR has received Likes :
edfrank
User avatar
KoutaR
 
Posts: 470
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:41 am
Location: Germany
Has Liked: 76 times
Has Been Liked: 170 times
Print view this post

PreviousNext

Return to Measurement and Dendromorphometry

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest