Tree species range limits match former Ice Sheet Margin

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#11)  Re: Tree species range limits match former Ice Sheet Margin

Postby Joe » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:53 am

Don wrote:Joe-
Good question...could it be that the very soil source that sustained "the 19 species" was removed by the glaciation?
-Don


Well, probably--- but it's not as if there isn't good soil in places where the glacier reached to. Maybe those species are just slow at rebounding- I dunno. If they are planted north of their current range and do well, I'd presume they could have progressed that far on their own so it is a mystery. But, if they're planted- then will they "escape"? Maybe it's all just a coincidence?

Black locust, I believe, is not "native" to Massachusetts but once planted spreads easily and it's considered invasive. I've always presumed that it must have been native before the glaciation along with many other species. I can't imagine why it didn't spread on its own before being planted.

It's certainly a good question as it will be relevant when global warming "heats up", no pun intended.

I am particularly interested in this because I had a debate with my state's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program which tries to protect species near the edge of their range-  including trees- which has caused them to tell me that some species of trees near the edge of their range are VERBOTEN to cut. I wasn't happy about that- that an agency can restrict my silvicultural work with totalitarian power- causing one of many "wars" with state agencies. I couldn't even thin one species where there were dozens of specimens!
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#12)  Re: Tree species range limits match former Ice Sheet Margin

Postby Joe » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:57 am

Of course president Trump has declared global warming is fake news- so we don't have to be concerned about stress on flora and fauna. We can all relax now.
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#13)  Re: Tree species range limits match former Ice Sheet Margin

Postby AndrewJoslin » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:31 pm

Lucas wrote:I find it incredible that jays (maybe passenger pigeons) that spread oak seed far and wide would still produce the  restricted pattern seen. These trees will grow outside their range when planted so there has to be more to this.


Something to think about is that many species will grow out of range and will grow in habitat where they are not found "normally" when planted and cared for by humans. When you look at species composition in a tract of relatively undisturbed forest you'll find that many species locations are very specific to micro habitats. One question to ask is will a given species germinate on its own out of range and/or in unfavorable habitat? Taking that further a tree species may germinate and start to grow in unfavorable habitat and eventually not survive. Clearly there are more adaptive species that germinate and survive in a variety of habitats but many are specialists. Thinking Nyssa sylvatica which has very predictable habitat dependent locations where it grows in eastern Massachusetts. Quercus rubra, Pinus strobus or Acer rubrum for example are quite versatile, I can imagine them moving rapidly back into glaciated landscape.

Perhaps each of the 19 species mentioned are meeting one or more criteria for NOT moving back into glaciated areas: 1. Don't compete as well on assisted seed movement (jays etc) 2. Have more narrow germination/growth habitat requirements 3. Are more cold intolerant during germination and early growth phases.

That's just three limiting variables off the top of my head, some more learned forest ecologists could probably come up with more.
-AJ
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#14)  Re: Tree species range limits match former Ice Sheet Margin

Postby AndrewJoslin » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:39 pm

Joe wrote:I am particularly interested in this because I had a debate with my state's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program which tries to protect species near the edge of their range-  including trees- which has caused them to tell me that some species of trees near the edge of their range are VERBOTEN to cut. I wasn't happy about that- that an agency can restrict my silvicultural work with totalitarian power- causing one of many "wars" with state agencies. I couldn't even thin one species where there were dozens of specimens!
Joe


Wow, that's ironic considering the battle to save the mature tuliptrees from being logged at the northern edge of their natural range in Robinson State Park/Massachusetts.
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#15)  Re: Tree species range limits match former Ice Sheet Margin

Postby wisconsitom » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:01 am

Soil pH and CEC-cation exchange capacity-are two factors of extreme relevance to where a given plant species ends up not just living, but thriving.  Botanists of the past sometimes thought the distribution of native species across the continent was a complete mystery,with no underlying factors. The great plantsman Fernald showed this to be nonsense:  using tow quite opposite species, albeit both conifers, he used the soil requirements of jack pine and northern white cedar to show that these two occupied opposite ends of the soil pH spectrum.  Without going into those particular details, it can be shown that soil pH and the presence or absence of good supplies of mineral nutrients like calcium and magnesium say as much about where plant species end up as anything else.  In the case of jack pine, it thrives only in areas of very poor, sandy soil, with low pH and little CEC.  Northern white cedar-a plant which most of you only know of as a hamburger-bun-shaped shrub outside somebody's foundation, is a vigorous grower in the forests of places like eastern Wisconsin, eastern UP of Michigan, NE Maine, and adjacent New Brunswick...and a handful of other locations, you will have never seen this tree in its actual habitat.  It is a tree, with space between its branches, not a horribly dense, ungainly thing.  Very beautiful trees, among the very best.  But only doing well in areas where either dolomitic limestone is at or near the surface.......or where glaciation has dragged such materials back or forth into an area.  These are the areas where this tree reaches its maximal growth.  So it is related to glaciation, but not so simple as the initial subject of this thread.

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#16)  Re: Tree species range limits match former Ice Sheet Margin

Postby Joe » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:32 am

AndrewJoslin wrote:
Joe wrote:I am particularly interested in this because I had a debate with my state's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program which tries to protect species near the edge of their range-  including trees- which has caused them to tell me that some species of trees near the edge of their range are VERBOTEN to cut. I wasn't happy about that- that an agency can restrict my silvicultural work with totalitarian power- causing one of many "wars" with state agencies. I couldn't even thin one species where there were dozens of specimens!
Joe


Wow, that's ironic considering the battle to save the mature tuliptrees from being logged at the northern edge of their natural range in Robinson State Park/Massachusetts.
-AJ


Exactly, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. In the last decade, when the state of Mass. did many very poor quality logging projects in state forests- most broke many of the regulations. In Windsor State Forest I saw where a skidder drove RIGHT THROUGH a vernal pool. If I had done that, I'd be in Walpole prison. In Savoy Forest they clearcut to within 20' of a cemetery- and those trees within the 20' all fell on to gravestones. At Robinson, the plan was to bulldoze all the nice hiking trails to make them more accessible to skidders- and that park is only about 800 acres and surrounded by many cities- a favorite place for hiking, bird watching, dog walking, etc. being treated as if it were up in Maine. I went to look at a thinning in Sandisfield and was shocked to see 12" DBH red oak and sugar maple marked for cutting while leaving many low value trees. I could go on all day. Oh, there were many rare and endangered species in the 18 acre solar "farm" built next to my 'hood. I had called the natural heritage agency about that but they were not interested because governor Patrick was pushing solar. I really could write a book about forestry- the size of a James Michener novel.

Another- in Savoy they clearcut an 18 acre stand of mixed conifers (much of it was NS). They didn't remove the slash since the site is too far from any biomass plant. The slash was several feet deep! see my video on this: https://vimeo.com/2090043

The state has been trying to wipe out all non native species on state lands, meaning plantations of Norway spruce, Scotch pine- and even plantations of red pine. Many of these should have been thinned instead. The NS they hate because it's not native but it's a fine species. The state claimed they were all "decadent". But that's not true because I spent many hours hiking in those stands. They were very dense and made excellent winter shelter for deer and other species. Many of the red pine stands were stagnant but still could have been thinned rather than clearcut. My thought on why the states and feds like clear cutting isn't so much because it's more profitable (they're on salary so rational economics is irrelevant to them) but because clearcut projects are easier to set up- rather than spend the hours looking at every tree and pondering wildlife values, aesthetics, etc.

Joe

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#17)  Re: Tree species range limits match former Ice Sheet Margin

Postby AndrewJoslin » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:23 pm

wisconsitom wrote:Soil pH and CEC-cation exchange capacity-are two factors of extreme relevance to where a given plant species ends up not just living, but thriving.  Botanists of the past sometimes thought the distribution of native species across the continent was a complete mystery,with no underlying factors. The great plantsman Fernald showed this to be nonsense:  using tow quite opposite species, albeit both conifers, he used the soil requirements of jack pine and northern white cedar to show that these two occupied opposite ends of the soil pH spectrum.  Without going into those particular details, it can be shown that soil pH and the presence or absence of good supplies of mineral nutrients like calcium and magnesium say as much about where plant species end up as anything else.  In the case of jack pine, it thrives only in areas of very poor, sandy soil, with low pH and little CEC.  Northern white cedar-a plant which most of you only know of as a hamburger-bun-shaped shrub outside somebody's foundation, is a vigorous grower in the forests of places like eastern Wisconsin, eastern UP of Michigan, NE Maine, and adjacent New Brunswick...and a handful of other locations, you will have never seen this tree in its actual habitat.  It is a tree, with space between its branches, not a horribly dense, ungainly thing.  Very beautiful trees, among the very best.  But only doing well in areas where either dolomitic limestone is at or near the surface.......or where glaciation has dragged such materials back or forth into an area.  These are the areas where this tree reaches its maximal growth.  So it is related to glaciation, but not so simple as the initial subject of this thread.


Thx for the informative post. Underlying geology is quickly becoming my favorite forest ecology topic.
-AJ
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#18)  Re: Tree species range limits match former Ice Sheet Margin

Postby wisconsitom » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:21 am

You're most welcome, Andrew.  Indeed, after a time, one can just about "read" the soil of any given area by the vegetation it supports.  Wisconsin may be an extreme case-glaciers really mixed things up here-but the basic relationship holds everywhere one cares to look.  When I bought land for my "tree farm", I wanted to be in what I dub "the cedar belt", that part of my state where, either because of underlying dolomite, or because of some unknown glaciation factor, northern white cedar does well and is especially vigorous and healthy.  It is thought that where limestone (dolomite) is not present at or near the surface, than in order for these relatively high-pH soils to form, material from a lime-rich area would have had to have been dragged back or forth into the area.  Such must be the case where we are-the cedar grows exactly like it does across the bay in Door County, and that entire county is but one segment of the Niagara Escarpment.  But where we are, sandstone is the underlying rock formation.  And we have springs that feature mineral-rich waters.  This is where "cedar" really grows.  There are many places where it is present.  But only in those lime-rich regions of the NE US and SE Canada that this species really kicks into high gear.  Thus it is that a plant community that iIve seen all my life and take for granted is actually one which very few people, even those who fancy trees and forest, have ever seen.

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