Why West Coast trees are much taller

Discussion of general forest ecology concepts and of forest management practices.

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edfrank
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Why West Coast trees are much taller

Post by edfrank » Tue May 08, 2012 11:21 am

Climate explains why West Coast trees are much taller than those in the East
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ ... story.html
By Brian Palmer, Published: April 30

Last year, a team of climbers led by arborist Will Blozan measured the tallest tree in the eastern United States: a 192-foot tulip tree in the Great Smoky Mountains. Although the achievement was significant, it served to emphasize just how puny Eastern trees are compared with the giants along the Northern California coast.


Click on image to see its original size

The current height champion out West is Hyperion, a 379-foot coast redwood standing somewhere in California’s Redwood National Park. (Researchers have kept the precise location quiet to protect the world’s tallest tree.) That’s just a shade under double the size of the tallest Eastern tree. In fact, even the average coast redwood grows more than 100 feet taller than any tree in the East.
And the height disparity isn’t limited to redwoods. Douglas firs in the western United States and Canada might have grown close to 400 feet tall before logging eliminated the tallest representatives of the species.
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"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

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Rand
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Re: Why West Coast trees are much taller

Post by Rand » Tue May 08, 2012 11:52 am

Arg.. no linky..


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edfrank
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Re: Why West Coast trees are much taller

Post by edfrank » Tue May 08, 2012 12:10 pm

"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

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Rand
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Re: Why West Coast trees are much taller

Post by Rand » Tue May 08, 2012 3:37 pm

Thanks for the link.

I've read the article and it rather begs the question why the broadleaf species in the west are not substantially larger than the broadleafs in the east. Any ideas?

RyanLeClair
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Re: Why West Coast trees are much taller

Post by RyanLeClair » Tue May 08, 2012 3:48 pm

Rand, I remember reading a blurb on tracheids somewhere...conifers have "locking" tracheids, while hardwood tracheids are free-flowing. It has to do with how each type of tree raises water through the xylem. I can't really describe the difference all that well...I recommend that you look into it.

The point of the blurb was, the west has a lot more conifers, so that's why the west reigns supreme when it comes to height.

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Will Blozan
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Re: Why West Coast trees are much taller

Post by Will Blozan » Tue May 08, 2012 7:25 pm

NTS,

I find this article weak and "apples to oranges", so to speak. There is no scientific basis to diss the trees of the east (the tone of the article). We don't have fog- and in climates with similar temperature regimes we don't have redwoods, Doug-fir or any similar species. Yes, climate and species mix is the reason but to call the eastern trees wimps is ridiculous.

Rand, I like your point about the hardwoods, too (BTW, some CA sycamores have just been found last month approaching 180').

I despise the press in general- this is why.

Will

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edfrank
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Re: Why West Coast trees are much taller

Post by edfrank » Tue May 08, 2012 7:31 pm

I agree with you Will about the apples to oranges - but they had your name in the first sentence, so I had t post it.
"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

RyanLeClair
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Re: Why West Coast trees are much taller

Post by RyanLeClair » Tue May 08, 2012 7:39 pm

Like Ed said...whether we like the article or not, an Ent was in the freakin' Washington Post!

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dbhguru
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Re: Why West Coast trees are much taller

Post by dbhguru » Tue May 08, 2012 8:07 pm

Will,

Yippee!! You're famous across the continent! Despite the weaknesses of the article, as with Ed and Ryan, I was pleased to see the reference to you.

In terms of the author of the article, Thomas Jefferson would not have liked him. As we know, Jefferson considered the tuliptree to be the "Juno of species".

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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KoutaR
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Re: Why West Coast trees are much taller

Post by KoutaR » Wed May 09, 2012 9:27 am

Climate cannot be the sole reason. Giant sequoia reaches 314 ft in a very different climate: long periods below freezing and dry late summers with rather hot daytime temperatures without fog. And many other conifers in western mountains (with similar climates) get almost as tall. There are so many super tall tree species in so different climates in western NA that some historical reasons must be involved.

Kouta

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