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Update on AF Champion Tree-Measuring Guidelines

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:56 am
by dbhguru
Hi Ents,

Although, NTS is not part of American Forests, the role NTS has played in the AF's restructuring of its tree-measuring methodology and in providing members to the AF National Cadre remains pivotal. As a consequence, I like to keep NTS informed on where the AF tree-measuring program is going. So, here goes.

Don and I met with Eliza Kretzmann and Justin Hynicka on Sept 21st (telephone conference) to plot a course forward. This is what evolved.

1. We're considering producing a small compact version of the measuring guidelines that will be limited to the principal techniques for how to measure a tree for national championship competitions. We haven't made any final decisions on what to include, but thinking ahead, I would imagine partition the short version into two sections : (1) the public nomination part, and (2) the certification portion. The former includes the stick method, a simple tape wrap, and the two axis method for crown spread. The latter would include the sine and spoke methods, regular tape wrap, and functional circumference. Don and I will likely solicit input from cadre members, state coordinators, and members of NTS.

2. We plan to add several new appendices to the full guidelines. The amount of technical material is already daunting, but where can one go to get a full treatment of sport-based tree measuring. Prior to NTS, and now the Cadre, measuring was at best a low stakes affair. The best and worst performers were treated coequal. We're slowly getting control of the situation by laying out all the methods and forcing attention to their differences, explaining where errors creep in and their magnitude for each method. We won't convert everyone to this brave new world, but our successes are mounting.

3. We need to develop a clearer web description of what is involved in nominating versus certifying a candidate to the National Register. These distinct processes are not clearly differentiated on AF's website, and that has caused confusion. The public nominates and the state coordinators and national cadre certify. Coordinators and cadre can also nominate, but then logically they would combine the nomination and certification processes. Nomination must stay simple. The tough stuff comes in on certification.

4. We're still hopeful that we can develop a database to help coordinators recognize likely mis-measured trees. VA Tech is the logical home for the database. However, many detail remain to be worked out before this can come to fruition.

5. The old Measuring Guidelines Working Group (MGWG) will likely be sunsetted. This is the group charged with developing the measuring guidelines. Originally, the MGWG began with six members then dropped to two (guess who). It was built back up to five and again dropped to two (again, guess who). Don and I have compiled a perfect record of driving away the others, but joking aside, the job requires retirees with lots of time. Working folk just can't commit the time. In lieu of a formal group, I expect that Don and I will be classified as special technical advisors to the National Coordinator. It is their call. It won't change how the work gets done.