7th International Oak Society Conference, Bordeaux, France

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DougBidlack
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7th International Oak Society Conference, Bordeaux, France

Post by DougBidlack » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:15 pm

NTS,

the 7th International Oak Society (IOS) Conference was held in Bordeaux, France from the 30th of September to the 2nd of October and my wife and I were lucky enough to be able to attend. In addition, we attended a four day pre-conference tour from Paris to Bordeaux and a five day post-conference tour of southwestern France and a little bit of northern Spain. It was our first IOS meeting but it certainly won't be our last. More on that later. For starters I must say that I didn't measure a single tree and I will simply be showing some images of what we saw along with some descriptions. I'll present this in two parts due to the number of images. The first part will include everything up to the Conference in Bordeaux while the second part will include Bordeaux and everything after.

Even before the pre-conference tour we spent five days in Versailles and Paris. It was tough work and I didn't even get any good tree pictures at all. So my first images are from the Arboretum de Chevreloup near Versailles on our first full day of the pre-conference tour. The first shot is of Ellen next to a sessile oak (Quercus petraea).
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The previous sessile oak was part of a nice allee. Half of the oaks in this allee were not sessile oaks but I forgot the other species. They were significantly smaller than the sessile oaks.
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The last image from this arboretum is of Ellen standing next to a very nice cork oak (Q. suber). We were told that many of the old cork forests are currently being sold off and the land is being converted to residential and commercial properties because more and more corks are now synthetic and the cork trees are no longer worth enough to keep the land for this purpose.
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The next day we traveled to the National Forest of Berce which Jeroen has already described very well in a previous post. I will simply show seven pictures of this very attractive forest. We stopped at two places but unfortunately I don't know exactly where they are within the whole forest. The first site had much more undergrowth and the trees appeared to be smaller than at the second site. Here is my only shot of the first site.
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The remaining six images are from the second site. Several of these trees had fences around them like those in the pictures from Jeroen's post. The oaks here are all sessile oaks and many reached impressive heights as well as girths.
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This last image shows Ellen next to a particularly stout sessile oak.
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This is all I have for now. I'll try and upload the rest later today or possibly tomorrow.

Doug

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DougBidlack
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Re: 7th International Oak Society Conference, Bordeaux, Fran

Post by DougBidlack » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:52 pm

NTS,

so here is the second part.

We made it to Bordeaux a couple of days after visiting the National Forest at Berce and we would spend three full days in the city. On the second day we took a field trip to see how wine casks were made. They were made with what they called French Oak (Quercus robur) or American Oak (Q. alba). One of the most important tasks was roasting the inside of the casks over fire and only a few workers were considered skilled enough to be able roast each cask to the specifications of each winery.
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After the tour we were each presented with a bottle of wine. Another brutal day!

London Planetrees were very common throughout France and it really made me wonder about the common name of this species. Here is Ellen in the middle of a mini-forest of planes in Bordeaux.
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After the Conference we went south to visit a riparian forest along the Leyre river. The sandy-bottom streams and rivers reminded a couple of us of remarkably similar areas in South Carolina.
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Quercus robur was very much at home in this riparian forest. Earlier during the Conference a Romanian researcher gave a talk on the oaks of his country and he described the incredible number of Q. robur trees within the vast Danube River floodplain. Apparently there are two types of Q. robur that occur along the floodplains of the Danube and one is more flood tolerant and far more numerous than the typical form. Some people even regard it as a separate species. Unfortunately I don't recall the name of this subspecies/species.

Later in the day one of our French guides showed us a cork oak (Q. suber) that had been used to provide cork.
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This was very close to the Atlantic Ocean in the Reserve Naturelle Nationale du Courant d' Huchet. This region was again very sandy and much of the area near the ocean was open sand dunes. Another one of our guides was having fun explaining to us that baldcypress was actually a French tree and that it was simply brought to the US by the French. And here was our proof that this is the original homeland of this beautiful species.
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Our last stop to visit a forest rather than an arboretum was the Foret Communale de Sare with its ancestral pollarded oak population. The very old pollarded oaks were all Quercus robur but the area was also heavily planted (more recently of course) with northern red oaks (Q. rubra). Dan Keiser is standing here next to a fine Q. robur amongst the bracken ferns.
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Here is an example of one of the ancient pollards.
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These International Oak Society Conferences only occur once every three years and the next one is going to be held at the Morton Arboretum in Chicago, Illinois in 2015. I imagine it will also be held in October which can be a fairly competitive time slot for people that love trees. I have brought up an idea for a Conference talk with Kunso Kim, the Head of Collections and Curator at the Morton and the organizer for the next Conference. The idea would be to give a talk on the world's largest known oaks by a member or members of the Native Tree Society. I think this could be a very exciting presentation of some of the best work by NTS and it could be preceded by a segment on how to properly measure trees. As of now I'm sure that any such talk would be mainly or entirely restricted to Europe, the eastern US and the western US because we know so little about the size of oaks in Mexico/Central America and Asia. Any thoughts on whether this is a good idea or not? Would anyone be interested in giving such a talk? It could even be divided into several segments with a different speaker for each. Naturally I'm putting the cart just a little before the horse but that's just because I think it would be so darn cool!

Doug

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Larry Tucei
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Re: 7th International Oak Society Conference, Bordeaux, Fran

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:12 pm

Doug, Great post. I really enjoyed the Oak photos. The Forest setting looks so similar to our southern Forests. The Sessile Oaks from you photos must be very tall at least 120-130. Larry

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DougBidlack
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Re: 7th International Oak Society Conference, Bordeaux, Fran

Post by DougBidlack » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:20 am

Larry,

you should check out Jeroen's post on the Berce forest. He measured a sessile oak to 158.8' in that forest which makes it the tallest known oak in Europe.

Doug

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KoutaR
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Re: 7th International Oak Society Conference, Bordeaux, Fran

Post by KoutaR » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:13 am

DougBidlack wrote:Apparently there are two types of Q. robur that occur along the floodplains of the Danube and one is more flood tolerant and far more numerous than the typical form. Some people even regard it as a separate species. Unfortunately I don't recall the name of this subspecies/species.
Doug,

There are many oak taxa in southeastern Europe that are locally considered distinct species but in western Europe only subspecies or varieties or even synonyms of more common species. Below a partial list.

Q. pedunculiflora = Q. robur subsp. pedunculiflora
Q. dalechampii = Q. petraea var. dalechampii or Q. petraea subsp. medwediewii or Q. pubescens x petraea
Q. polycarpa = Q. petraea subsp. iberica
Q. virgiliana = Q. pubescens or Q. pubescens subsp. virgiliana or Q. pubescens x petraea
Q. rotundifolia = Q. ilex subsp. rotundifolia
Q. brachyphylla = Q. pubescens


There are also universally accepted species that do not occur in western Europe, e.g. Q. cerris and Q. frainetto.

Link to Jeroen's Forêt de Bercé report:
http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f=344&t=4099

Kouta

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