They keep on growing

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4528
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

They keep on growing

Post by dbhguru » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:37 pm

Ents,

I haven't posted on Mohawk Trail State Forest in many moons. I thought I'd give the place a rest. However, the Mohawk's pines haven't been resting. Today Monica and I went to Mohawk. I wanted to re-measure the Tuscarora pine located across the road from Cabin 6. See below.
Tuscarora-3.png
In March 2010, the Tuscarora pine pine was 152 feet tall and 8.9 feet in circumference. Now it is 9.255 feet around an 156.1 feet tall. That represents 8 inches of new growth per year, about average for Mohawk. Radial growth has averaged 0.095 inches per year, or just shy of 0.1 inches per year. This means that the Tuscarora pine is presently adding an inch of radius every 10 years. That's pretty fast growth for these pines.

Based on a ring count of a pine about 60 feet away, I think this pine is probably 135 years old. If it survives the needle cast fungus, it will unquestionably reach 160 feet in 5 or 6 years. The radial growth will probably slow to half the current rate in another 30 years. But presently, the tree is adding volume at the rate of about 7 ft^3 per year. By my estimates, when this tree was about 5 feet in circumference and growing at a faster radial rate and height, the annual volume would have been increasing at about 6 ft^3 per year. I expect that at that size, it would have been around years old. If these estimates are correct, the pine has been maintaining its annual volume growth for 55 years - actually slightly increasing it.

There is another way to look at volume growth, perhaps more conventional. Volume increase expressed as a percentage yields 7% per year when the tree was 80 years old. That rate has dropped to 1.8% presently. As the tree gets even larger, the percentage increase will continue to drop, but I expect that the absolute increase will stay in the 7 ft^3 for another 30 years or more.

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

User avatar
Rand
Posts: 1217
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:25 pm

Re: They keep on growing

Post by Rand » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:37 pm

dbhguru wrote:Ents,

There is another way to look at volume growth, perhaps more conventional. Volume increase expressed as a percentage yields 7% per year when the tree was 80 years old. That rate has dropped to 1.8% presently. As the tree gets even larger, the percentage increase will continue to drop, but I expect that the absolute increase will stay in the 7 ft^3 for another 30 years or more.

Bob
So.... what do you say to an economist who points at the low percentage growth per year and seyz 'Well, it's time to harvest your asset.'?

Joe

Re: They keep on growing

Post by Joe » Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:16 am

Rand, that's a good forestry question. First, the rate of growth of volume isn't what's important, it's the rate of growth of value- which may be different.

If the tree has internal defect, it may have stopped growing in value long ago- and may have begun decreasing in value.

Depending on tree size and what type of logs the market is seeking- it's possible that even with a fairly slow volume growth- the true value may be growing faster- especially for cases in which tree size moves into the larger sizes that are needed for veneer quality logs.

Even if it's fairly certain that the value growth in only 1.8%- other factors come into play- such as, the owner may want to put off selling until he's retired so his taxes will be less. There may be other estate considerations to put off the sale. Maybe the mature forest is so nice to look at- that the real estate value of the property will drop if timber is cut.

So, just from an economic perspective, it's complicated. Rate of growth of value, which should be the main consideration, I suggest is seldom the actual reason the decision to cut or not is made.

Often, real estate brokers tell owners who want to sell the land, "you should do a timber sale because the drop in value of the real estate is going to be far less than the value of the timber and may even increase since the land will be more open". So, based on that, many owners call in a local logger- who butchers the forest- with little consideration for the long term health and productivity of the forest.

And, so far, I haven't even considered the ecosystem values of the mature forest. Unfortunately, our capitalist economic system fails to account for ecosystem values. The mature, slow growing forest may still be sequestering carbon- maybe faster than earlier in its life. It may be a great wildlife home if many of the trees have hollows. The beauty of the forest may be enhancing the lives of local "tree huggers".

But, the old, "the tree ain't growing much- time to cut it" still is heard and often listened to.
Joe

User avatar
edfrank
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Re: They keep on growing

Post by edfrank » Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:27 pm

Excellent New Bob. I am glad you haven't abandoned your special forest.

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
gnmcmartin
Posts: 464
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:16 pm

Re: They keep on growing

Post by gnmcmartin » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:16 pm

Joe:

You give a very good summary of the issues related to value increases, and, of course, some of the non-timber values of older standing trees are very difficult to quantify.

And your mention of veneer is spot on. This can involve an absolutely massive increase in value with just a relatively small increment in volume. For example, a 16 inch cherry log may make grade #1, and be worth about $1.50 per board foot in the log. If that tree grows just 2 more inches, which may take only 7 or 8 years, it could be upgraded to a $5 per foot veneer log. You can do the math to get the percent value increase, counting both the volume and the quality increases.

Many timberland owners think they are making more money by selling "early," but long-term growth can give substantially higher average annual returns because volume increases usually involve quality (price per unit) increases.

One of the most basic value factors used by timber managers is what they call "financial maturity." A tree is financially mature if the projected value increase averaged over a 10 year period is the same, or less than the yield on a ten-year treasury bond, or whatever alternate investment may be available.

BUT, value increases on trees are impossible to predict because markets for specific kinds of trees change, and recessions occur, etc. Here is a case in point: when I began managing my timberland, there was no market at all for red maple. If there was any on land that was being cut, it was simply "trashed," or sold for pulp or pallet lumber. I asked my project forester what I should do with my red maple trees. With great wisdom, he said, "handle them like any other species--you never know what markets will be like when they are mature." What wisdom! At the peak of the market for hardwood logs in about 2006, I sold "prime" red maple logs for $2.00 per board foot--the same as sugar maple. But, a prime red maple log must meet stringent standards, such as showing no outward signs of any defect, including any buried knots, and be 20" inside the bark at the small end. So, generally, sugar maple brought higher prices. Unfortunately red maple cannot be sliced for veneer--the machines for doing that currently available "fray" the wood so the slices are unusable.

Since the 2008 financial collapse, hardwood log prices have not recovered much, and are now about half, or less of what they were. I plan no log sales at these current prices. But I get wonderful value seeing all my beautiful growing trees, so I am "getting paid" nevertheless!

--Gaines

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4528
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: They keep on growing

Post by dbhguru » Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:10 am

Hi Ed,

Great to hear from you. Yes, I still keep up with what is going on in Mohawk. Also, Ray Asselin, Jared Lockwood, and I are making a film on old growth in Massachusetts for the DCR Forest Reserve Scientific Advisory Committee. Ray and Jared are doing the heavy lifting, but I still have plenty of involvement. Our challenge is to be able to show the visual distinction of old growth from younger forests. While all of us who have been involved with old growth, for years to decades, have the physical features, proportions, species compositions, etc. down, as you know, the difference between old growth and non-old growth is never a sharp dividing line. There are many shades of gray because we're trying to segment forets into two classes when what we have is a continuum.

I, for one, miss your sharp analytical input on such matters. Any sage advice, you'd care to offer us?

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

Joe

Re: They keep on growing

Post by Joe » Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:27 am

Bob said, "Our challenge is to be able to show the visual distinction of old growth from younger forests." It is a challenge indeed. It's one thing to be out there showing a forest to folks and explaining these ideas- but to capture it on a video is very difficult. What I've seen of Ray's videos makes me very confident that Bob and Ray will produce a very impressive video. I will pass it on to the entire forestry "community" in my area of Mass. and central New England.
Joe

User avatar
edfrank
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Re: They keep on growing

Post by edfrank » Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:11 pm

Bob,

Sage advice - not really. Look at how lee deals with old growth classification in that it is whatever the agency he is working with defines it. It is to a large degree in the eye of the beholder. I have argued in some of my previous posts that the definition is a matter of context. What would fit in one area would not be considered old growth in another. IN the east human impact has affect all of the forests, so what we have that passes for old growth may not be pristine, but has all of the other physical characteristics of old growth. In near urban settings old growth definitions need to be more relaxed so that the best of what is left if it meets most of the criteria can be considered old growth with respect to the surrounding areas. In areas of the west where there are vast areas of essentially untouched forest, a permissive definition would not be appropriate, so what would be considered old growth has more of the characteristics of an untouched forest. Still even there, there is not reason to make the definitions so restrictive that only the most pristine forests can meet the standard and thereby excluding other forests that deserve the old growth classification. Old growth is a human construct in which preservationists want a more inclusive definition, while resource extractors want a more restrictive definition. That being said don't throw out forests that should be classified as old growth just to meet an arbitrary percentage that exists only in the viewers head. The key is old growth defined as related to the context of the surrounding forests.

Good luck with your movie.

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
Lucas
Posts: 840
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:55 am

Re: They keep on growing

Post by Lucas » Sun Nov 27, 2016 1:46 pm

Rand wrote:
dbhguru wrote:Ents,

There is another way to look at volume growth, perhaps more conventional. Volume increase expressed as a percentage yields 7% per year when the tree was 80 years old. That rate has dropped to 1.8% presently. As the tree gets even larger, the percentage increase will continue to drop, but I expect that the absolute increase will stay in the 7 ft^3 for another 30 years or more.

Bob
So.... what do you say to an economist who points at the low percentage growth per year and seyz 'Well, it's time to harvest your asset.'?

Hi Rand

Did you get those pm's?
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4528
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: They keep on growing

Post by dbhguru » Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:18 am

Ed,

Actually, we would seek to bring out the kinds of points you make, as opposed to applying a definition of our own. I am part of Joan Maloof's Old Growth Network, which implements multiple concepts.

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

Post Reply

Return to “MA - Mohawk Trail State Forest”