European Records in Finland

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#1)  European Records in Finland

Postby KoutaR » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:03 pm

NTS,

Jukka Lehtonen from Finnish Forest Research Institute showed me in August some Finnish height record trees. He had measured them in 90's with Vertex hypsometer and now I measured them with Nikon Laser 550A S. If I could get with laser close to Jukka's measurements, they would be European records, too. Note that these trees grow at a latitude of ~60 degrees.

Common Juniper (Juniperus communis)

Common juniper has the widest distribution of any tree or shrub species. It is divided to several varieties, most of them being only shrubs, but particularly the European variety (var. communis) often attains tree form, generally up to 5-6 meters (16-20 ft), occasionally taller. It attains its maximum size around the Baltic sea. The record juniper is located in Sääksjärvi, Mäntsälä. According to Jukka's measurement, it was 16.8 meters tall in 90's. My measurement was 16.4 m (53.8 ft). CBH is 89 cm. Its age is very hard to tell without coring it, but the tree has been mentioned to be exceptionally tall already 100 years ago. It grows in Norway spruce (Picea abies) - silver birch (Betula pendula) forest, in the immediate vicinity there are plenty of exceptionally large junipers. In the photo below, Jukka and the record juniper.

               
                       
SaaksjarviJuniperus.jpg
                                       
               


Accroding to the conifers.org, there is a 18.5-meter common juniper in Sweden, but it is probably not laser measured. A forest researcher measured decades ago a 19-meter common juniper in Finland, but he promised to the land-owner not to reveal the location. The researcher has passed away and so we cannot ask about it anymore.


Goat Willow (Salix caprea)

Goat willow has a very wide distribution, almost whole Europe and to east Asia, and it is very common particularly in the European boreal zone. Unlike most large willow species, the habitat of goat willow is not restricted to floodplains and riversides. In the boreal zone, it is a part of pioneer forest vegetation besides birches, aspen (Populus tremula) and grey alder (Alnus incana). The North American equivalent is probably Bebb willow (S. bebbiana). The record goat willow is located in Nuuksio National Park, only 20 km from the city center of Helsinki. This tree was the biggest surprese to me: Jukka's measurement from 90's was 24.5 m. It was probably close to the truth and the tree had still grown: my measurement was 26.2 m (86.0 ft). The CBH is 66 cm. The tree grows in Norway spruce dominated forest in a small valley, with silver birch, downy birch (B. pubescens), black alder (Alnus glutinosa), aspen, Norway maple (Acer platanoides) and small-leaved linden (Tilia cordata). In the photo below, the record willow, Norway spruces and two downy birches in the background.

               
                       
NuuksioSalix_caprea.jpg
                                       
               


Still another photo of the grove. The record goat willow on the left with a yellow band. Norway spruces, shrub-like rowans (Sorbus aucuparia) and two silver birches with white-black trunks on the left-center, the right one of which is 33 m (108 ft) tall, it would be very tall for the species in Central Europe, too.

               
                       
Nuuksio-forest.jpg
                                       
               



Grey Alder (Alnus incana)

This species also has a very wide distribution in Europe, Asia and North America. It is divided to several subspecies. Like in common juniper, the European subspecies (subsp. incana) becomes taller than the North American one. In boreal Europe, grey alder is very common as a pioneer tree and on lake shores. In central Europe the species is largely restricted to mountains. Jukka's record grey alder had fallen, but there were equally tall individuals next to it. The height of the new record grey alder is 27.2 m (89.2 ft) and CBH 100 cm. It grows in Ruotsinkylä, Tuusula, in 90-year-old forest dominated by +30 m tall Norway spruces. The forest type is the most fertile in Finland. Other trees in the grove are black alder, aspen, silver and downy birch, and bird cherry (Prunus padus). The understory is dominated by lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina).

               
                       
RuotsinkylaAlnus_incana.jpg
                                       
               



European Rowan = European Mountain-ash (Sorbus aucuparia)

Rowan also has a very wide distribution across Eurasia. It is very similar to American Mountain-ash (S. americana). The record rowan was our new find. Jukka pointed it to me as we walked to the alder group mentioned above. Its height is 22.3 m (73.2 ft) and CBH 112 cm.

               
                       
RuotsinkylaSorbus_aucuparia.jpg
                                       
               


In more southern locations, there are probably taller rowans, but measurements are still missing. In the British Tree Register, there is even 28 m (92 ft) tall rowan, but it is probably not laser measured.

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2014: The tallest reliably measured rowan is now 23.5 m:
http://www.monumentaltrees.com/en/deu/b ... chgspreng/

Kouta
Last edited by KoutaR on Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#2)  Re: European Records in Finland

Postby Steve Galehouse » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:38 pm

Kouta-

Nice post1 Even at that latitude, trees are still tall. Are you aware of any other arborescent species native to both Europe and North America, or Asia and North America? I know there are quite a few circumboreal shrubs, but woody plants that achieve tree size on both continents are rare.

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#3)  Re: European Records in Finland

Postby KoutaR » Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:26 am

Steve,

In addition to Junipeus communis and Alnus incana, there is at least Alnus viridis, though it is more often shrub rather than tree. And if Greenland is in Europe (politically it belongs to Denmark), there is also Sorbus decora, one of the three tree species native to Greenland. I don't know any additional trees native to both Asia and North America.

Of course, the answer depends on the taxonomy. Some authors think the subspecies of Alnus incana and A. viridis are species. And some authors think there is only one Taxus species, for example.

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#4)  Re: European Records in Finland

Postby Chris » Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:47 pm

Excellent!

Do you have any idea of the disturbance history of these forest? Were they sites that probably experienced historical logging or clearing for agriculture? Given how close Nuuksio National Park is to Helsinki...
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#5)  Re: European Records in Finland

Postby KoutaR » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:38 pm

Chris,

None of these forests is old-growth or undisturbed or virgin. The first and the last locations are normal managed forests (fortunately, the owners have not cleaned these non-commercial trees from the forests), and Nuuksio National Park has experienced some logging before the creation of the park.

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#6)  Re: European Records in Finland

Postby KoutaR » Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:37 am

Chris,

An addition: The last one of the forests (Ruotsinkylä) is actually not a "normal" managed forest. It is a study forest of the Finnish Forest Research Institute. It is managed (thinning, dead tree removal...), but they leave more tree species growing there than in normal Finnish managed forest.

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#7)  Re: European Records in Finland

Postby Joe » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:38 am

Kouta Räsänen wrote:Chris,

An addition: The last one of the forests (Ruotsinkylä) is actually not a "normal" managed forest. It is a study forest of the Finnish Forest Research Institute. It is managed (thinning, dead tree removal...), but they leave more tree species growing there than in normal Finnish managed forest.

Kouta


Kouta, as a practicing forester- though of course I love to read about very large and very tall trees, I also like to read about good forestry practices and I've always understood that Finland has very productive forestry. It might not be of much interest to those who are focused on the very large/tall trees, but if it is productive, it's something I'd like to read more about (and other European forestry too) but I have no access to the forestry literature. I suppose much of it must be on the web.
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#8)  Re: European Records in Finland

Postby KoutaR » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:49 pm

Joe,

You can get publications of the Institute here:

http://www.metla.fi/julkaisut/index-en.htm

Many of them are in English.

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#9)  Re: European Records in Finland

Postby Jess Riddle » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:13 am

Kouta,

I always enjoy your descriptions of European trees and forests, but this post caught my attention in particular since I’ve done research on Juniperus communis.  The North American variety, depressa, can grow either as a sprawling bush or a well formed tree.  However, I’ve never heard of any approaching the size of the one you measured.  It’s also interesting to me that the record tree is known to be old and competes with shade tolerant species.  The tree form depressa I have seen appear able to grow relatively quickly (about a foot per year), but are very shade intolerant.

Seeing Alnus incana in Europe and the general productivity of forests given such high latitudes is also interesting.

The tallest I know of in North America
A. incana var. rugosa 10” (25 cm) cbh x 28.9’ (8.8 m) Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area, NY
J. communis var. depressa 15.5” (39 cm) cbh x 24.2’ (7.4 m) Lake Bonaparte, NY
J. communis var. depressa 16” (41 cm) cbh x 23.5’ (7.2 m) Lake Bonaparte, NY

               
                       
IMG_6422.JPG
                       
the 16" cbh common juniper in front of a white pine
               
               


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#10)  Re: European Records in Finland

Postby Steve Galehouse » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:13 am

Jess-

Has the nomenclature changed regarding common juniper in eastern North America? I thought the arborescent form in eastern NA was Juniperus communis var. communis, while the spreading form was var. depressa; all the older texts I have separate the two distinctly. Are both now included in depressa?

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