Opportunity to make our data count

General discussions of measurement techniques and the results of testing of techniques and equipment.

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

Post Reply
User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4470
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Opportunity to make our data count

Post by dbhguru » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:30 am

Ents,

A personal mission of mine has been to make our NTS data count within scientific circles. Alas, this mission is at present unfulfilled. Researchers often need extensive datasets covering many acres and collected by a standard protocol, even if flawed. Our data comes in small chunks and is individual tree and/or site oriented. I have strong connections to Harvard University's Harvard Forest Research Facility, but the design of their studies cannot make productive use of our data although they recognize its high level of accuracy. Other local organizations with research capabilities like the University of Massachusetts have not seen any uses for our data, and so the story goes.

Dr. William Keeton at the University of Vermont may offer us a turning point. He is coauthor with Andrew Barton of Ecology and Recovery of Eastern Old Growth Forests. Bill is interested in our white pine data. He and I have been in recent communication and I think he might just be able to use our data in a scientific study of the capabilities of the species in natural versus managed stands. Consequently, I propose that we collect and organize our white pine data and submit it to him as part of a cooperative venture with Bill. Here is a bit about him.
Bill Keeton.png
Ideas on how to proceed are truly needed. My initial idea is for each person who has measured white pines to assemble his/her data into a form that we agree on. I'm willing to consolidate the individual submissions. We can also write a report that summarizes our data and findings. Not sure.

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
Don
Posts: 1560
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: Opportunity to make our data count

Post by Don » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:41 pm

For much of the last several decades, it seemed like the phrase or descriptor "old-growth" had fallen out of favor. So I was interested to see the Barton/Keeton release of the Ecology and Recovery of Eastern Old Growth Forests. Having delved into this topic in the 1990s, I had a sense of what it was, and the trend seemed to have definitions: 1) local, 2) caged in ecosystem context.
Decades later, I can't say that any better definition emerged of what you and I called old-growth ecosystems in the 1990s. I'll be picking up a soft cover version of the Barton/Keeton book.
That said, especially after reading Keeton's bona fides, I think it's significant that he's showing interest in the ENTS white pine data...as I typed this, I realized we don't really have a very complete (in any one place) assemblage of "ENTS white pine data".
I'm wondering if all those ENTS/NTS members reading these comments having "white pine data" could come forward and contribute to "the cause"?
What say you ENTS/NTS members?!
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4470
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Opportunity to make our data count

Post by dbhguru » Fri Apr 19, 2019 8:09 am

Ents,

I'm not noticing our esteemed membership rushing to get on board with this opportunity to contribute to science. Would gathering the data just be too much work for an unknown outcome? That's an understandable concern, but can we at least talk about it? How valuable do we consider our data? Where do we see our information fitting within the fields of botany, forest ecology, forestry, landscape architecture, arboriculture, etc.? I certainly don't have the answers, but I do believe that we have real contributions to make in understanding the growth capabilities of the tree species we routinely report on.

In past initiatives of mine and others, we've pretty much ran into stonewalls in getting our data recognized despite important members like Lee Frelich, Don Bragg, Tom Diggins, and a few others with name recognition lending their voices. Across the broad sweep of scientifically interesting questions about native tree species, focusing a lot of attention on maximum dimensions is recognizably limited. This kind of information is often seen as tree trivia, but here is an area where it its anything but trivia. There remains a common perception among timber interests that the growth of eastern tree species dramatically drops by 100 years. This perception is rooted in an obvious self-interest, but also the recognizably fast growth we see in in younger years when trees, sprouting from seeds, in 30 years reach heights of maybe 50 or 60 feet, and even more in southern climes. That's dramatic growth, but only part of the story. There is concomitant volume growth that favors later years - up to a point, and dominant members of a species can be maximally productive well beyond 100 years. Our data can help shed light on how different species are doing during across an age range of up to 200 years. That could influence forest policy, which now is often controlled by exploitative forces seeking short term economic opportunities that reduce the average age of our forests at a time when they can be most effective in terms of carbon sequestration by either being left alone, minimally managed, or managed with future carbon sequestration as a primary goal.

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
Erik Danielsen
Posts: 855
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: Opportunity to make our data count

Post by Erik Danielsen » Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:27 pm

Bob, I agree it is a slow conversation but I'm sure many of us are eager to contribute. I'm making plans for some good data collection from Allegany state park. When I look back at a lot of my past data, though, it's a bit daunting to think about how to sort through it and extract the most relevant and useful information. So, perhaps a brainstorm about what information fields we desire would help. The following come to mind:

Basic dimensions (height/girth/crown spread) are obvious, of course. Volume when that's been measured. For those that have been modeled, do we also want to include some of the specific diameters at different heights? For future measurements, perhaps crown depth would be a useful metric to include. Some "form class" options. Some way to indicate natural/anthropogenic stand origin, stand type, apparent age class. Additional context information like coarse woody debris, elevation, soil type. Actual age if known.

User avatar
Don
Posts: 1560
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:42 am

Re: Opportunity to make our data count

Post by Don » Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:01 pm

Eric-
Good items to capture, ultimately it's likely to be the union of all data collections...still should be more than girth/height/crown spread/species. Data grabbing NTS-ers, what say you? What fields to you have in your data collections?
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

User avatar
ElijahW
Posts: 812
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:04 pm

Re: Opportunity to make our data count

Post by ElijahW » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:23 pm

Bob, NTS,

I have lots of White Pine measurements, and I’m willing to help with this project, but I don’t know what type of data you’re looking for. The vast majority of trees have only height and/or girth figures. If large numbers of volume-modeled trees or reliable age data are required, I have very little to offer at present.

Elijah
"There is nothing in the world to equal the forest as nature made it. The finest formal forest, the most magnificent artificially grown woods, cannot compare with the grandeur of primeval woodland." Bob Marshall, Recreational Limitations to Silviculture in the Adirondacks

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4470
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Opportunity to make our data count

Post by dbhguru » Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:46 am

Elijah,

Actually, none of us have that many volumes for white pine. I expect that I have the most, but still only a small number. What we do have are locations to go with our height and circumference measurements. We can add age classes usually, i.e. young, mature, and old. I'll explain that this is what we can offer and see if Bill Keeton remains interested.

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 “Measurement and Dendromorphometry”