TOPIC: Joint Project to Support Silvics of North America,
== 1 of 6 ==
Date: Sun, Feb 24 2008 8:09 am
Don Bragg, Will Blozan, Michael Davie, Jess Riddle, Dale Luthringer,
Anthony Kelly, Carl Harting, Scott Wade, Ed Frank, Howard Stoner,
John Eichholz, et. al.,
A search of the species in the "Silvics of North America"
for maximum tree dimensions and ages that that are listed in the
publication leads to a not unanticipated plethora of outdated and
inaccurate information. I doubt that the authors of Silvics would be
happy with this situation, were they aware.
I am creating a simple spreadsheet to compare ENTS height, girth,
and age maximums to whatever is listed in Silvics on the species for
which we have reasonably good data. However, I find that it has been
far too long since we collectively updated our tall tree lists.
There are numerous e-mail communications and lists on the website,
but since our information has stayed so scattered, especially in th
e-mail stream, that there is no clear spot where we can go to be
sure that we have the latest maximum height or girth for a species.
Can the A-Team of super measurers pool its efforts in an ENTS
project to update our lists of tall and large trees? I am willing to
act as the central consolidation point for the information that
would coming from each of you. If you are willing to participate,
please send your lists to me in spreadsheet format with column
headings as follows:
Species (Scientific Name)
Species (Common Name)
Measurer (Please use a 3-initial abbreviation)
Region (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southern Mid-west,
Central Mid-west, Upper Mid-west)
Date of Measurement
Height in feet
Measurement Method (sine or tape drop - no tangents)
Girth at 4.5 feet in feet
Championship Status (e.g. tallest known in the Northeast, Southeast,
Entire East, etc.)
I propose that if we complete this project, we send the list to the
Forest Service. Don, perhaps you could do that. I think they would
more likely trust the source if you okay it. As it stands now, I
fear that our efforts are so wide ranging and scattered, that we can
no longer react with speed on updated tall/big tree lists. It is
time to remedy the situation.
-------------- Original message --------------
For those interested in these manuals, this publication can be found
online (free of charge in either HTML or PDF) at:
I believe there are preliminary plans to update these entries, but I
don't know when this will happen...
Don C. Bragg, Ph.D.
USDA Forest Service
Southern Research Station
== 2 of 6 ==
Date: Sun, Feb 24 2008 8:34 am
From: "Will Blozan"
Yes, we absolutely need to have a central source. I will compile
what I can.
== 3 of 6 ==
Date: Sun, Feb 24 2008 8:42 am
From: "Jess Riddle"
I would like to encourage everyone who has measurements to
in this effort. We have complained repeatedly about people
to cite American Forest's National Register of Big Trees for maximum
tree sizes, but we have failed to provide an alternative that is as
user friendly. American Forests provides an easily accessible,
clearly organized and relatively comprehensive list, so people will
continue to use that source. We've already done the hard part, the
data gathering, we just need to but in the last bit of effort to
organize all the data. I think this is also an excellent time to
start implementing the TDI ranking system. I've also liked the
method, but we've never but together the data base to support it. By
compiling height and girth maxima, we can at least start applying
TDI at the national scale.
== 4 of 6 ==
Date: Sun, Feb 24 2008 8:54 am
From: "Edward Frank"
This is a worthwhile project to be sure. How far along are you in
your spreadsheet? I have a listing of all the species of trees found
in Eastern United States, including species name, common name,
distribution, posted to the Google site. It was generated from the
Department of Agriculture website. You would not need to retype all
of the species information over again, and also it would give a feel
for what we do know and what we do not know about the wide variety
of species. before submitting the empty rows, and subspecies rows,
could be deleted.
== 6 of 6 ==
Date: Sun, Feb 24 2008 10:04 am
I'm not far along. I've created the columns and added a few entries,
but can easily adapt what I've done thus far to capitalize on what
you've already done. Any formulas used are usually created so they
don't show a calculated result until the required input columns are
filled. This keeps the sheet more aesthetically pleasing.
Jess, made some excellent points in his e-mail. The National
Register is well organized and people will continue to turn to it,
mistakes and all - usually without a clue as to what inaccuracies
have been promulgated through the many editions. If we're going to
be the purveyors of truth in tree numbers, we need to maintain our
lists in efficient, easily accessible, and frequently updated
formats. I'm willing to keep a master database and update it as
measurers send new maximums and regularly send the updates to you
for web posting.
At the least, we would have two entries for a species, the
eastern-wide height and girth champions. We could extend the two
with regional champions where we have them using the 6 geographical
regions listed in my first e-mail.
Well, my next step is to merge what I've done with what you've done,
submit it to the rest of you for approval, and then wait for input
Your biggest task is the third one from the
bottom of your main list. If fact, it is close to a fulltime
occupation, I would guess.
As I think of my ENTS projects solo or shared,
here is what comes to mind. Where shared is listed, it means
that other Ents are involved. In some cases, there will be a clear
project leader. For example, in the list below, Lee heads
(1), Larry (4), Will (6) and (7), Neil (12), and of course, Ed
(16). BTW, anyone who is a member of this list and who posts is
considered to be an Ent. By the length of my list, it is easy
to see how one can become overcommitted and end up not completing
anything. That is a worry for me.
Work on study to compare sine and tangent-based methods of measuring
tree height (shared)
Work on book on dendromorphometry (shared)
Help compile tall tree lists from input by all (shared)
Help model Live Oaks (shared)
Update Rucker and other data for Massachusetts tall/big tree
Assist April rendezvous (shared)
Assist on Tsuga Search (shared)
Work on mathematical methods for modeling tree trunk and limb
tree measuring equipment (solo)
Lake study (solo)
11. Help maintain
the ENTS e-mail list (shared)
tuliptree blooming dates for Neil (shared)
13. Help Dale
model trees in Cook Forest (shared)
working with others on Robinson SP (shared)
boundaries of Massachusetts old growth (shared)
16. Support Ed on
his many fine ideas, e.g. diversity index (shared)
measurements of western white pines in Idaho (solo)
I have made a section for this on the
website. I will publish the website updates today, and also
I will make a more formal project description for each as per your
I think this is an outstanding idea, and I will have more to say
on this shortly...I am at the tail-end of a business trip (I was
actually running around the wilds of eastern Oklahoma with Grand
Ent Dave Stahle, looking at ancient post oak, eastern redcedar,
and shortleaf pine), and have to go to a few other meetings
today, but I'll try to get y'all some feedback soon!
Don C. Bragg, Ph.D.
USDA Forest Service
Southern Research Station
Thanks. We look very forward to
your comments and assistance. I observe that ENTS has been
collecting valuable tree dimension data since the mid-1990s, but
it is scattered throughout so many lists and e-mails that nobody
doing serious research can know for sure that he/she has
located the latest measurements for a species. And
there's no way we can expect Ed to sort through all this stuff and
keep summary lists for us in chronological order on the
website. Ed will surely do his part if we do ours and organize the
data we send to him in organized, updated list format.
In the beginning, our
job was simpler. We had a few areas of concentration, but now
we suffer from a form of information overload. Simply put, we
have too much stuff coming too often from too many directions in
too many formats. I think the answer for us lies in maintaining a
consolidated species list.A single species would show up a maximum
of 6 times (one per geographical region) for each dimension for
which we collect data. Such a list could then feed other
lists to include the spreadsheet I've begun on maximum dimensions
for species listed in the Silvics of North America and
comparisions to what we have.
I have come to realize that the
Silvics manual is a veritable gold mine of information. Silvics
shouldn't have an area where its information is unreliable,
particularly if we can help.
This is certainly long overdue and very important. I'll do what I