17, 2006 11:21 PDT
You have a publication in press:
Pederson, N., A.W. D'Amato and D.A. Orwig. In Press. Central
hardwood natural history from dendrochronology: maximum ages of
rarely studied species. Proceedings of the 15th Central Hardwood
I don't see any citations from this paper on your current Old
List. When will the publication be out and will it add new
numbers to your Old List? (maybe I am missing them on the
I think it would be a worthwhile project for someone to
undertake to try to measure "old" examples of as many
different eastern species as possible. I am
sure It is difficult to examine the structure and processes
going on in old growth forest without any idea how long most of
the species of the trees in the forest can live.
How would someone go about this project - permissions and
funding not withstanding. I would make a list of all of the
major species without ages found in eastern forests. I would
then annotate the list with notes on where the largest specimens
of those species are found, and old growth areas within the
dominant range of the species, and third old growth areas in
which the species was known to occur. The ENTS
list for example has people familiar with sites scattered across
the eastern US and many people likely could suggest specific
sites worth examining, likewise some of the dendro lists.
Next I would visit a particular site with the goal of collecting
cores from key species I thought would be present on the site.
And second I would collect cores from any serendipitous
specimens of other species that appeared to be of great age.
Places like Tionesta where it is know that hemlocks have been
dated to 555, would be a good site as the potential for other
trees of age would be there. There likely hasn't been a
widespread decimation of the forest since the hemlock sprouted.
Site information, sample location, photos, notes, etc would all
You have done a lot of this type of work and are expert on the
How would you suggest such a search be structured?
The specimens would then need to be processed. What equipment is
necessary to do tree ring counts? Obviously sanding paper of
various grits down to extremely fine, a microscope to examine
cell structure, some computer power to process data - many of
the dendro programs can be downloaded from the internet. For
example if I were to set up the "Reynoldsville Tree Ring
Laboratory" [Like the one in Ethiopia] what would be needed
The person would need training in what they were doing, and a
decent selection of reference materials. You have participated
in these dendro workshops - how are they? Do they give a good
enough overview in actual application in the week or two they
are run to make someone reasonably competent in counting rings
and doing cross-correlations?
I am just curious about the field and the equipment and
processes involved. When is the next dendro field camp and
where? Do you have a website?
17, 2006 13:23 PDT
Greetings to all scattered ENTS:
current thread hits me right smack in the middle of my PhD
research at the Forestry Department of Michigan State
I'm working up the fire history of a section of Michigan's Lower
using dendrochronological techniques.
refer all dendrochronologically-interested parties to a
goldmine of a website?....
Ultimate Tree-ring Pages" are just that. Techniques,
equipment, bibliographies, on-going research [in some very
an international database of tree-ring series are included
there as well as links to dendrochronologists across the USA and
Also consider contacting a local member of the Tree-ring
There are as many
semi-informed amateur dendrochronologists out
wandering around as there are people who think they know how to
heights. The ENTS, wonderful folk as we are, are the refreshing
Holler if I can
17, 2006 21:45 PDT
The old trees, most all of them I would guess, were discovered
serendipitous research [if that is a word]; a systematic search
trees has been limited. I am unsure of who would fund it. But,
correct. It seems some locations might have a higher abundance
trees than other locations. Going through Will Blozan's GSMNP
note several old individuals in a few species within the same
location. I don't know if this thought, however, would hold up
scientific examination. Given limited resources [$$, time], this
the way most old trees would be found; unless Bill Gates or
that would like to fund this type of research.
Fieldweeks are great. You would learn the basics enough to
yr's fieldweek is in the Smoky Mtns. I will be one of the group
You can get microscopes on eBay for $500-800 I hear, refurbished
$900+ and new ones for $1200+. Measuring systems go for ~$2k. An
borer goes for $200-300, depending on different specs. You'd
want two; some
borers break rather easily.
Thanks Robert for direction to Henri's pages. All the other
needs is there.
ps - the Pederson, D'Amato, Orwig paper is still in press. It is
times on Eastern OLDLIST.
20, 2006 08:05 PDT
Greetings to all:
The ENTS are doing a
fabulous job raising the awareness for
mensuration skill in all of us tree-huggers out here. Some of
the big trees
I've re-measured in Michigan for our state coordinator of the
Botanical Club Big Tree program were horribly off and are now
Estimating tree heights by sighting off a wet thumb struck in
the air seems
not to have been too accurate in several cases.
In a similar sense,
putting an increment corer in the hands of some
folk is just as bad or even worse. Dendrochronology is way more
ring counting, as most ENTS are aware.
I sat through a
graduate presentation dealing with an aspect of
forest ecology in Ann Arbor [ the university shall remain
the innocent presenter made the most interesting claims from his
core collection efforts. Several of us Michigan State University
quietly took him aside later[at a pub] and instructed him in the
perfect. He got more training in dendrochronology and is now in
Tree height and tree
age do not correlate too tightly.
The current discussion among ENTS about tree ages is beginning
to bring this
out....way to go!....
20, 2006 08:48 PDT
I am not yet unable to sum up all of the advances of
though Dave Stahle's 'Megadrought, Megadeath' is a good start as
Villalba's work on climate and stand dynamics in Argentina and
similarities he found between climate in North America and South
pretty amazing. There are so many others like Jan Esper in
of the advances by many scientists in the tropics [too many to
of] and Henri Grissino-Mayer's and Charles Lafon's fire history
work in the
southern Appalachian Mtns. I hate to make a list because I will
leave [and have left] many others out. There are so many!
Here's a thought to consider: just over 10 years ago there were
less than a
handful of tree ring scientists with Ph.D's in the eastern US
on climate and stand dynamics. Now there are well over 30, I'd
trouble keeping track actually - Robert is a good example,
actually - Hi
Robert]. We are literally standing at the bottom of a building
wave of tree
ring research in the eastern U.S. The topics are so diverse now,
outbreak reconstructions (Jim Speer, Ind. State), carbon
Hessl, WVU), ultra-long and ultra old oak chronologies (R.
Guyette & Mike
Stambaugh, Mizzou), ...... It is an exciting time in the field.
BTW, when Friendly's did a corporate downsizing on their sundaes
late-90s, I knew our civilization was beginning its inevitable
20, 2006 19:42 PDT
Wonderful 'blend' of some of my favorite topics...watermelon
sherbet and tree measuring! But a sticky proposition, when
Of course out west, we've locally got Pete Fule of the
Ecological Restoration Institute, who has a great supporting
dendrochrono lab for ERI's prodigious restoration work/research,
and at U of A's Laboratory of Tree-ring Research (great webpage
at www.ltrr.arizona.edu,, where such topical hypertexts as
dendroarchaeology, dendroclimatology, dendroecology,
dendrogeomorphology, dendrohydrology, dendroisotope chemistry,
and others abound) we've Tom Swetnam to call upon, among a
burgeoning throng who built upon the Arizona claim to
dendrochronology heritage! A snippet about A.E. Douglas follows,
surely a Renaissance man for his time and place (note South
Andrew Ellicot Douglass was born on July
5, 1867 in Windsor, Vermont. He was educated at Trinity College
in Hartford, Connecticut, and graduated with honors in 1889.
After his graduation, he began working for Harvard Observatory.
He served as the chief assistant on Harvard's Boyden expedition
(1891-1893), which founded the Harvard Southern Hemisphere
Observatory in Arequipa, Peru. After returning from Peru, he met
Percival Lowell in Boston. Lowell hired Douglass to travel to
Arizona to determine where the best place in that territory
would be to build an observatory. Douglass traveled throughout
Arizona in 1894, eventually settling on Flagstaff as the best
location. He chose a spot on a mesa outside of town and
supervised the construction of the dome which housed the 18-inch
telescope that he and Percival Lowell used to observe Mars.
founding of Lowell Observatory in 1894, Douglass stayed on for
seven years as Percival Lowell's chief assistant. During this
time, he provided a great quantity of data regarding Mars which
Lowell used to support his theories about the existence of an
intelligent, canal-building Martian civilization. Lowell and
Douglass, however, clashed several times over Douglassís
opinion that Lowell used data selectively (and thus
unscientifically and inaccurately) to prove his theories. Lowell
eventually lost patience with Douglass and sacked him for this
opinion in 1901.
termination, Douglass stayed in Flagstaff until 1906 teaching
Spanish, Spanish History and Geography at the Northern Arizona
Normal School, now Northern Arizona University. He also ran and
won the race for probate judge - now called the Justice of the
Peace - in 1902. During his time in Flagstaff, Douglass became
interested in tree rings, and specifically in using tree rings
as a record of previous solar cycles as well as a method of
predicting future solar cycles.
relocated to Tucson in 1906, he began teaching at the University
of Arizona. His most important scientific accomplishment while
in this position was the creation of dendrochronology, more
commonly known as the science of using tree rings to determine
the age of a particular piece of wood. He finally established an
unbroken sequence of yellow pine (or Ponderosa) tree rings
stretching far enough back into history to conclusively date
ancient Native American structures in 1929. This accomplishment
was widely hailed as one of the most important in archeology by
both scientists and laymen alike.
Re November, we're definitely on, details to come soon!