proclivity to measure
20, 2005 08:14 PDT
I imagine that for some of you, perhaps most,
our discussions about
site indexing are of limited interest. As those who have been
this list can attest, we periodically get into heavy measuring
discussions and the present is one of those times.
If our site indexing discussions seem overly
focused on tree
measuring as opposed to other forest and tree values and what is
a compulsion for several of us; i.e. to measure, measure,
measure, it is
important for everyone to realize that this isn't the whole
Ents such as Will Blozan, Tom Diggins, Dale Luthringer, myself,
there are important political agendas being served by our
concentration on site statistics. It is a way of protecting
and Zoar Valley, NY, may be the best example of this.
Unless we are willing to return to some of our
unprotected, forest sites to find that they have been converted
stumps, we have to maintain constant vigilance. We must be ever
the forces that would exploit these sites for the timber or high
recreation - especially the sites that don't receive protection
of rare or endangered species.
But being vigilant or wary isn't enough.
We have to persuade the
powers that be that what these sites having going for them is at
sufficiently rare in terms of the distribution of their
as to warrant special protection and we accomplish this through
measurements. Measuring is then an indispensable tool for us. It
eyes and ears.
In fact, when investigating a new site,
we usually find that we are
the only ones with a valid perspective on where the site fits
to others along any number of lines of comparison. For example,
Massachusetts, to my knowledge, when we turned our attention
Trail State Forest, Monroe State Forest, and Mount Tom State
Reservation, ours was the only group that had any sense of what
represented at these sites and where each fit into the big
relative to forest maturity and forest stature.
Since our initial thrusts into
significant site documentation that
emphasized locating, measuring, and recording collections of
trees, we have grown immensely while other tree-interested
basically stood still or not entered the picture. But dominant
may be, we can't rest on our laurels. We must constantly move
perfecting our craft. It is our dominance in site documentation
gives us a visibility that can be translated into a voice in
happens to otherwise unprotected sites. I point this out as
relevant to western Massachusetts. Unlike the GSMNP, Congaree
the Porcupine Mtns State Park, Cook Forest State Park, etc. MTSF
have not a whet of statutory protection from the chainsaw. The
growth areas don't even have departmental policy protection.
naturalists have lauded the importance of the lower Dunbar Brook
MSF, the rest of Monroe and virtually all of Mohawk has received
special recognition - except that organizations such as Mass
have stood behind FMTSF/ENTS.
I have absolutely no doubt that it has been
the force of our
arguments, our persuasiveness, our ingenuity, and our constant
that has kept the chainsaws from entering the highly productive
second-growth areas of MTSF and MSF. In absence of our presence,
MTSF might not have been totally ravaged by local lumberman,
would have been significant timber sales in several accessible
that state forest. There had been such sales in the past.
A significant part of MTSF will likely be
included in a plan to
establish future forest reserves. I speak of the steep slopes
Cold River and Deerfield River Gorges, but the accessible
white pines - the flagships of Massachusetts will likely receive
protection only as a consequence of their exemplary stature as
documented and studied by FMTSF/ENTS.