Kentucky OG meeting   Lee Frelich
  Jun 17, 2007 19:28 PDT 


I just got back to Minneapolis after attending the Kentucky Old Growth
meeting on Pine Mountain in SE Kentucky. Thanks to Neil for organizing--I
learn so much more from these types of small meetings where I get to talk
with local scientists than the national meetings for the big organizations
like ESA, which I am skipping this year. We had an hour-long thunder and
hail storm during the Friday presentations, and the power blinked and
turned off the projector a couple of times, but the power never stayed off,
so things went on as planned.

We saw excellent tree ring presentations (Neil Pederson and Ryan McEwan) as
well as history of old growth research (Leverett), silivculture of uneven
aged stands (Jeff Stringer) history of old growth conservation in Kentucky
and E. Lucy Braun (Rob Messick), and Kentucky natural areas (Marc Evans).
Bill Martin gave a lifetime of lessons on preserving old growth. Some guy
from Minnesota also gave an earthworm presentation, but I didn't see it, so
will withhold comment on it. We ended with a hike in Blanton Forest, with
its rich flora of my favorite genus-the violets, as well as extremely old
oak and hemlock trees and several resident dogs that went with us on the
hike (one of which ate the moss blanket from a log--my first experience
with a moss-eating dog).

The forests in the area are almost like the Smokies, but not quite. If you
put mixed hardwood forests on a gradient from the MN North Shore of Lake
Superior to the Smokies, the forests in SE KY are about 80% of the way down
the gradient, in terms of richness and tree height. Driving down there I
also observed the changes in tree growth form related to derecho frequency
and just a generally gentler climate from the point of view of a tree.
Trees in MN, are the most deformed trees (i.e. have the most 'character')
due to derechos and droughts, while the trees in SE KY are the least
deformed--unbelievably tall and straight.

I also learned that its best to use cruise control while listening to the
final movement of Tschaikovsky's 'Little Russian' symphony--if you don't
put on the cruise control you will inevitably end up going 90 mph as the
music speeds up towards the climax at the end, which is OK in MN where
highways are straight, but not OK with the curves and mountains in KY.




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