State Forest, Mass.
| A trip through Monroe State Forest located
in northwestern Massachusetts today in a steady rain made me
ever more aware of what an ecological jewel Monroe is,
especially the Dunbar Brook watershed. There are between 200 and
250 acres of OG in Monroe and the Dunbar area is populated with
many great trees. I really haven't tied down the Rucker Index,
but expect to eventually confirm it at around 121 or 122, with
123 being absolute tops. The crown jewel of the Dunbar Brook
area is the Thoreau Pine, which stands fully 156 feet in height.
It is a tree that I hope Will Blozan eventually will climb.
I have measured
white ash trees to 134 feet in Dunbar and there may be taller
ones, but measuring in Dunbar is always a challenge because of
the difficult boulder field that one must negotiate. The
boulders are larger than those on Clark and that limits the
regions of huge trees. Even so, Dunbar has larger trees than
Second to the
Thoreau Pine as a show stealer is the Grandfather Pine, which is
about 142 feet tall, but 13.6 feet around. A third show stealer
is a huge white ash that measures at least 14.3 feet around. It
is on a slope, so choosing a spot to measure girth can lead to
figures that vary from 14 to 14.6 feet. It is a whopper, but it
is on its last legs. I doubt that it will last more than 5
years, 10 at the most.
layer in Dunbar is gorgeous. Today we saw a superb display of
foam flower. Wild ginger, foam flower, baneberry, Indian
cucumber root, wood anemone, dwarf gensing, clintionia, trout
lilly, dutchman's breeches, squirrel corn, rose twisted stalk,
solomon's seal, false solomon's seal, star flower, false lilly
of the valley, red trillium, jack in the pulpit, oxalis,
partridge berry, wild leeks, are all common. Pink ladies
slippers are present, but not common. There are several rare
species that I don't typically list. There are about 12 or 13
species of ferns.
especially interesting and valuable to those of us who are
working with Lee on the maximum growth model because of the
factors that it brings into play including boulder field, ravine
protection, high rainfall, circumneutral soils.
Jun 07, 2003 18:04 PDT
State Forest, Mass.
12, 2003 05:13 PDT
Well, yesterday Tony D'amato, Gary
Beluzo and I got wet, bee stung, but
otherwise had a very productive day in an eye-popping
second-growth oak forest.
It is simply one of the best we have in Massachusetts. It is
located in Monroe
State Forest and it covers around 80 acres. The dominate species
northern red oak and beech. There are a few white ash and sugar
growing in the wetter spots. Its exposure is southwestern. The
canopy is 90 to
110 feet in height. It won't go above that, but the stem density
for an oak dominated forest. The basal area varies from 30 to 45
sq meters per
hectare. That is high. I would guess the average is around 35.
We measured one oak to 112.1 feet in
height and 9.0 feet in circumference.
Anothwer oak was 11.7 feet in circumference. I didn't get its
height, but it
was about 90 feet. The largest we've measured in the stand is
12.2 feet around,
but my son Rob assures me there is at least one larger. There
are plenty in the
30 to 40 inch dbh range.
Tony took a few cores and we have taken
them at other times. The stand
dates to around 1860 and illustrates what Mother Nature produces
on her own in
120 to 150 years. It is impressive.
On the way back we stopped at Clark
Ridge. We didn't get any new champs,
but did manage to confirm a basswood at 123.6 feet. It is
slender - about 5
feet CBH, but the second tallest that I've measured. The black
cherry that last
year was measured at 118.5 is now 119.2. It is the tallest of
its species in
MTSF and barring damage with surpase 120 in a couple of years.
Gotta go to Bartholomew Cobble for a
Great Days in a Row
21, 2003 16:01 PDT
Dale, Will, Colby, Lee, et al.:
Well two great days back to back. Who could ask for more. Today
Kershner, Jerry Horowitz, and I looked at OG sites and of course
did have to take place. In Monroe State Forest, I tagged a
100.6-foot tall, 8.1-
foot circumference yellow birch. That is #2 for Massachusetts. I
can break 90
feet often, but 100 is a very, very difficult for the species.
It is as if it
has a built in regulator.
State Forest notches Upward.
05, 2003 15:08 PDT
Today John Knuerr and I escorted 12 folks from
the New England Wildflower Society around the Bear Swamp area of
Monroe State Forest's beautiful oak site. We had little time to
measure trees, but did tag four beauties, including one at 8.8
feet around and 120.6 feet in height. This tree and other Monroe
State Forest beauties push the Rucker Index for Monroe up a bit.
Here is the latest tally for Monroe.
Monroe State Forest
Species Height Circumference
WP 156.2 12.6
WA 134.2 8.7
HM 124.3 8.1
NRO 120.5 8.8
BTA 120.1 5.9
BC 117.1 8.2
SM 110.3 9.1
RM 110.1 6.4
ABW 108.1 5.5
RS 106.5 6.1
Index 120.74 7.93
Two quick basal area calculations for the oak
site produced 170 and 160 sq ft per acre.
The rise into the 120s for Monroe State Forest
is not a surprise and the index will go higher. I suspect it
will eventually make 122. But for now I'll settle for 120.74.
Monroe is the 3rd Massachusetts site to exceed 120. At present
Pennsylvania has 3 and Massachusetts has 3. New York has only
one documented, but it has more, guaranteed. I suspect that
we'll eventually identify 4 or even possibly 5 properties in
Massachusetts (state forest, Trustee's property, etc.) with
Rucker Indexes of 120 or more. Howeevr, that is pushing all
kinds of limits. By contrast, I expect PA has 6 or 7 sites and
New York about the same.
The 120-foot oak brings the locations in
Massachusetts where we've topped 120 feet to 4:
MTSF - Clark Ridge North
MTSF - Clark Ridge South
MTSF - Todd Mtn East
MSF - Bear Swamp
The black gum to which you were referring in
New Hampshire is 630 years old and was dated by Dan Sperduto of
the New Hampshire Natural Heritage program.
on Monroe State Forest
05, 2003 17:05 PDT
I neglected to mention that the 120.5-foot
tall N. red oak in Monroe State Forest lies at an altitude of
approximately 1,350 feet and a latitude of 42.69 degrees. This
is the highest altitude and latitude of the crop of 120-foot New
England red oaks. Will Blozan's 135-footer is at 40 degrees
latitude north. I can't remember, but I think the 131 -
132-footers in Zoar Valley grow at about 42.6 degrees latitude
north. Tom Diggins knows exactly. The 130-footer in Mohawk grows
at about 42.65.
It remains to be seen, but I think that we'll
find that 130 feet, give or take a foot or two is about as tall
as northern red oaks will grow at 42 degrees latitude north. I
suspect that by southern Pennsylvania, heights of 135 to 140
feet are as tall as the species grows. By Belt Woods, MD, add 2
or 3 feet. Going farther south may add a foot or two. So the
ceiling for the species seems to be about 145 feet in the
southern Appalachians and 130 feet at the latitude of central
New England. I could be all wet too.
State Forest, Mass.
29, 2004 18:47 PDT
Eleanor Tillinghast and I measured two excellent OG hemlocks in
Monroe State Forest in an upland cove: (10.7', 104.2') and
(9.7', 117.2'). The state bigtooth aspen was remeasured (7.6',
111.9') and a nearby one at (6.5', 113.2'). The super ash tree
in Dunbar measures (14.7', 121.8'). It is hanging on. The
humidity was very high today. I hate hot, humid air.