21, 2002 13:11 PDT
I think Zoar Valley's gonna join the 130' foot club, and...it's
gonna do it
without any conifers. Whoa! Them's fightin' words from that
Yorker! Take a look at what we've got:
Accurately measured by Bob (9/23/01)-
1) Sycamore 150.2'
2) Tulip tree 149.5'
3) Eastern cottonwood 133.1'
4) White ash 132.9'
5) Red oak 130.8'
6) Walnut 115.0'
(we may have found a taller
example of ~120')
Now, we were very pressed for time in 9/01, so we didn't get 'em
Estimates based on nearby measured trees (obviously need
7) Bitternut hickory 130-140'+
...slender tree appears equal
to neighboring 140' sycamores
8) American basswood 125'+
...appears just a few feet shy of tall
9) Black cherry 120'+
...conservative estimate; not
the tallest, but well into the canopy
10) Sugar maple 110'+
...lots of beauties, but not as
tall as sycamores and tulips
There are a few hemlocks that are almost certainly over 100',
but I don't
think they'll crack the top ten. Other tall species in need of
include black locust, red maple, beech, American elm (one of 93'
measured), white and red pine, chestnut oak. Hmmmm...I smell
Not bad for north of 42.
Zoar Valley, NY
07, 2002 16:46 PST
to all ENTS!!
My absence from this marvelous discussion group has been FAR too
I'm so glad to be back. Unfortunately, I was saddled with a
problem upon arrival at Youngstown State, leaving me without a
office computer for some time (a long story..it's all fixed
after such an absence I could never show my e-face in ENTS land
some numbers...so here goes...
I've managed this fall to make 6 visits to Zoar Valley, NY,
along with a
YSU botanist and a number of students. The major focus of our
involved quadrat surveys of canopy trees (30-m quads, all trees
cbh) on the canyon bottom terraces dubbed by Bruce Kershner the
of Giants". Spread over five terraces in the Gallery (totalling
or 31 acres), we surveyed 23 quadrats, covering about 1/6 the
area. This is a very small portion of the probable old growth in
which also includes several hundred acres of canyon slope and
However, the terraces seem to hold the tallest trees in the
may be the premier hardwood forest in the Northeast (we're gonna
good battle going with Cook and Mohawk Trail). A separate survey
was dedicated to locating all trees over 100" cbh in the
Got some GREAT numbers here! Preliminary, of course, but
1) 16 trees reach canopy status on only 31 acres
2) Between 4 and 9 canopy species per 30-m quad = high local
diversity (I'm working on indices)
4) Mean cbh in quads ranged from 48 - 68"
5) High coefficient of variation (33 - 50%) for cbh within
high local size diversity
6) Largest tree in every quad >80" cbh, in 18 quads
>90", in 9 quads
(usually multiple large trees/quad)
7) Basal area
coverage up to 203 square feet per acre
8) Between 8 and 32 likely "old growth" trees per acre
measure without core data)
9) even a casual collection yielded 18 species of fern
Preliminary statistical analysis reveals decidedly greater
within quads than among quads, or among terraces. Variable
structure and species composition throughout suggest local
dynamics - no evidence of recent systematic disturbance.
At a larger scale, spatially and temporally, it appears fluvial
processes play a major role in the canyon. At the downstream end
several terraces there are areas of emerging floodplain forest,
young cottonwood, willow, and alder. A number of islands are
earlier in succession. Several stranded riverbanks are in
complete with overhanging roots. Inland from these the forest
suddenly older and more impressive. Still, fallen trees pull up
streambed cobbles from just below the surface. Interestingly,
Zoar's terraces show a distinct gradation into aged sugar maple
beech towards their upstream end - exactly where an ancient
would have formed first, and where the forest should be the
Conversely, one of the terraces has a stunning bottomland grove
cottonwood and sycamore at its downstream margin, right before
cuts back in. The land is dry now, but this spot may have held a
backwater as the terrace was slowly built up and exposed. Two
of the Gallery are today being eroded where the river is
into a terrace, toppling giant trees, but providing
exposures of the mature canopy without the obstruction of lower
edge trees. How many such cycles has Zoar's Gallery of Giants
the last 12,000 years?
TREE SIZE DATA:
>100" cbh Largest Tallest
(either Bob's laser, or my humble estimates)
Tulip 15 10'
7" 149.5' (same tree)
Sugar maple 7 10'
4" ~110-120' (modest-sized fallen tree of 108')
*Beech 6 12'
5", 11' 8" >100'
(none accurately measured)
Sycamore 6 11'
Eastern cottonwood 6 13'
American basswood 5 9'
~130'+ (awesome tree! smaller fallen tree of 121')
American elm 2 9'
White ash 2 9'
132.9' (same tree)
Eastern hemlock 2 8'
(none accurately measured)
Black walnut 2 9'
115.0' (others in woods may exceed 120')
Red oak 2 9'
130.8' (different trees, we may have found a taller one)
Red maple 1 9'
(none accurately measured)
Bitternut hickory 0 6'
5", maybe 7' ~135-140' (a towering specimen)
Black cherry 0 7'
9", maybe 8' >120' (none accurately measured)
Shagbark hickory 0 all
< 4' >100'
Yellow birch 0 5'
probably all <100', but some show very aged bark
White pine ? ? ?
A very tall specimen needs measuring (>130'?)
*A beech snag of 14' 11" cbh was at one time the largest
tree in the
Whew! Obviously a lot of work to do, and a lot of tree heights
measure accurately. Our occasional forays up the lower slopes
sugar maple, beech, ash, and cherry dominate there, with
specimens to be found (how tall??? I measured a fallen white ash
132', very near Bob's tallest standing ash on the terraces). The
hardwoods give way to hemlock and white and red pine on the
upper slopes, with exceptional chestnut oak along the rim. So
trees...so little time!
Glad to be back!!
ps Congrats to Dave, Fred, Michael, and the NYOGFA on the
white pine discoveries in the Daks - 170' in NY? WOW!
(more) Zoar Valley, NY, numbers
19, 2002 11:35 PST
You may remember the THRILLA IN MANILA...
or, perhaps, THE RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE...
Last fall Bob Leverett told us of the SOAR OF ZOAR...
So now, Bruce Kershner and I bring you
THE TALLY FROM THE VALLEY!
Yep, that's right. We slogged down into the Cattaraugus one last
some tree heights. Now, a note of caution here - I'm still
disbursement of grant funds to purchase a range-finder, so we
triangulated based on the tangent, with the adjacent side
the ground with a tape measure. These preliminary heights will
be confirmed, more likely adjusted, by laser/sine methods next
BTW, after reading the data, scroll
down for "A massive rationalization of crude methods in the
economic shortcoming, or why I didn't report a 179 foot red
aside, you'll see why Bruce and I are comfortable the
"play" in our Zoar
likely in feet, not fathoms.
NEWLY MEASURED TREES:
1) Bitternut hickory 142.1' x 4' 7" (AVG of 141.5', 142.8')
2) White ash 137.2'
x 6' 9"
3) Black walnut 128.8' x 7'
4) Black walnut 127.6' x 7'
5" (different trees, similarity a
5) Sugar maple 127.7' x
8' 11" (AVG of 125.3', 130.2')
6) Sugar maple 127.0' x
6' 2" (AVG of 124.6', 130.2')
7) Sugar maple 117.9 x
8) Red oak 126.4'
x 7' 0" (Bob's nearby NE champ still holds
9) Am basswood 123.0' x 6' 8"
10) Am basswood 119.0' x 5' 2"
11) Black cherry 115.5' x 6'
12) Am beech 113.9'
x 11' 9" (NYS champion?)
OK- "A massive rationalization of crude methods in the face
shortcoming, or why I didn't report a 179 foot red maple!"
by TP Diggins.
Bruce and I generated these preliminary data using a carpenter's
(with plumb bob) and tape measure, triangulating heights by
MAJOR error on many state tree lists). However, a number of
confident we greatly minimized such error:
-Leaf-off canopy. Easy to sight to top branches.
-Flat, flat ground. Never more than a few inches between tree
-Unobstructed walk-ups. We got the tape straight and tight.
-Mostly straight trunks, with narrow, vertically reaching
(exceptions: the beech and
two of the sugars - not as easy to key in on an obvious top
-We did a couple walks between each tree and the vantage point
ascertain the position of the sighted branch over the ground. We
corrected the adjacent side
measure when required.
-We chose the vantage points FIRST, based on sight lines to a
branch, THEN did the measuring (i.e., no pre-set 100' pace off,
for a good top branch).
-NO unreasonable tree heights. We actually came up short of my
estimates on some trees. Conveniently, there are laser-measured
throughout the Gallery that suggest height ranges for nearby
-Measurements always ranked neighboring trees in accordance with
obvious differences or similarities in height. It was reasonably
when Zoar's canopy is leafless to gauge relative tree heights
moderate distance. E.g. #1: The 137' ash was
notably taller than the 127' walnut close by. E.g. #2: The 140'+
markedly exceeded adjacent 119' and 123' basswoods, and even
than a nearby sycamore. E.g. #3: The 126' red oak and Bob's
footer appear close in height from a distance (I actually
new tree might have been taller).
SO...EXCITING SURPRISES :)
1) A 140' bitternut!!!! Our whoops and hollars were tempered
only by the
that this tree might get emasculated by more accurate
other skyscarpers down there, but this one seemed to be tops.
2) A 137' white ash!!! With a laser/sine measured specimen at
measured fallen tree at 132', and this baby, it's obvious white
exceptionally tall in Zoar. Tall ash abound, so it will be
for the champ.
3) 125'+ sugar maples!! Wow, I was really underestimating these.
trunks and gnarled limbs just don't convey height like the
bitternut, or the ghostly white of a sycamore. Obviously, these
need more reliable measurement ASAP. Note that three different
diameters all were very tall.
4) 125'+ black walnuts! Right where I thought they were going to
measured an awesome nine-footer to 115' on the other side of the
but it has since become apparent it wasn't the Valley's tallest.
5) Awesomely big American beech! Could be a NYS champion with
(height) + 19 (1/4 crown spread) = 274 points.
1) Basswood only to 123'. Hard to cry too much over 120'
thought this particular tree would flirt with 130'. Part of my
problem seemed to stem from my reliance on a neighboring
DO appear to be only ~15' shy of the sycamore, BUT it was
the leaves off
that this particular sycamore is shorter than many others in the
not even to 140'.
2) The red oak to only 126'. This tree seems insanely tall from
thought it might have gone above 130'. Nothing personal against
footer, but that tree is next in line along an eroding bank, and
chance it's gonna be in the river some year.
3) Black cherry to only 115'...downright pedestrian! However,
by Bruce and I does not hold the largest cherries in the Valley.
bigger trees on two terraces unreachable in the high water
visit. Gettem' next year.
4) Awesomely big American beech - with honkin' spiral crack that
developed in the
last month. Added to an incredibly hollow base, this tree could
winter. Nearly all of Zoar's great beeches are either snags or
stages of decay. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be just age.
seems pretty heavy.
1) Elm. A surprisingly frequent member of the canopy, and
No chance to cross river to leading height contender. Has the
120'+. Last September Bob measured a beautiful specimen of American elm
that tall, but classic spreading broom shape. BTW, there could
reds down there. With buds and twigs five to ten stories up,
easy call. Elm needs a lot of study in Zoar.
2) Red maple. Not common, but there are a few giants on the
3) Hemlock. All the Valley's biggest hemlock were across the
I wouldn't use a Rucker Index including laser/sine AND tangent
Cook's and MTSF's laser-only data, but even using the lower
Bruce and I brings Zoar up above 133'. A couple of measuring
should probably yield a final Index of 133 - 135'. Not bad for
CONIFERS in the top ten, EH?
Of course, we're all having a lot of fun with the NE
race, and I know I owe Bob (and probably Dale now as well) cases
beer, but there is a very serious application of the data we've
collecting in Zoar. As a state Multiple Use Area, the Valley is
the jurisdiction of the NYS Department of Environmental
Commerciali...er, Conservation, and a dwindling few entrenched
bureaucrats in Albany refuse to concede the unmistakable
value of the canyon's forests. Citizen campaigns for a permanent
moratorium on logging in the canyon have met with apathy at
outright resistance at worst. New Yorkers vividly recall the
recent attempted old-growth end-run in Allegany State Park,
beaten back by hundreds of citizen-environmentalists.
...huggin' trees and takin' names