Regional Boundaries  

TOPIC: Regional Boundaries

== 1 of 5 ==
Date: Fri, Oct 24 2008 10:23 am
From: "Edward Frank"

Bob, ENTS,

You were talking about a listing of white pines in New England. Carl and I the other day were talking about Black Walnut. Dale has a tall tree near Erie PA, while Carl and I had a taller one near Cleveland. The question was whether these trees are comparable because they might be in different region lists, even though they are only 100 miles apart, at most. Where should our regional boundaries be? I know we have mentioned this before in these discussions, but I can't locate those posts now. One way is by general common political designations such as northeast, southeast, Midwest, etc. Another way would be to group by forest types.

Map from the Peterson's Guide "Eastern Forests." The kicker in the map above is the category Mixed Appalachians means that some patches have the characteristics of one of the other categories or a mixture of two or more categories. These categories of forest types are to a degree gradational. Could we develop a regional organization based upon these forest type criteria perhaps grouping some types together, or by making a mixture of political designations and forest types? looking at the map for example, Northern Hardwood pretty much occupies New England except that Connecticut and Rhode Island are a Northern Pine Oak forest. Maybe a more generalized breakdown could be Northern - consisting of New England, Michigan Wisconsin and Minnesota, Middle consisting of PA, DE, MD, NJ, VA, NC, KY, TN, OH, IN, IL. MO AK, and Southern with SC, GA, AL, MS, FL, LA. That way the northern segment would be primarily Northern Hardwood, Middle would be a mixture, and southern would be primarily southern mixed pine/oak and southern hardwoods. Not great but a compromise of both political and biologic boundaries. What does everyone think?

Ed Frank

Join me in the Eastern Native Tree Society at
and in the Primal Forests - Ancient Trees Community at:

== 2 of 5 ==
Date: Fri, Oct 24 2008 10:39 am
From: "Edward Frank"


Upon rereading my post, I want to clarify, I am not proposing we adopt strict boundaries that must always be used. I am just suggesting we look at the question of regional boundaries be considered when we make comparisons of different areas. Are we comparing like areas with like areas? Are we including or excluding areas that should or should not be included? I think it at least deserves consideration and periodic reconsideration as we grow our data set. Certainly the boundaries should be broken down to be what is most appropriate for what question you are asking.


== 3 of 5 ==
Date: Fri, Oct 24 2008 11:08 am
From: "Beluzo Gary A."


One of the problems that I see is the resolution of the map. For
example, the oak-hickory forest goes up the Connecticut River Valley
in Massachusetts whereas the map shows the area as being Northern
So, perhaps we need to have a map with better boundaries.


== 4 of 5 ==
Date: Fri, Oct 24 2008 4:45 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


I welcome your input. Actually I was thinking more along the lines of lumping things together to make broader comparisons, rather than great detail, but as I said, the boundaries are dependant on what question you are attempting to answer. So in some cases I a sure you are right that greater detail would be required.


== 5 of 5 ==
Date: Fri, Oct 24 2008 8:20 pm
From: "Steve Galehouse"

I think so much depends on "micro-environments" that regional boundaries
should not be considered truly significant. Perhaps the tree species that
attain the greatest size relative to others should be what matters
most--i.e.: " in Erie, the tallest forest trees are black walnuts, which
typically attain a height of 118', with associated sycamores attaining a
height of 103', while in Cleveland the black walnuts attain a height of
110', while the sycamores grow taller, to 115'.", as a made-up example.
Where I live tamaracks( boreal and northern hardwoods) grow within a
couple of miles of cucumber magnolias(mixed Appalachian, I still prefer
mixed mesophytic), and near prairie species like Buffaloberry. The gradation
of the forest types is so gradual that we need to say something to the
effect that: Mixed Appalachian always contains X species but not Y species,
so we know if/when a forest community is truly different, and even then its
just our own construct


== 2 of 2 ==
Date: Sat, Oct 25 2008 10:28 am
From: "Edward Frank"


I really don't have any strong opinions of regional boundaries, except I wanted to see what ideas people had on the subject. Your points about micro-environments and community composition are well taken.