RE: Formulas for points MY MEAGER TAKE ON THINGS Will Blozan Jan 22, 2005 08:33 PST
 Paul and other ENTS, I find myself with very limited time to respond to such an interesting discussion. However, I want to present an idea I have discussed with Bob L. in the past, and it is a system that reflects Paul's desire for a relative score. It is also independent of units, but is variable as new maximums are found and does not allow for inter-specific comparisons unless superimposed upon an absolute maximum "base". Naturally, the system can only be applied to ENTS measured trees, further limiting it's usefulness in the big tree lists. Oh well, I will propose it anyway. With an existing database (ENTS) a set of maximums of girth, height, and spread are established. The maximums are given a rating of 100, which represents 100% of the known maximum. For example, let's look three big tuliptrees; the Sag Branch tuliptree, the Mill Creek Monster, and the Greenbriar Giant. Known tuliptree maximums: Max girth 24.25' =100 pts (Jess may have a larger one) Max height 178.2' =100 pts Max spread 113' =100 pts (maximum, not average- treated same as height which we do not average for separate tops) With the above numbers, a tree has the potential to have 300 points if it contained all the maximum dimensions. Here is a comparison of three giants: Tree Girth Height Spread Points Sag Branch 91.7 94.3 100 286 Mill Creek 94.4 87.5 88.5 270.4 Greenbriar 100 87.5 85.5 276 How do these trees compare to the best we know of in the east (relative bigness)? ENTS maximum dimensions: Girth 31.8' (Middleton Oak?) Height 187' (Boogerman Pine) Spread 154' (Maximum above ground- Cherrybark oak measured last week) (Max spread estimated) Girth Height Spread Points Sag Branch Tuliptree 70 89.8 73.3 233.1 Pinchot Sycamore 86.8 52.6 94.2 233.6 Sunderland Sycamore 81.8 61.8 99.4 243.0 Pine Plains Sycamore 75.5 57.8 94.2 227.5 Middleton Oak 100 34.8 87.7 222.5 Cherrybark oak 61.6 85.7 84.4 231.7 Cherrybark oak 62.9 72.2 100 235.1 This system gives much more equality with respect to differing tree forms. It can be modified to compare within a species or within only conifers. The Middleton oak, with its huge trunk and wide spread compares favorably to the Sag Branch Tuliptree. The immensely huge Sunderland Sycamore scores high in all measures, and justly so! I believe this ranking system is called "hyper-volume" or something, and is used in ecology to represent three variable niche fulfillments of species and habitats. I like it because it is independent of units and the above numbers generally represent my visual ranking of the trees. Naturally, as we discover new records the numbers will change slightly for "saturated" species, and more quickly for less measured species (an active database would be required to continually update the numbers). The relative ranking for one or more variables may be useful for latitudinal analyses. For example, the black birch (and birch family in general) may not change more than 10 points over a huge latitudinal range, whereas white pine, tuliptree and northern red oak will change by much more within the same range. A graph of these relative numbers would be very interesting. Anyway, there it is! Will Blozan
 RE: Formulas for points MY MEAGER TAKE ON THINGS Edward Frank Jan 22, 2005 10:34 PST
 Will, A couple of questions or points. For the species maximums, what about using the tallest ENTS measured specimen even if it had since died? Thus the maximum height would still be Boogerman Pine, only at 207 feet rather than 187. It will be an annoyance to recalculate the values for each tree every time a new maximum for that species is established. It will also be a problem to compare values if there has been one or several adjustments to the base maximums had occurred between published figures. There is no reason that a percentage can not exceed 100%. I would suggest a table of maximum values compiled on a specific date for all species in the dataset. This could then be used for an extended period of time, perhaps 5 years. Then the dataset could be recalibrated using the latest values from that calibration date. The figures could be published for trees listing the calculated value and the year of the base maximum set used to derive the figures. This would help fix some of the implementation problems with the proposed measure. If other datasets listed the height, cbh, and canopy spread values for trees, we could calculate the same values for them, but there is still the problem of inaccuracies inherent in other measurement standards. There is no reason that a new and better standard for calculating big trees should not be developed by ENTS. I also think this method generates numbers with real value and not just cosmetic meaning. Ed Frank
 RE: Formulas for points MY MEAGER TAKE ON THINGS wad-@comcast.net Jan 22, 2005 11:16 PST
 Will, Bob, ENTS Using an excel spreadsheet, or even Access, you could group the trees by species, and have a cell dedicated to the current known maximum for each species. I agree it should be historical, as in the example of the Boogerman pine. A master list would be kept, and when a new dimension record is found, the cell that all the formulas use could be changed, then all the calculations would change automatically. Scott
 Standardized tree hypervolumes tpdig-@ysu.edu Jan 22, 2005 13:16 PST
 ENTS, I really like the idea that's developing here (Paul started this, I think...) of standardizing tree measurements in relation to known maxima. Units become irrelevant (as long as they're consistent for each dimension), unlike in the AF formula where the use of inches for girth dominates the additive formula. I have a suggestion - don't add the percentiles for each dimension, average them. That way the standardized maximum is always 100, no matter how many dimensions are measured (I presume most people would stay with girth, height, and crown spread, at least initially). The cool thing with standardized data is we can now rank trees at different geographical and/or taxonomic scales. E.g., an insanely big hop hornbeam (Ostrya) at 9' CBH and 90" tall is ranked right at the top for its species. It would, however, drop way down when ranked among all eastern trees. A 131' x 11' CBH x 70' CS northern red oak in Massachusetts would rank near 100% among forest grown NRO in New England, perhaps ~80% among all forest-grown trees in New England, some unknown but certainly much less than 100% among all NRO in the East (forest and open-grown), and so forth. The scale of analysis is set by the investigator, and could range from "all eastern trees" right down to "all trees of a certain species at a single site". We also have to remember that with all biological data, no matter what analyses, manipulations, etc. are performed, the original measurements can always be reported too. Tom
 Re: Standardized tree hypervolumes Edward Frank Jan 22, 2005 14:39 PST
 RE: Formulas for points MY MEAGER TAKE ON THINGS fores-@earthlink.net Jan 22, 2005 15:10 PST
 What about the whole idea of treating in-forest and field trees separately? If you really don't like to separate them it would be easy to combine the two separate tables into one master table. I just think that the form of the two types is so different and the experience of seeing a tree in the forest or on a lawn is so different....
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes Will Blozan Jan 22, 2005 19:22 PST
 Tom, I like your thinking, and I did toy with the idea of a "100" max scale. The 300 point scale I proposed gives more depth to the average observer, and a few more points between trees close in size. It also facilitates separating the maxima per variable, and better illustrates the relative ranking. A maximum height ranking of "32" may not mean anything, but a "92" would mean, "this tree represents 92% of the maximum known for the species, or the East, or the site..." I.e. - "Wow, Man, that is way tall!" Roll with it, man! Will
 RE: Formulas for points MY MEAGER TAKE ON THINGS Will Blozan Jan 22, 2005 19:50 PST
 Larry, I think the relative ranking equalizes the extremes in growth form, since a forest grown tree is usually taller and narrower than an open-grown tree which is typically shorter but wider. The girth may be the most significant variable between an open-grown and forest-grown tree, and one that may be equally outweighed by height. Will B
 RE: Formulas for points MY MEAGER TAKE ON THINGS Will Blozan Jan 22, 2005 19:50 PST
 Ed, ... As far as the updating of the "base", I would want to do it regularly, but I see your point with regard to simplicity. Either way, the "base" should not change dramatically since we have such a massive set of data for so many species from so many ENTS measurers. We are certainly talking only a fraction of a percent in general, with a 2-4% jump being very rare. I must say though, that Jess Riddle blew the socks off the NA Carpinus height record last weekend when he spotted a tree nearly 10 feet taller than anything previously known (except for an unreported tree Ed Coyle measured in NY recently- post it, DUDE!). Such a jump will be rare, but not uncommon for species we do not intensively sample. Will B.
 RE: Formulas for points MY MEAGER TAKE ON THINGS Will Blozan Jan 22, 2005 19:55 PST
 Scott, The bottom line is, we need to develop a formula that is independent of growth form. But why? I am nagged by the "need" to quantify trees for a "big tree list". That is not the mission of ENTS. Quantifications of tree dimensions over latitudinal or whatever gradients we need are what ENTS is all about. The understanding of trees, not the competition of superlatives. Will
 RE: Formulas for points MY MEAGER TAKE ON THINGS fores-@earthlink.net Jan 23, 2005 11:12 PST
 Well, much to my shock, it seems I am alone when it comes to this on this list, but perhaps it could at least be made standard practice to mark down along with other data whether it's in forest or not. It only takes about 2 seconds to make note of this (although certain rare cases might be non-trivial), so it wouldn't seem to be troublesome to make it standard practice, height and spread and stuff are what take effort. So even if the official ENTS and AF tables (not that the AF tables seem reliable enough for anything) don't split lists, others who care about this fact would still be able to make their own customs data tables.  Personally to me, it seems if you don't split the list then why even bother making separate lists for different states, locations, single vs. multi-stemmed, etc. From an biological or ecological perspective in forest and in front lawn are completely different beasts, as different as Smokies vs. northern reaches of Maine, recent third-growth and old-growth. Plus, isn't it more exciting to say find a tree that is 95% of the known in forest max girth than say only 70%, and where probably 100% of the top ten lists for girth will be from front lawns and 100% of heights from forests? Plus, isn't the experience of a great tree in a front lawn with cars rushing by, the sun beating down, and branching starting at 4' way (not that all lawn tree have this form, some are fairly forest looking in form) different than some forest monarch, not that lawn tree may not be impressive and neat, there are some nice old trees in my town, but still it's such a different thing for so many different reasons.  Biologically, ecologically, I don't see how it makes much sense (although, granted, various forest disturbances and histories can complicate things, depending upon what you are after). What can we gain about max girth and height in different forests and open parks and lawns and so on if everything is mushed together? Anyway, I'm beating a dead horse. Hopefully people will at least mark the difference so those who wish can look at the relevant data for particular needs. I agree. I don't like to hear that a tree is open grown, that is why it ranks so high. The capacity of a species is what we are after. Someone had said that we should list forms separately. I think we need to proceed with a formula that doesn't consider form. The trees should equal themselves out, as forest trees are taller and open trees have more girth.
 RE: Formulas for points MY MEAGER TAKE ON THINGS Edward Frank Jan 23, 2005 11:30 PST
 Larry, I don't think you are alone on this question. I would be in favor of noting whether a tree was open grown or a forest tree. If that note was in a sortable field in the database, the list could be sorted to generate separate forest and open grown lists.   There may be some problems with annotating the existing database, but there should not be a problem for new trees, or when trees are remeasured. It would be worth the effort in my opinion. Bob, what do you think about a forest or open grown field in the database? Ed Frank
 RE: Formulas for points MY MEAGER TAKE ON THINGS Will Blozan Jan 23, 2005 19:40 PST
 I fully support a distinction. Truthfully, it was not on my mind since I measure 99% or more forest trees, which is likely true of all the ENTS members. I take keen interest in yard trees, but focus on the forest attributes of trees in their "native" habitat and growing conditions. Great points! Will
 RE: Formulas for points MY MEAGER TAKE ON THINGS dbhg-@comcast.net Jan 23, 2005 14:28 PST
 Ed, Larry, et al:     It might appear from what we routinely report to the list that we don't record anything about a measured tree but its height, circumference, and maybe spread. That is not the case for some of us. We have room in the database that several of us share to record all the following:      1. Tree's condition (good, fair, poor)      2. Age class (young, mature, old)      3. Number of trunks      4. Growing environment            a. forest grown, partially open growth, open grown            b. old growth, second growth, etc.            c. moist, dry      5. Height above base at lowest point of branching      6. General comments    We intend to add a terrain index factor when we figure out how we want to go about computing it.     In truth, I get lazy when it comes to recording the above factors and even under good circumstances, time or location of a tree often precludes recording all the data we want. What some of us have been steadily moving toward is a system of identifying important sample trees on a site for which we will fill all the data fields. Non-sample trees would have some added items recorded, but not necessarily all the above.      Ed, for ENTS website reporting, maybe we could agree on the following:      1. The number of trunks at point of major branching      2. Height at point of major branching      3. Tree condition      4. Age class      5. Growing environment: Open, partially open, forest    There may be other items we should report, but the above don't require more time or equipment. Tree condition and age class are judgment calls. So we may want to discuss these further. What do the rest of you think? Bob
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes Darian Copiz Jan 24, 2005 08:03 PST
 ENTS, I think a relative size scale could definitely be more than a novelty. During the development planning for forested sites there often is, or should be, a forest stand delineation in which significant trees are noted so that they might be preserved. These are always the very largest trees on the site. It has always bothered me that a site could potentially have a giant Carpinus, Cornus, Ostrya or such, yet these giants of their species would be cut down without a second thought. If a scale relative to species was used, some very cool trees might be saved. Admittedly, it would be a long time before such a scale would be adopted as part of the development process, but things always have to start at some point. My two cents on the scale is that I prefer a 100 point max continuously recalibrated. A percentage based off of 100 is the most readily understandable. For a better understanding of a particular tree, the three variables could easily be observed as is the case in most current lists. I don't like separating forest grown and open grown trees. There are always gray areas. Trees should be compared to trees. The challenge would be to balance the variables to best reflect size - if that's not possible, big deal, we would still get a pretty good idea of the tree's size. Darian
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes edward coyle Jan 24, 2005 09:51 PST
 Darian, The 'novelty' comparison was for the arbitrary scores for state and other champion tree lists. This suggested hyper volume scale is a means by which comparisons may be made to any order. Eastern North America, our focus, represented by the three largest dimensions we have for height, girth, and spread, would be the super set against all trees would be measured. Of course, the number represented by 100% could adjust upward, if a greater specimen was found. Additionally, sub sets for regions, states, sites, species could also be made. Will detailed this in a Jan. 22 post to the site. Ed C
 Will's WAY COOL proposed new system Robert Leverett Jan 24, 2005 10:32 PST
 Will, Ed C., and others: Oh Man, Will, I've already fallen in love with your proposed 300 max point system. Look at how it treats the Sunderland, Pinchot, and Pine Plains sycamores. I may be off a little on the maximum spread of the Pine Plains tree. Can't find the original max spread measurement, but it wasn't much off of what is being shown below. Note that the maximum height for a northeastern sycamore is presently that of the Vanderbilt Tree and I'm assuming the PA sycamore will yield a legitimate 30-foot circumference. Scott will have to be the judge on that one, but for now, we can use the 30-foot circumference as the max. Comparison of 3 northeastern sycamores against northeastern maximums Dim -->           Hgt Spread Cir Pts Maximum  136.1 153.0 30.0 Sunderland. 114.4 153.0 24.9 Pct Max. 84.1 100.0 83.0 267.1 Maximum  136.1 153.0 30.0 Pinchot. 98.5 149.0 27.6 Pct Max. 72.4 97.4 92.0 261.8 Maximum  136.1 153.0 30.0 Pine Plains. 114.2 135.0 26.2 Pct Max. 83.9 88.2 87.3 259.5 Will, your system is WAY COOL. It has to be adopted .... like, right now! The Sunderland sycamore rules. YES! Bob
 Re: Will's WAY COOL proposed new system Lee E. Frelich Jan 24, 2005 10:56 PST
 Bob: I like the 300 point and % max scale you demonstrate. FYI the University of Wisconsin developed a 300 point scale for comparing the abundance of tree and herb species among stands in forests during the 1950s, and it is still known today as the Wisconsin School statistics. It included relative frequency (species present at 0-100% of all points within a stand), relative density (species accounts for 0-100% of all stems within a stand), and relative abundance (species accounts for 0-100% of cover, or in the case of tree, basal area within a stand). For trees they also used a 200 point scale that included relative frequency and relative abundance. Lee
 RE: Will's WAY COOL proposed new system edward coyle Jan 24, 2005 11:21 PST
 Bob, I was toying with just how to display the numbers. Your sycamore ranks 267 among known NE max, and the Sunderland would rate 235 against the hypermax. 235/267 or 235.267. Any thoughts on how best to distinguish numbers for sub sets, ie. region, state, site, species. Ed C
 RE: Will's WAY COOL proposed new system Darian Copiz Jan 24, 2005 11:46 PST
 ENTS, Not meaning to push a personal preference, but just noting another way of putting it: 89.0%, 87.3%, and 86.5% of "maximum potential". One B+, but no A's. Darian
 RE: Will's WAY COOL proposed new system- 300 vs. 100 points Will Blozan Jan 24, 2005 12:24 PST
 ENTS, Ed Frank has proposed that the three scales be combined into a 100 point maximum point total for all three attributes. I personally like the 300 point scale as it give more readily understandable resolution and where the tree stands with respect to any given attribute. However, I am open to ideas and enlightenment. It is just a fledgling idea after all, and free to play with. My mind is racing with how many ways we can apply the rating system. It can really give meaningful depth to the "bigness" a tree can have relative to it's peers. Much more so than the AF points system can. A 300 AF point hemlock in New England is way more significant than a 300 point tree in the Smokies. The new system would illustrate that when it is compared "apples to apples". Such a tree in New England may score the same as or even surpass a "larger" 350 AF point tree in the Smokies when viewed against the appropriate regional scale. Likewise, the 111' "shrimpy" hemlocks of the Porkies can now be viewed as the relative giants that they are- no less significant than the Tsali hemlock in the Smokies. That is, when viewed "apples to apples" against their peers. Neat! Credit where credit is due! Defining the regional scales is the next hurdle, as is naming this new system. Much to my surprise, the system seems to have instantly gained support (even by the stalwart ecologists out there), and may be on the way to adoption within ENTS. This is exciting! Any ideas for a name? Does it have a "real" name? Is my memory correct in the "hyper-volume" memory? ENTS Hyper-volume Rating System? Long, no acronym... Multivariate Abyss of Confusion... Maybe something with MASS as the acronym? Regional assessment of Massiveness? Regional Magnitude of Massivity? Burl-belly Hyper-volume Fulfillment Index? Now we're talkin'... Will B
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes Edward Frank Jan 24, 2005 13:01 PST
 ENTS, Will's Meager Proposal seems to have reached immediate acclaim among ENTS who have responded. We should adopt it immediately. There are only two factors I see left to be decided: 1) Should it be the sum of the three percentiles or the average with the system based on 100%. Tom Diggens, Darian Copiz, and myself have supported a 100 percent scale. Others, including Will Blozan and Lee Frelich, favor adding the three figures together. I like the 100% scale, because as Tom pointed out: "That way the standardized maximum is always 100, no matter how many dimensions are measured." Will suggested that the 300 point scale would to an average person appear to have a greater resolution - 300 versus 100. I would counter that the percentages should be carried to 1/10 or 1/100 of a percent, giving a virtual scale from 0 to 1000. If the percentage were multiplied by 1000, then a perfect tree - one that was the tallest, fattest, and greatest crown spread - would have a score of 1000. Consider the three sycamores Bob cited in his post (Jan 24, 2005) the Sunderland, Pinchot, and Pine Plains sycamores. In the additive formula the scores are respectively 267.1, 261.8, and 259.5. Using a 100% scale with scores of 89.03%, 87.27%, and 86.5% of "maximum potential" would translate to 890.3 points, 872.7 points, and 865 points. 2) Should the baseline maximums from which a species percentage is derived be updated continuously, or on a longer term basis? If they are updated continuously, then the advantage for doing it this way is that the values for each individual tree are always up-to-date and represent the most recent findings. If they are updated on a longer term basis, and a larger tree was found you would have a percentage greater than 100% (not necessarily bad IMHO). The advantage for this method would be that if the base line numbers were updated continuously, any published figures would become out-of-date and differ from each other every time the base line was updated - in general I think a longer term basis for the base line would provide information that would allow analysis made using it to be directly comparable over a longer period of time, and hence have a greater utility. There was some discussion about whether a separate list should be maintained for open grow and forest grown trees. This was a concern expressed by Larry Baum. I also agree that information would be interesting. However the general tree database includes a field lists whether a tree is open grown or forest grown. Seagate lists could be generated from a single master by sorting from the master database using on that field. So really only one master list needs to be maintained. Lets hear opinions on these two questions, and if anyone has any additional questions or concerns I would like to hear them at this initial stage. Ed Frank
 RE: Will's WAY COOL proposed new system- 300 vs. 100 points Edward Frank Jan 24, 2005 13:09 PST
 Will, I think EHR is a fine acronym. Questions about new system? 3) Should we be using the current biggest tree, or a historical measurement that is larger if it was an ENTS measurement with good information? The example that comes to mind is the Boogerman pine. Should we be using the max height at the current value - 187 estimated, 186 last measurement - or should we be using the maximum measured height of the tree - 207 feet - measured before crown loss a few years ago. I would favor the historical bigger number, but don't view this as a critical question. Ed Frank
 RE: Will's WAY COOL proposed new system- 300 vs. 100 points Robert Leverett Jan 24, 2005 13:26 PST
 Ed: At this point, I would vote for historical maximums since they tell us a specie's story over time much better than current maximums do. The concept of historical maximums should be apply to local, regional, or eastern wide maximums. In response to your prior e-mail, I'm still thinking about the 100% scale versus the 300 point maximum scale. I'm also developing a sample of 20 New England white pines that I know very well. I plan to put the scores earned by these pines on each of the 3 point systems ( AF, ENTS Pts, and EHRS) side by side with comments. I'll pass the results to you in a spreadsheet in a couple of days so maybe you can post it to the website for others to look at and comment on. Bob
 RE: Will's WAY COOL proposed new system Robert Leverett Jan 24, 2005 13:32 PST
 Ed Coyle: Good questions. We may want to consider breakdowns of eastern wide, region, state, and site. We would have to agree on the regional definitions. That can get messy. The Northeast is commonly consider to include New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. I'm unsure of what states belong to what other regions. The pie can be sliced in so many ways and for so many differing purposes. Bob
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes Darian Copiz Jan 24, 2005 14:55 PST
 Ed and ENTS, In regards to topic of discussion 2 below, I think there are some problems with not continuously updating a database. If a larger tree is found, and given a score of say for example 303 or 101 or 1001 (whatever is decided), the maximum potential score of all other trees of the species are immediately out of date. The new discovery is up-to-date in comparison to the old base tree/trees. However, although all the other trees are also accurate relative to the baseline, they do not reflect the new discovery and a new potential maximum. How clear would it be to the reader that the tree maximums are set by a baseline, which might or might not be the actual known maximums for the species. Additionally, a score above a set maximum implies that the tree's size is actually greater than the maximum for the species. But the tree in question, by existing, has displayed otherwise. I think that in order for published material to never be out of date, scores would have to be chosen that the species could probably never actually attain so that the baseline wouldn't change. That, however, doesn't sound like a very appealing option to me. I think part of the nature of published material is for it, at some point, to become out-of-date. A web based database, however, could always be up-to-date. One way to help solve the problem of an old base line would be to use the scoring system in conjunction with the actual measurements. Almost all big tree lists I can think of list the measurements in addition to the final score. My vote would be for a 100 point system (with possible decimals), second would be a 1000 point system, and third would be a 300 point system. I think most people immediately understand a scoring system between 1 and 100 and can more quickly grasp the relation between a given number and 100. I immediately have a good idea what 89.03 is in comparison to 100. It takes me a little longer to understand the relationship between 267.1 and 300 and even after thinking about it for a while, its still not quite as clear as on a 100 scale. That's my vote, although it should probably not be weighed very heavily since I have not regularly contributed in the past and I don't think anyone in ENTS knows anything about me. So as a real quick introduction, I'm a landscape architect/urban designer living in Maryland right outside Washington D.C. I have a great interest in trees (of course) and nature in general. I am also interested in photography and history. Sorry for the tardiness in the introduction. Darian
 Will's WAY COOL system - problems abi-@u.washington.edu Jan 24, 2005 15:19 PST
 All, I mostly like where this is leading, but you are not there yet. The new system makes the three measurements equal - are you sure you want that? I still think average crown spread is arbitrary and not very useful. All of the methods that convert what a tree is into some arbitrary point system will always have problems with certain trees. The AF system favors big trunks over tall trees and falls apart with super large trees. What is your objective - do you want this new system to reflet volume? If not, then what else? In my scientific research I must predict volume all of the time. My equation for Piea sitchensis, for example takes the form of: (((2.596*(dbh^2.3))+(1.78*(HT^2.697))). This is based on 61 trees that run the full range of size to 401 cm diameter and 92.7 m tall. Enough for now. Cheers, - BVP
 Re: Will's WAY COOL system - problems Edward Frank Jan 24, 2005 16:09 PST
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes wad-@comcast.net Jan 24, 2005 16:20 PST
 Ed 1) 300 point scale. I think it will appeal the masses, but is that what we want. 2) I think the data base should be updated at the find of a new champ. I don't think it will happen that often, after the initial year or so. As mentioned before, the data could be calculated easily using a spreadsheet. If not, then at least annually. I know the 10 year span for the Pa tree list probably frustrates alot of people who find a new tree one year after the latest results come out. Scott
 RE: Will's WAY COOL proposed new system- 300 vs. 100 points edward coyle Jan 24, 2005 16:46 PST
 Scott, I too am inclined toward the tri-measure. I think more reduction leads to a lesser impression, or picture, of an individual tree. Ed C
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes fores-@earthlink.net Jan 24, 2005 17:15 PST

So all the coefficients are going to be 0.33333 (or 1) each? No more
thought of testing out various weights for the final output?
a(% of max species Height) + b(% of max species Width) + c(% max species

anyway I suppose it doesn't matter anyway, as long as height, situation,
etc. anyone can make up there own tables
as they see fit, renormalizing % of each factor to max for location type
and setting coefficients as they desire, there isn't a way to make one
single list that's good for every purpose or desire anyway.

one thing
though with officially keeping open and forest completely tied together,
well won't this, with equal coefficients case in particular, mean that a
great many in forest trees might not even make it onto the table and
perhaps in other cases notable lawn trees, how many of each type will
appear? if just one from each region then obviously there will be no way to
rebuild the table since you'll loose whatever % of species for each table
type. even if say 5 of each species get in the list, maybe it is a species
that gets exceptional girth and spread in the open and so much less so that
no amount of height will let any forest tree make the list. what exactly is
going to be plugged into the list, all significant finds from each region
(many entries per region) or just one tree per region, etc.?

 3) Sould we be using the current biggest tree, or a historical measurement  that is larger if it was an ENTS measurement with good information?

I would also favor historical.

 1) Should it be the sum of the three percentiles or the average with the system based on 100%. Tom Diggens, Darrian Copiz, and myself have supported a 100 percent scale. Others, including Will Blozan and Lee Frelich, favor adding the three figures together.

if we did go to varying coefficients, I might set spreads coefficient=0.0,
heh. In some ways I can see it being quite worthy though. In other ways it
seems more problematic and rather a pain. I think overall I could easily
live without it. I would certainly scale it way down at least, to be no
more than a modest tie-breaker (of course there are truly horrible counter
examples, one the worst of which would be the Live Oak, in general though,
I think it might make more of a mess than help, I can think of scenarios
were it could mess things up as badly as it would help for Live Oak, not sure.)

 Re: Will's WAY COOL system - problems fores-@earthlink.net Jan 24, 2005 17:37 PST
Ed,

They are good points.
OTOH, I keep envisioning this fat white-ash that grew to immense spread
open-grown, branching exceptionally low to the ground and how while it
seemed big it just didn't seem nearly as big as this one I saw off-trail in
Pine Orchard that just towered up soooo high, but a very narrow crown. I
think with the 1,1,1 (1/3,1/3,1/3) factors it would not even make the list
though and would appear to be almost incomparably smaller by these #'s which
isn't the feel that I get around them. And say there was some redwood 50'
taller and similar diameter to one that, for some reason, and maybe it
doesn't occur to this extent, had exceptional enough spread to come out as
high or even much higher in final score. still, I do see your valid points

 From: Edward Frank  This is perhaps not a tightly defined concept, but reflects a balance of all the parameters that contribute to the aesthetic concept of bigness. Should all of the factor be weighed equally? For a couple of reasons I would argue that yes they should be treated equally. You think average crown spread is arbitrary and useless. I am not sure it is. The crown spread represents to some degree the size of the tree canopy. This is where all leaves are located, where all of the branches are located, where all of the photosynthesis is taking place. It is hardly a trivial area of the tree in a biological sense, although it may be in terms of volume. You certainly know far more than I do about tree canopy structure from your detailed mapping of giant trees around the world. If I were to look for an expert on the subject, you would be the one I would call, but on this question about whether canopy spread is a useful measurement or not, I still disagree with your assessment.
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes Edward Frank Jan 24, 2005 17:37 PST
 Larry, Three equal measures seems to be the way almost everyone wants, but nothing has been decided yet. I noted in my last email that you wanted to weight canopy spread less than the other factors, and BVP ask about whether we were sure we wanted to give all three values equal weight. I favor giving them all the same weight, but it is not universal. I will be happy to repost the questions, or post a new message, asking whether all factors should be weighed equally or weighted in some manner. It is my understanding that every tree with measurements will be included in the list so that there won't be any forest grown or open grown trees with measurements left out. There may be situations where differences in girth overwhelm those of height or crown spread, or the opposite. We just need to wait and see what the data shows. If the results turn out to be too skewed for reasonable rankings, the list can be sorted by forest or open grown, or the weight of each parameter could easily be adjusted by changing a number in a calculating cell. All factors being equal seems the most appropriate way to start. the formula is really: (1/max height) specimen height) + (1/max girth) specimen girth) + (1/max canopy spread) specimen canopy spread) = Points, the choice then under this scenario would be raw points as listed, or a percentage value derived by dividing the result by 3. (I also suggested expanding the percentage derived by multiplying by 1000 to give a larger, more appealing, number representation) One of the ideas for the database is to give people access to the raw information so that they can manipulate the information to whatever need they have. So the information can be reprocessed to reflect whatever sorting or weighting of the parameters you want. Ed Frank
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes - Weighting Parameters Edward Frank Jan 24, 2005 17:40 PST
 ENTS, Larry Baum and Bob Van Pelt have both questioned whether or not we wanted to weigh all three of the parameters under discussion evenly - Height, Girth, and Canopy Spread. What are your opinions, please try to explain the pros and cons of each option in your reply. I have previously stated my opinion. Ed Frank
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes edward coyle Jan 24, 2005 18:16 PST
 Larry, As I understand your concern for 'losing' a species, due to its being forest or field grown, I can only think that it would depend on the list. All trees would not, and should not, make a national list. It would be exhaustive. However, a plot or site, might require recording every species present. As the list jumped in scope to state, or regional level, your particular trees may be lost due to their relative unimportance. For example a state champion something might disappear from an East coast listing. The list can be made to any level you want,plot, site, state, region. It will have ultimate comparison with the hyper volume tree values. The number of each species listed could be unlimited, but would more likely, it would be reduced to a managable number,and be representative of the best the sub plot has to offer. That's how I understand the concept at this juncture. Ed C
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes fores-@earthlink.net Jan 24, 2005 18:17 PST

 Darian Copiz wrote: In regards to topic of discussion 2 below, I think there are some problems with not continuously updating a database. ... One way to help solve the problem of an old base line would be to use the scoring system in conjunction with the actual measurements. Almost all big tree lists I can think of list the measurements in addition to the final score.

I guess it would be easy enough to keep up to date. Each % for the three
values would be calculated based off of excel cell location for that
species max girth, height, spread so it could automatically update for every
tree of that species without any work at all, since it is is recording all
the data for each tree. You could have a function that goes down the list
automatically finds the largest for each of the three values and stick it
in the storage box for that tree which the percentage boxes would then make
their calculations based off of. You'd have functions to grab this for
state, region, location type etc. and then other telling which to use.
actually this msg is getting garbled i don't have time to be coherent now,
back to work.
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes - Weighting Parameters Paul Jost Jan 24, 2005 18:18 PST
 Parameters - Max Crown Spread or Longest Branch Edward Frank Jan 24, 2005 19:02 PST
 Re: RE: Will's WAY COOL proposed new system- 300 vs. 100 points Jess Riddle Jan 24, 2005 20:17 PST
 Re: RE: Will's WAY COOL proposed new system- 300 vs. 100 points fores-@earthlink.net Jan 24, 2005 22:01 PST

 On the other hand, the 300 point system does provide some unique flexibility. We have little spread data for many species, so if we add the height and girth percentiles for those species we essentially have a scoring system out of two hundred points. Looking at those score would immediately reveal that one dimension had been left out whereas with a 100 point system how much data had contributed to the point score would be unclear.

Personally, I don't really care much whether 100 or 300, since it is the
exact same
thing and 300 isn't something pain in the neck weird like out of 967.8,
although 100 seems a little
bit more natural since it has been normalized to a more natural mode for
our typical base 10 way of thinking.
But it's a very minor point, maybe 300 sounds bigger and more grand, maybe
100 sounds like perfect score, I don't know.
I don't see that your arguments make all that much sense though in
supporting either 100 or 300, a tree might be
70%,75%,40% for a 170% total and another might easily be 80%,95%
for a 175% total, so I don't see how this 300% system automatically reveals
whether one aspect has been left out or not, here both are below 200 AND
the one with only two
components is larger. Sure, in many cases if it has less
than 200 it would mean that, but I don't think it would be all that uncommon
for it not to either, it would be entirely unreliable way to tell at a
snap, although perhaps trees of such low triple
points would be rare (but then again a forest tree might have low spread,
big but not tops girth and decent height and often apear less than 200).
Also, with the 100 points then you just look if its under 66, same as
checking if its under 200. So whether you add the three (two)
together or add the three together and then divide by 3 (2) they both seem
equally easy and clear. OTOH, if we tracked all three, but very or mostly
only used 2 in the end, then 200 is more natural than 66 to deal with, so
that might favor the 300 system since there would be less converting thigns
back and forth, although then again if we deal mostly with out of 200 could
make the 200 a 100 and the few times you use 300 make that out of 150.
 Jess weighs in dbhg-@comcast.net Jan 25, 2005 03:57 PST
 Jess: Thanks for weighing in on the alternatives. Your writing is crystal clear. You've done a service for the less numerically focused on our.    Even though, I support the 300 point system slightly over the 100 and am partial to the longest limb slightly over the longest spread, we shouldn't rule out some weighting umtil we've applied the formula to lots of trees. I'm presently comparing 16 white pines in New England on all 3 systems: the proposed one, AF, and ENTS Points. From my perspective the new system is a slight improvement over the other two for reasons that are as subjective as objective. More to come on this topic. Bob
 Re: Jess weighs in Lee E. Frelich Jan 25, 2005 06:28 PST
 Bob: I agree with Jess. 300 points is more honest, since it tells you right away that three factors were used, and for those trees where you only have 2 measurements, you can compare them using the 200 point scale. This is probably the reason that most indexes based on multiple factors, such as the plant abundance system I explained in a previous e-mail, use 200 or 300 points. The longest limb is probably the best measurement to take for purposes of comparing big trees. I take the crown radius in several directions and use elliptical formulas to calculate crown area, since I am usually interested in area occupied by trees in different age classes. However, that is much more detailed data than necessary for big tree comparisons. Lee
 Random thoughts on measuring and formulas Robert Leverett Jan 25, 2005 06:32 PST
 ENTS:    The unprecedented burst of e-mails on where to take the measuring game has been music to the ears of those of us who have been wanting to see us have a good debate on the subject for a long time. This morning John Knuerr and I discussed the direction we seemed to be heading and John made the observation that ENTS is in the business of collecting raw measurement data on trees using sound techniques and then making the data available for the portrayal of results for any number of purposes. John is absolutely right. We are about the processes of data collection than about achieving a particular end result. Science, big tree beauty pageants, and historical documentation all fit the bill, provided we collect enough data.    From our growing base of raw data, we can compute all kinds of scores and indices and array them for a variety of potential purposes. For instance, in comparing two trees with an eye toward crowning one an overall size champion, we also are inclined to stray into troubled waters. We too calculate composite tree scores based on a single compromise formula. And we observe over and over that the results are entirely unsatisfactory for a substantial percentage of comparisons. Given the impossibly varied forms taken by trees, this will always be the case. However, if we expand our measurements by taking circumference at the base, at the traditional 4.5 feet, and another at 6.5 feet if tree shape allows, height at the major branching point, maximum limb length, average radial crown spread, total height, number of trunks, number of major branches, etc. we can make a variety of meaningful comparisons. We may reach an overall conclusion that one tree is bigger than another or we may not. But the data will all be there and available to mull over ad infinitum. We lse no detail, disguise no features. So John's reminding me this morning that ENTS is in the business of collecting accurate data and making it available for a variety of presentation purposes and anaylses really does speak to our mission.    Contests will always be fun and there is no harm in us having a tree ranking system of our own, of building a slightly betetr mouse trap - so long as we don't take it too seriously. Bob
 Re: RE: Will's WAY COOL proposed new system- 300 vs. 100 points edward coyle Jan 25, 2005 06:57 PST
 All, I have been thinking about this nonstop since its idea was brought forth. Many probative questions have been raised, and this is great! I believe we are on the verge of having a universally usable, and comparable, dimension relativity index. I will list my thoughts, for what they're worth, regarding some of the ideas put forth. I favor using maximum spread. Though this may give some edge to field grown specimens, many examples of forest monarchs could be given. Combining field and forest grown does not present a problem for me. Using max spread, as opposed to longest limb extension, might better show species potential, rather than a forced, errant branch. Either method used does not indicate canopy mass, or volume potential. Neither does averaging a perpendicular crossing. It is only for max spread potential, one of our index criteria. I favor using the 300 point scale. We use three measurements, and always have, to obtain a size ranking. Beyond that application more involved measuring is needed, and beyond the scope of the index. Examples, volume, biomass-to whatever extent, etc. The weighting of the three variables is best done by applying 100% to each. How can applying a handicap to one aspect of three, more indicate the value of that measure? It cannot. There is no more accurate way to judge relativity than by using the maximum example known, not 60% of that value, for example. Surely, if one can understand a percentage of 100, a simple combination of three of these should present no difficulty. Reducing the three to a single number does not change the tree, but it is an unnecessary step. Perhaps it is a matter of perception. I clearly understood how Bob L's sycamores rated for the Northeast, better I think, than if I had a single 89% number given. Maybe too, it is because I look at every tree in three dimensions as a matter of course. Historical measurements. ENTS measurements should be our base. That would include past ones, ie. Boogerman. Species potential does not change due to physical breakage. Though they are undoubtedly related, we have an accurately measured 207'(~) tree as a max height value. Ed C
 RE: Jess weighs in Robert Leverett Jan 25, 2005 07:07 PST
 Lee:    Taking it one step further, in the data we present, I think we should always present the raw data, never just the end score. Then other calculations can be readily performed.    Back in the middle 1990s when Will Blozan, Jack Sobon, and I were working on "Stalking the Forest Monarchs - a Guide to Measuring Champion Trees", we experimented with a couple of techniques to compute average crown spread. Shooting the spread from the periphery to the trunk as a system of radii taken at intervals of perhaps 45 degrees was my favorite system. From those data, minor and major axes can be derived for purposes of crown area as well as average crown spread. Then looking for the single longest limb adds that additional piece of data about the growth potential of the particular tree.    Oh, but that's a lot of measurements to take and not apt to be done on every tree - at least not by me. I know myself pretty well. So it has occurred to me for ENTS purposes, we may want to identify three classes of trees: (1) special ENTS trees that we measure fully, (2) a second class that we measure partially, and (3) other trees. Any thoughts along those lines? Bob
 RE: RE: Will's WAY COOL proposed new system- 300 vs. 100 points Darian Copiz Jan 25, 2005 07:18 PST
 ENTS, Although I was a previous proponent of a 100 point system, the arguments for a 300 scale are very good - particularly that it is more honest, and reflects three measurements. I agree with Ed on the max spread being used over a single branch. Otherwise a tree with one single very long branch could beat a tree with a large, uniform canopy. Of course a tree could also have two very long branches that just happen to be opposite each other with no other branches, but that seems highly unlikely and even if it was the case it would still be a pretty impressive tree. Also, I don't know if it's actually so, but I think a tree growing in the forest would have a better chance of competing with an open grown tree if the max spread is used rather than an average spread. There was one name for the index that had a particularly beautiful ring to it: "Magnitude of Massivity", although I don't think it was necessarily the most accurately descriptive. I think the word "potential" and similar could be important. Darian
 Point System Spreadsheet Edward Frank Jan 25, 2005 11:04 PST
 ENTS, I have posted a spreadsheet compiled by Bob Leverett showing the rankings using various point systems for some select trees from the NE to the ENTS Website. I have links to the spreadsheet on the ENTS index page, Newest Updates page, and on the Measurement page, so you should be able to find it. January 25, 2005
 Measuring and formulas John Eichholz Jan 25, 2005 12:39 PST
 Ruminations on scoring systems... Don Bragg Jan 25, 2005 13:11 PST
 RE: Ruminations on scoring systems... Robert Leverett Jan 25, 2005 13:27 PST
 Don:    Valuable post. I agree completely that there should be no rush to judgement and posting the raw data is a must so that any number of indices can be calculated. Your point about the verticality aspect of crown development is a good one. Food for thought. I wonder what are Lee Frelich's and Bob Van Pelt's thoughts on this. Bob
 Re: Ruminations on scoring systems... Edward Frank Jan 25, 2005 15:30 PST
 Re: Ruminations on scoring systems...devils advocate edward coyle Jan 25, 2005 16:46 PST
 Ed, Don't take offense, but I must play the devils advocate on this. The max crown spread, or an averaged crown spread, show only 2 or 4 points on a trees crown. They really tell nothing of the form, condition, or volume of the canopy. What the measurements are is a linear measurement to define crown width. Why would this measurement be averaged, when the other two are not? We go for the highest sprig, not the average of the three top sprigs. To be fair, I understand the rational. In my mind, there is no difference in either...except, the longest measurement is diminished when averaging. I would prefer to keep the maximum width, and add it to the other two maximums. Ed C
 RE: Ruminations on scoring systems...EXCELLENT Will Blozan Jan 25, 2005 18:08 PST
 Well said! Great discussion and comments! For big tree lists, crown length would not be needed, but would certainly be a feature to track, but one that I personally will not generally gather data on. Also, considering we have, when all compiled, 5000+ ENTS measured trees in the database, virtually none of these will have canopy length data. We can start, but what for? The proposed ranking system is not an attempt to calculate volume of the tree or canopy. Models such as these can be derived as BVP has done, but is beyond the immediate scope of a simple and fair rating system. Maybe I am missing something... It would be cool to be able to predict the height of a tree based solely on the lowest branch height! I do like the idea and the thoughts behind it. Will
 RE: Ruminations on scoring systems... CROwN SPREAD Will Blozan Jan 25, 2005 18:08 PST
 Ed, Honestly, crown spread has always been the last thing on my mind since the AF formula trivialized it to the point of "why bother". We do not take an average crown height or an average girth at various points so I see no reason right now to "muddy" one of the three dimensions. I'll think more on it... Will
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes - RESPONSE TO PAUL JOST Will Blozan Jan 25, 2005 18:24 PST
 Paul, MY COMMENTS IN CAPITALS "Also, the longest branch measurement is as easy to make as the height and girth measurements," IT WOULD TAKE LOTS OF SEARCHING TO FIND ONE BRANCH JUST 1 FOOT LONGER THAN ANOTHER... " while spread may be difficult to make on steep grades or on trees overhanging rivers." I WOULD ARGUE THAT IF THE TREE HAS A LIGHT GAP OF WATER, A STEEP SLOPE OR A CLIFF THAT WOULD BE THE LOCATION OF THE LONGEST BRANCH! SUCH SPREADS CAN BE MEASURED WITH A RANGEFINDER, TOO. WOULD THE LONGEST BRANCH BE MEASURED FROM ITS ORIGIN IN THE TRUNK OR AT THE BARK COLLAR? EITHER WAY IT WOULD INVOLVE SOME PLUMB-BOBBING TO GET BOTH ENDS, ESPECIALLY IF THE TREE LEANS. EVEN A SLIGHT LEAN ON A TALL TREE CAN CHANGE THE LONG BRANCH LENGTH BY A FEW FEET. FOR SOME SHORT SPREAD SPECIES THIS WOULD BE SIGNIFICANT. I WOULD NOT ENJOY FINDING AND MEASURING THE LONGEST BRANCH ON A 160' HEMLOCK IN RHODODENDRON. THE REALITY IS- I WON'T DO IT, OR AT LEAST NOT ACCURATELY. THE OTHER REALITY IS I WILL NOT HAVE TO DO IT IN A FEW YEARS ANYWAY. HWA- DAMN SAPSUCKING BASTARDS!!! Enough capitals! Will
 RE: Point System Spreadsheet Paul Jost Jan 25, 2005 18:34 PST
 I was wondering how the spreadsheet would score the trees on a national scale with our all time reliably measured limits. Does anyone know our ENTS verified greatest eastern white pine dimensions other than the 207' height record? I've measured forest grown pines up to around 17-19' in girth and one in northwestern Wisconsin to about 20' (although only about 60' tall - a real freakish wind blown taper from 40' to the top.) I haven't measured a lot of pine spreads but think that I have them up to 40-50'. I have to dig through some old boxes in the attic to get to the real numbers.... what does the database show? Paul Jost
 RE: Standardized tree hypervolumes - RESPONSE TO PAUL JOST Paul Jost Jan 25, 2005 18:51 PST
 Actually, a branch length would be measured from one spot. Move with the clinometer to a point directly beneath the end and then use the rangefinder and clinometer to calculate the range times the cosine of the clinometer angle to the bark collar. The real problem with spread measurements or longest branch measurements is that to take them accurately, you usually need to spend a lot of time taking many measurements to accurately determine the longest branch and even more difficultly find the greatest spread. Most people would take shortcuts and just measure one or two points that appear to be the greatest spread. Spread is the most subjective measurement in the database and the most likely one to be mismeasured and diminish the quality of the database. Girths and heights are relatively easy to measure quickly. Few people with spend the time to correctly measure spread. I agree that I'd rather just not take the spread measurement into account for the score for that reason. It should be taken only as extra data for future use but not included in the score.  Even, if it is determined that spread or longest branch are going into the score, I still will not measure it on any tree that isn't near championship status or part of a study plot. I have just too much territory to cover and too many trees to measure in places that are too far away to return to frequently -- and I'm not getting any younger. That is a primary reason why I prefer the 100 point scoring system. On a 300 point system, you can't tell if a tree is a medium sized tree with 3 data components or a large tree with 2 dimensions recorded. Most of Will's trees won't show up on the list either since only height and girth are recorded for most of them. A 100 point system will allow trees with only 2 dimensions recorded to be fairly represented. To be truly fair and consistent, the third dimension shouldn't even be considered in the score. Save the three dimension scoring for study plots where there is adequate time to properly obtain all the data required. Paul Jost
 Re: RE: Point System Spreadsheet Jess Riddle Jan 25, 2005 18:53 PST
 Those circumferences are impressive. I've never seen anything like them in the southern Appalachians. In the southeast, the largest I know of is 15'3" cbh.
 RE: Ruminations on scoring systems... CROwN SPREAD Edward Frank Jan 25, 2005 19:16 PST
 Will, We measure girth at a particular arbitrary point on the tree at 4.5 feet. It is not the maximum as it is measured above the root flair. It is taken at a point that fairly represents the best and highest circumference of a tree. Height is a discrete characteristic of a tree, not really something to be averaged. Crown spread is something different. It is not a single entity like the trunk. It is made of a composite of all of the branches in the tree at varying heights. It includes large branches and small of varying complexity and lengths. I think cbh and maximum height are fair representations of those aspects of the tree. They are characterized by individual measurements representing discrete elements of the tree. Crown spread on the other hand seems to me to be more of a composite characteristic. I think that simple measuring the longest branch (from the base of the trunk) or even the maximum crown spread is a misrepresentation of the crown of the tree. Average crown spread doesn't "muddy" one of the three dimensions. It is a fair representation of a more complex part of the tree. With dozens to hundreds of branches involved in the canopy, selecting a single longest branch to represent the whole, gives a distorted view of the crown structure. I understand that we are not attempting to model the tree structure. However it is still not right to use an inappropriate number to represent an aspect of the tree simply because it is a bigger number. I cetainly will be willing to go with whatever parameters and formula that is determined to be best by the group. I do want to make arguments to everyone so that they may be considered before a final decision is reached. Ed Frank
 Re: Ruminations on scoring systems... Jess Riddle Jan 25, 2005 19:18 PST
 I completely agree with the ideas you base your arguments on, but I reach different conclusion. I believe most people using the term potential are referring to the potential of the species rather than the potential of an individual tree. Even if a tree were allowed grow till the end of its natural life without any storm damage, anything from soil conditions to what species grow next to it could prevent an individual from approaching the maximum dimensions of the species, the species potential as best we know. I also strongly support measuring the tree as it actually exists; consequently, I favor longest branch or max spread over average spread. The average spread of a tree is a value calculated from two measurements of the physical tree, one of which is the max spread. One could calculate the average spread of a tree without ever knowing which two limbs produce a spread of that length. Conversely, the maximum spread and longest branch are each a direct measurement of a physical attribute of the tree. Paul Jost's arguments for not placing any more emphasis on measuring spread than we already do sound reasonable to me, so this discussion may be trivial anyways. Jess Riddle
 Paul's caution to us and the ENTS Olympics Robert Leverett Jan 26, 2005 05:31 PST
 Paul:    Your caution about dropping the spread dimension from the point system is certainly one we've all considered. As you know, ENTS Pts doesn't use spread. Trunk circumference is considered a surrogate for spread, however calculated. It is food for thought. And while we are brainstorming, for purposes of comparison, I've often wondered why we don't move farther up the tree to take a circumference measurement. BVP once told me that he needed to get as high up the trunk as he could reach to get a better idea of trunk taper. That 4.5 feet corresponds to breast height on most people and is therefore convenient to quickly popping a tape measure around a trunk an reading of the result might have more than just a little to do with the use of 4.5 feet.    The question is where would we stop in terms of including new measurements. We I could easily see the following as a minimum.     1. Circumference at 1.5 feet to capture basal area     2. Circumference at 4.5 feet to allow comparisons to other systems     3. Circumference at 6.0 feet to get a better handle on trunk taper     4. Height to point of major branching or to the first conspicuously large branch     5. Full height     6. Length of longest observed branch     7. Average trunk to crown spread by the radial method    Of course, we wouldn't collect all the above measures on each tree, but how efficiently can the measurements be taken for trees of major interest to us? Good question? Well, as soon as this miserable weather (ugh, toasty warm weather by your and Lee's experiences) lets up, maybe the Mass-Eastern NY A-team can hit the ground measuring. We can time ourselves on getting different combinations of the above. Uh, oh, is this the introduction of a time factor to measuring suggesting of real competition? Okay, how about a tree obstacle measuring course set up at Cook Forest, with qualified judges watching to insure that the measures are actually being taken. Of course! It would be the start of the ENTS Olympics. OMG, with long-legged fellows like Will Blozan and young whipper-snappers like you, Dale, Scott, and Jess, I'm in a heap of trouble. Gotta have a system of handicaps for old geezers like me and Howard. Course, I'm a young fellow compared to Howard. Right Howard?     Bob
 RE: Point System Spreadsheet Robert Leverett Jan 26, 2005 05:36 PST
 Paul:    It looks like you hold the girth record for the largest white pine. For purposes of including an absolute maximum, what might your number be? BTW, where you find the huge pines, are they extreme rarities, or are there lots of big trees in the vicinity, e.g. lots of 4-foot diameter trees, with the occasional 5 to 6-foot diameter tree? I guess I'm looking to understand what kinds of averages are to be expected in places known for individual giants. Bob
 RE: Ruminations on scoring systems... Lee E. Frelich Jan 26, 2005 05:46 PST
 Bob: I usually measure the heights to the base and widest part of the crown as well as total height and crown radius in several directions. That way I can use 3-D ellipse formulas to estimate crown volume, although I have not found that to be as useful for characterizing forest structure over large stands as crown area. Lee
 RE: Point System Spreadsheet Paul Jost Jan 26, 2005 05:59 PST
 Well, the MacArthur pine was 17.5' in girth when accurately measured as a champ in the distant past and was slightly larger when I measured it before it was likely burned down by vandals. There also was a comparable one the I measured crudely to over 17' with no bark remaining while falling off the dangling roots over what was a riverbank before it washed out. It was the national champ in the early 1970's on the Little Carp River near Memenga Creek in the Porkies so an old AmFor book should have accurate girth numbers. It was just downstream from the recent Porkies national champ which was at or just over 17' (the ENTS group measured the recent one, too Bob, and it's in the recent AmFor book.) The ~20' one no longer exists and I measured even more crudely since I was without measuring gear while deer hunting as an 18 year old. It was about 3.5 tight hugs with my 6' wingspan, so that number can't reliably be used. I can up the real numbers when I find my old notebook - which I failed to find in my last attempt last night. I've got a few more boxes in the attic to go through tonight. Paul Jost
 RE: Ruminations on scoring systems... Paul Jost Jan 26, 2005 06:05 PST
 Lee, Bob, et al, You may do the additional measurements, but probably only in study plots, right? When you were with me, we only did heights and girths, the same as Bob or Will when I measured with them. We all shrugged off suggestions at taking spreads whenever anyone mentioned it. Spreads and additional measurements were only seriously considered for use on prospectie champs and future use in study plots. How many of the trees in the ENTS database have any spread data? This scoring system should be applicable to the entire database for proper usage and an improved score used on enhanced data from study areas in the future phases of ENTS. For now, we are still scouting for prospective study areas for the later phases of the ENTS mission. So, really, only the two variable formula is applicable now. Paul Jost
 Crown volume and area Robert Leverett Jan 26, 2005 06:13 PST
 Lee:    I presume that total crown volume correlates pretty well with trunk cirumcerence. Given the lateral squeeze on tree crowns from competition, how well does crown area correlate with crown volume? I'm struck by Don Bragg's reference to the startegy of Doug-fir to increasing the photosynthetic material of conifers. I've seen hickories that seem to mimic the conifer system. I'm often struck by the narrowness and verticality of hickory crowns. Bob
 RE: Ruminations on scoring systems... Lee E. Frelich Jan 26, 2005 06:44 PST
 Paul: Yes, the detailed measurements on tree crowns are only for study plots. I don't think most ENTS are going to measure these attributes for large numbers of trees. Lee
 Re: Crown volume and area Lee E. Frelich Jan 26, 2005 06:49 PST
 Bob: Yes, crown volume is well correlated with cbh and with crown area within one species and within one region. Within the Porcupine Mountains, you can predict just about everything about a sugar maple tree just knowing either its crown are or cbh. However, when you compare sugar maples in Upper MI and northern WI to those near Paul's house in southeastern WI, there is a big difference. Sugar maples in southern WI have much bigger crowns than trees with the same cbh in the north. That is a common pattern--trees develop narrower crowns in cooler climates and high latitudes. Lee
 thoughts on spread Darian Copiz Jan 26, 2005 08:35 PST
 RE: thoughts on spread Robert Leverett Jan 26, 2005 10:09 PST
 Darian:    One of the advantages of my OptiLogoc laser is that it will measure the distance to a target that is as close as 4 or 5 feet. For a tree that is fairly accessible, I can walk around the tree at the periphery of the crown and shoot distances to the trunk. The analogy that comes to mind is taht of creating the spokes of a bicycle wheel, except that the spokes are different lengths because the rim is shaped more like the extensions of an amoeba than a circle. At any given spot, with the clinometer aimed upward, you can move forward or backward until the outermost extension of the crown at that point is at a 90 degree angle. Hopefully, as you circle the tree, you can spot the greatest horizontal crown extension and include it as one of the spokes. This method can then be used to create a graphical portrayal of the projection of the crown in shadow form. It allows for the calculation of average crown spread to trunk - as opposed to through the trunk and to the other side of the tree.     On rare occasions, I've successfully used this method. Limitations abound in cities and towns where tree crowns extend over structures or you suddenly find yourself in the middle of traffic with people honking their horns at you and casting aspersions on the marital status of your parents.     Where there's a will (and a Will) there's a way. In hunting for the most extreme examples of a species to better understand its genetic potential in varying environmental conditions, there's no such thing as too many measurements. We need lots of direct measurements of ideal trees so we can establish factors to use when dimensions can't be obtained such as when in-forest conditions obscure the limits of a crown spread.    In terms of calculating branch length as opposed to horizontal extension, so long as the branch isn't to crooked, you can use any of several trigonometric methods to calculate length. Line yourself up with the branch so that you, the tip of the branch and where it grows out of the trunk are in a straight line. Shooting distances to the end of the branch and its point of origin and shooting the angles to the tip and point of origin sets up a situation to use the law of cosines to compute the branch length. I'll draw a diagram on an Excel spreadsheet and pass it to Ed Frank. Here, I'm speaking of a well-behaved branch that doesn't curve to the side. Bob
 ENTS Big Tree Formulas Edward Frank Jan 28, 2005 09:11 PST
 Big Tree Formula - My Preferences Edward Frank Jan 28, 2005 09:13 PST
 ENTS, These are my preferences for how this formula should be calculated. I have went over many of these ideas in greater detail in previous posts. 1) Do we want to include height, girth, and canopy spread in the formula, or do we just want to include height and girth? I want to have a both basic formula including just height and girth, and an expanded formula including all three parameters. Most of our measurements include only two parameters, our basic formula should consist of just those parameters, and an expanded formula for trees for which we have more data including all three parameters. 2) Do we want all three parameters - height, girth, and crown spread to be given equal weight in the final formula? If they should be weighted differently, what weight should each be given? 3) Should we have two ratings, one based upon 2 parameters - height and girth - and a separate rating based upon height, girth, and crown? If we choose this option should the parameters be weighted to force a similar ranking between the two measures (in this case, one example would be h + g, versus 2h + g + c)? In the basic formula height and girth would be given equal weight. In the expanded formula I would use the formula [2(h) + g + c]. I think that height should be the most important factor in a big tree formula. In this scenario height is weighted as 50% of both totals. The rankings generated by the two parameter formula and the three parameter formula above are much more similar than they are if the expanded formula has all three parameters weighted equally. I will admit that I am also drawn to the idea of weighting all three parameters equally. 4) Should we use the historical maximums from ENTS measured trees or the current maximums? Historical measurements for maximums should be used if they have been measured accurately. In a table with historical data the height for white pine would be the historical height achieved by the Boogerman Pine at 207 feet. Present trees, including the Boogerman itself at it's present height, would be compared to this historical maximum. 5) If we use crown spread as one of the parameters, should we be using average crown spread, maximum crown spread, or longest limb length? I would like to see the parameter for the crown to be the greatest horizontal spread from the base of the trunk of the tree. Yes, this might give slanted trees an advantage, but it is the most straight-forward measurement of crown size even given these possible exceptions. 6) Should we be using a three hundred point system (or 200 if canopy spread is eliminated) or should everything be converted to a 100 point/percentage system? I still favor converting the final result to a simple percentage/100 point number for the tree. It is a more basic representation of the relative size of a tree than a 300 point or 200 point system. It would also allow direct comparisons to be easily made between evaluations using either 2 or 3 parameters. However, overall either option can be converted to the other with a simple multiplier of 3 or 1/3. 7) What would be a good acronym for the formula(s)?. It can be basic like HG Rating, and HGC Rating to something more complicated like standard hypervolume index total. ENTS HG Rating (for height and girth) and ENTS HGC Rating (for height, girth, and crown). Perhaps they do not make up a fancy contrived word, but they are descriptive. A Blozan Index and Expanded Blozan Index would also be appropriate. 8) Should the database maximums be updated continuously or on a longer term basis? I would favor the database maximums not be updated any more frequently that once a year, and preferably on a longer rotation. Values greater than 100% are perfectly valid, and I believe it would give the results a greater utility to have a longer time period of stable base numbers. 9) How does this new formula affect the idea of ENTS points calculated by multiplying the girth in feet by the height? This formula is still valid because it is calculating something different, the bigger the tree - the higher the ENTS points. The question is whether we want to keep using this formula or not? I have no opinion on this matter. Edward Frank
 Tree Dimension Index edward coyle Jan 28, 2005 10:27 PST
 Re: Crown Spread dbhg-@comcast.net Jan 28, 2005 11:09 PST
 Ed:     The crown spread information in my database is weak. I often estimated crown spread. Very little information has been included about maximum limb length. Crown spread is the weak link. I have racked my aging brain to think up shortcuts for compiling acceptable canopy data and each time I have ended up abandoning whatever I was working on.     Your summary of our point system discussions is very useful. Fine job as usual. I'll respond to you request for additional thoughts in a day or two. Bob
 Re: Tree Dimension Index Fores-@aol.com Jan 29, 2005 10:15 PST
 Ed: How about those situations where you have a tree that started as a stump sprout in a clearcut or became established in a pasture to become one of the founding members of a patch of old timber. I encountered a 56" DBH/14.7' CBH yellow poplar this past fall while planning a timber sale in central WV. The tree broke into multiple stems about 15 feet up and the live crown extended over 70 feet in at least three directions. Most dominant poplar trees in the stand were over 130' tall and the same general area yielded a pitch pine that was 7.9' CBH and nearly 105' tall. Despite the poplar tree appearing to have been a "pioneer" that became established in a stone pile in the middle of a corn field in the early 1900's, it is now in the middle of a stand of mature poplar and oak with many poplar trees having a maximum size ranging between 7.8' and 10.5' CBH.....this tree and several surrounding individuals were retained as "legacy" trees. The unusually large spreading yellow poplar I encountered would have never survived undamaged in an open pasture for as long because wind or lightning certainly would have whacked it. I have seen hundreds of exceptionally large poplars in pastures, meadows and fence rows throughout WV but the very largest, especially open grown individuals have a largeness that is extremely tenuous and tends to be a fleeting condition at best. The largest or maximum crown spreads for individuals of several species might actually occur in the woods....it is just easier to spot monster crowns when they are in open spaces. Russ Richardson
 Re: Tree Dimension Index Edward Frank Feb 01, 2005 19:02 PST
 Re: Tree Dimension Index Fores-@aol.com Feb 01, 2005 20:04 PST
 Ed: You covered an awful lot of ground and provided lots of food for thought in your post. I have seen large trees that fit several of those circumstances you described as possible points of origination and I think that the sole survivors of forest fires or clearcuts could ultimately provide the largest total size trees of several different species including red oak.........I think white oak just morphs into a giant green ball given unlimited space but red oaks seem to reach higher, even in the open. Russ
 RE: Tree Dimension Index Robert Leverett Feb 02, 2005 05:47 PST
 Ed:    If you walk in forested areas thick with white pine, white ash, tuliptree seedlings, you will see examples of trees starting out from the beginning under intense competition. Nothing open grown about those clusters. I've seen the same with sugar maple seedlings.     The key to understanding tree form is to actively search for examples of a species in all stages of development and observe how the species responds to differing levels of release. Foresters understand this aspect of tree growth very well, since much of what they do is the manipulate light levels and competition to control the shape that a tree takes on as it grows. Calculating the range of ratios of height to crown spread for a species across the range of growing conditions for trees in different age classes would indeed produce some interesting ranges. It would be a real exercise in descriptive statistics. Eventually, we'll have enough data to put together some interesting charts. I may take on the cottonwood as a first species to track. Any ideas on experimental design? Bob
 Re: Tree Dimension Index, response edward coyle Feb 02, 2005 07:23 PST
 Ed, Russ, I didn't know which Ed either, and in truth, I didn't understand what was meant. If a tree is surrounded by trees, even if they are significantly younger, it would be forest grown. I would think that if the surrounding trees were saplings, and the tree cited were a mature specimen, it would safe to say it was open grown, provided there weren't stumps everywhere. I don't believe it is that critical a distinction. To be sure there are many suppositions that could be made when finding a significantly larger tree within a woods. It might suggest a catastrophic windfall, fire, or human infestation. Local history might easily shed light on this. It is a forest grown tree. One of your suggestions, that trees within a wood provide a buffer for each other, while at the same time competing for every other aspect of their existence is well founded, in my experience. Trees on the edge of cuts, through what was formerly dense woods, will fall over or droop over for no apparent reason. They have not developed any lateral strength. I understand that trees develop strength in proportion to resistance they endure during development. Your wolf tree(s) are different in that they began alone, branched fully, and had much more area for roots. As the canopy raised, and if it kept up with that growth, it would be a massive tree. The younger trees providing a buffer after the main growth spurt. The tree and roots cannot exceed each other. If the tree puts on a great deal of vertical growth in order to compete for light, it cannot maintain a lower canopy. It will shed branches from the center out, and from the bottom up. The proportion of canopy to mass cannot change, or the tree will decline. It will always outclass the surrounding trees, however, without them it would likely fail. The idea of leaving 'relic' trees after a clearcut seems foolish. A vista bandage. Unless the tree grew as a loner to begin with, it doesn't have a chance. If it did, it no longer has its buffer. It would make more sense to me to save a 'relic patch', leaving the buffer, as opposed to waiting 15 years for one to grow. That's a long time to stand alone. Are the crowns actually bigger by volume in relation to trunk in an open grown? Probably. I suspect that it has more to do with a larger root system. I would guess that if the ratio of crown to trunk were 20% greater, open grown, it would be 20% shorter than a forest grown example, assuming all else was equal. If a tree is within a woods, it is forest grown, and supported. Part of a system. If it seen in alone anywhere outside of a yard, it was probably forest grown at some point, or will be. Should we have a class for yard/park trees instead of open grown, or simply compare tree to tree, looking for the greatest among them? I'm done rambling. Ed C
 RE: Tree Dimension Index, response HELLO Will Blozan Feb 02, 2005 19:35 PST
 Dudes, The whole premise of the relative ranking system idea (we really need to name this thing) was to have a system inclusive of all growth forms. A fat, short and wide open-grown tree would score favorably as compared to a slim, tall forest-grown tree of the same species. I am not interested in weights or modifications. Apples to apples. Will
 RE: Tree Dimension Index, response HELLO Edward Frank Feb 02, 2005 19:53 PST
 Will, In my mind the question was not so much about the ranking system as it was a general conversation about how different tree forms can evolve - why do you get trees in the middle of a forest that have many of the characteristics of open grown trees, and how long does it take for forest grown trees exposed by clearing activities to develop some of the characteristics of open grown trees. I don't think the trees should be separated in the proposed dimension index. But if people want to sort the trees in the database for some reason with regard to open grown or forest grown trees, and some people have expressed the opinion that this is a worthwhile thing to do, then we should be able to do so.   Considering the history of a tree when discussing how its form evolved is certainly a valid discussion point. I may not be experienced enough to have the answers, but I tried to frame the questions for the rest of you to consider. Ed Frank
 RE: Tree Dimension Index, response HELLO Paul Jost Feb 02, 2005 20:02 PST
 Will, I agree. Since we are normalizing against the maximums, we are relatively form independent and scale factors would add human bias beyond the balance of a pure average. As far as naming goes, since it is really all about the percentage of the growth potential and could have two or three variables, how about the PGP-2 index or the PGP-3 index. It is more intuitive than naming it after someone and it really isn't a (hyper)volume although it could use three variables in the calculation. As long as it is a 100% scale, the number of variables isn't critical but should be noted. Paul Jost
 RE: Tree Dimension Index, response HELLO edward coyle Feb 02, 2005 20:58 PST
 Will, Sounds simple and fair. Ed C
 RE: Tree Dimension Index, response HELLO Darian Copiz Feb 03, 2005 06:35 PST
 ENTS, It sounds good that there seems to be a consensus on lumping different growing conditions together. As Ed had said, comparing tree to tree. I have noticed that there generally is a strong bias on the listserve toward forest grown specimens and height (maybe because by others this is marginalized?). I would be happy to see the preservation of objectivity. Another possible suggestion for a name is IMP, Index of Maximum Potential. Darian
 More on tree rating systems Robert Leverett Feb 03, 2005 07:50 PST
 Darian:    Good points. There does appears to be a forest-grown bias. However, that is in part a reaction to the inclusion of coppiced and multi-stemmed trees in the champion tree lists. Most of us are as drawn to the compelling forms of trees like the amazing Angel Oak as we are to the towering Smoky Mountain tuliptrees. We just want to see the individual measurements done correctly and sensible interpretations put on the results of formula-based calculations. My personal preference is to see where a tree falls on different evaluations systems. However, the he new percentile the AF, and the ENTS points systems arrayed side by side can create confusion for those looking for a simple result.    Although others must speak their pieces, I do believe that the vast majority of ENTS members are satisfied with dealing with the complexity of tree forms on a variety of levels. In making comparisons, I like to draw parallels to baseball. The many statistics compiled on baseball players allow pundits to consider different aspects of a player's game. Not many in baseball feel the need to adopt a contrived point-based weighting system to compare players and pronounce one as the all around greatest. Individual champions of home runs, batting average, etc. are recognized though.    In terms of performance in a specific area, such as home runs, there was a temptation in the past to declare Babe Ruth as the greatest home run hitter of all times. The Bambino's 714 life time total and his 60 in a single season records looked as though they would stand forever. Then Roger Marris, a very good, but not great hitter, broke Ruth's single season record with 61, albeit in a slightly longer playing season, 163 games versus 154. Then Hank Aaron surpassed Ruth's lifetime total with 755. Still many people continued to proclaim Ruth the greatest overall. Now Barry Bonds holds the single season best (ignoring steroids for the moment) with 73 and is virtually certain to surpass Ruth's lifetime total in 2005 and Aaron's lifetime total in 2006. In the popularity department, Bonds now only has to sneeze to get another MVP award.    Comparisons within the sports world have grown increasingly sophisticated as a result of more data, more comparisons, and the rapidity with which new data can be incorporated into the data banks and comparisons regenerated. We are moving in that direction in ENTS - although with almost complete dependence on poor Ed Frank.    The continuing practice of crowning a single tree as an overall champion of its species may have outlived its usefulness by diverting attention from a broader assessment of each species and its potential. Will's point about the hemlocks of the Porkies - giants in their own right is well taken. What is truly most important is the focus we put on understanding tree growth and potential. Champion tree lists, competing formulas, form indices, etc. are merely the tools we use to keep the focus on the objects of our affection. Bob
 RE: Tree Dimension Index - Tree Shapes Edward Frank Feb 03, 2005 12:42 PST
 Bob, You are of course right about the dense growth of seedlings on the forest floor. I have seen many examples. It was a poor choice of words, I was thinking more along the line of openings in the canopy, rather than competition. I don't really have any suggestions for experimental design. I believe that my proposal for using a ternary diagram to plot tree shapes would be a useful graphical representation of differences in tree shapes within or between species and would show changes in form with age.    The weighting factors could be tailored for an individual set of data to better represent the variation found within that set. Ideally the plots of individual tree shapes would form clusters on the chart, or perhaps a band with trees of differing ages and characteristics forming a progressive continuum across portions of the graph. Ed Frank