Our OG Experts    Robert Leverett
   Jun 08, 2005 09:19 PDT 


   Thanks for the inside information. Actually, we have a host of
experts on our list who routinely deal with OG definitions, many of whom
have participated in conferences and symposia devoted exclusively to OG
definitions. For the benefit of our members, I present the following
list of ENTS members who have spent a considerable amount of time
developing, compiling, critiquing, or applying old growth definitions.

   1. Lee Frelich, forest ecologist, University of Minnesota

   2. Charles Cogbill, independent forest ecologist from Vermont

   3. David Orwig, forest ecologist, Harvard Forest

   4. John Okeefe, forest ecologist, Harvard Forest

   5. Robert Van Pelt, forest ecologist, University of Washington

   6. Alan White, forest ecologist, University of Maine

   7. Gary Beluzo, ecologist (aquatic and forest), Holyoke Community

   8. Rick Van de Poll, independent mycologist/forest ecologist

   9. Will Blozan, arborist, former science technician, GSMNP

10. Larry Winship, forest ecologist, Hampshire College

11. Tom Diggins, ecologist, Youngstown State University

12. Dale Luthringer, naturalist, Cook Forest State Park

13. Jess Riddle, general ecologist - recent graduate Furman, U.

14. David Stahle, dendorchronologist, U. Arkansas

15. Don Bertolette, forester, NPS

16. Yours truly, whatever.

    There are probably others. Please forgive me for any omissions.

Over the past two decades, many if not most of teh above have approached
OG definitions from some or all of the following perspectives:

    1. Physical characteristics

    2. Ecological processes

    3. Disturbance histories

    4. Impressiveness (Not valid, but that criterion has a tendency to
creep in)

    5. Statistical

    6. Economic

    7. Cultural (Indian vs European)

   8. Administrative

     These approaches have been applied at both the stand and landscape

     The Forest Service once compiled a list of OG definitions that
numbered around 100. They weren't all distinguishable from one another.

     In addition to the above list, Malcolm Hunter, University of Maine;
James Runkles, (Wayne State?); William Martin, Eastern Kentucky U.; and
Don Leopold, SUNY have all written/lectured on OG definitions. There are
many others.

     Another I should probably mention is Tom Bonnicksen. He believes
that virtually all of the Americas was so heavily influenced by
aboriginal use of fire over centuries past that no present day forests
can be treated as having origins controlled primarily by non-human
influences. His accounts of the aboriginal origin of forests is as full
of holes as Swiss cheese, but he has collected very valuable anecdotal
material. He is clearly a man with an overwhelming bias, but he still
has made a very valuable contribution to our understanding of the
aboriginal use of fire.

    Finally, there are some sources that have been given much greater
credibility than they deserve, at least IMHO. The foremost comes from
Oliver and Larson. I'll through that tidbit out for the present without
providing an explanation.