photography/ eastern old growth article   Brandon Gallagher
  Jul 12, 2007 08:26 PDT 

I'm a subscriber to Outdoor Photographer magazine and the issue I received yesterday featured many of the fine old forests I hear you guys all talking about along with several I'd never heard of. The article is available online at The online photos hardly do justice but ones in the magazine looked great.

Brandon Gallagher Watson
Plant Healthcare Specialist
ISA Certified Arborist MN-4086A
Rainbow Treecare Scientific Advancements
RE: eastern old growth article   Robert Leverett
  Jul 12, 2007 10:23 PDT 


   Reading through the article, I give George Wuethner a very high score
for his effort. He is a good nature writer and photographer. He
published articles in the no longer published Wild Earth Journal.
George's tree statistics are, as usually for 3rd party articles, in need
of a few corrections and/or caveats, which I provide below. The
corrections are not meant as criticizms of George's article, just to
keep truth and perspective in the numbers.

   1. In terms of max ages of white cedar, I think 1,600 years has been
exceeded. Lee Frelich is the authority on maximum white cedar ages.
However, as I understand it, the number is close to 2,000. However, so
is the maximum for bald cypress.

   2. As a refinement, the Adirondack Park maximum OG acreage estimate
is 500,000. The Catskills is a more closely confirmed 65,000.

   3. OG acreage determinations for the Smokies vary from 104,000 to
208,000 acres, with the likely amount around 150,000.

   4. The Hermitage in Maine may have white pines averaging around 130
feet, but don't count on it. From what I know, most of the current white
pine measurements are of the clinometer only kind and we know where that

    5. Gifford Woods is about as minimal in terms of OG as you can get.
It has isolated old trees. It is just well-known.

    6. The loblolly pine that carries the championship title in Congaree
was badly mismeasured. I'll say no more about that. George had no way to
know that. The Congaree staff have had input in the past from otherwise
reputable sources about max tree heights. The sources did not use the
precise ENTS methods and while the overall picture that they developed
for Congaree is pretty good, individual tree measurements were off. For
most visitors, it doesn't matter. However, I hate to see erroneous
numbers perpetuated in the literature. Once a bum number gets into
print, it tends to stay there.

     7. On the Cook Forest portion, there are no Longfellow Pines and
Seneca Pines. Those are individual trees, i.e. there is a Longfellow
Pine and a Seneca Pine.

    Finally, by East, I presume George meant to leave out the
Mid-western OG, which is still within the eastern forest type. The
largest acreage of old growth for the eastern forest type is in
Minnesota. It may eventually be rivaled by the Cross Timbers, if it
sin't already.

RE: eastern old growth article - back to bob   Brandon Gallagher
  Jul 12, 2007 14:25 PDT 

Thanks for the points, I'm not too surprised they were slightly off with some of the numbers!

In a former life I was a photo and design major at art school before somehow deciding urban forest pathology was my real interest (seemed logical at the time!) One of the reasons I switched majors was I was already interested in nature photography but really wanted to know more about the nature itself. I find most of the photography magazines and workshops too often focus only on the technical side of the art and not on understanding the subject matter and why it is worth taking pictures of. I've found that my nature photography has gotten much more beautiful and meaningful (to me at least!) as I've learned more about what I'm taking pictures of.
It goes to the understanding of the relationship of form and function. Little green blobs on inch tall sticks are pretty but knowing they are the diploid stage of the moss lifecycle makes them that much more interesting and photo worthy to myself. I think the photographers that are really great at showing the beauty of nature often have a better idea of the what and the why as well as the how.

Brandon Gallagher Watson
Plant Healthcare Specialist
ISA Certified Arborist MN-4086A
Rainbow Treecare Scientific Advancements