Native Tree Society Projects and Surveys

The Native Tree Society is involved in a variety of projects and surveys of various scales, scopes, and durations.  A "project" involves an investigations of a particular topic,  species, or activity, while a "survey" is an investigation of a particular site, area, or region. Some are long term ongoing investigations in which a particular site may be monitored for years.  Others involve studies of a series of sites in a particular region, or studies of a particular species. Somemay be completed in a handful of trips while others may require dozens.  Some involve many people while others are driven by the efforts of a single individual.  In all cases the goal is to complete the project using the highest scientific standards.

Completed Projects
Tsuga Search Project:  The goal of the project was to locate, document and preserve exceptional specimens of eastern hemlock within Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The NPS statement reads: The primary partner for this project is The Eastern Native Tree Society (ENTS). ENTS is non-profit organization devoted locating, measuring and researching exceptional forests and individual trees of eastern North America.  For the past 12 years, ENTS members have documented unique hemlock forests and have found trees that exceed the known size limits for the species.  ENTS researchers are the foremost experts in locating, identifying, and documenting old growth hemlock forests. ENTS members will be the primary researchers in surveying, identifying, measuring, and documenting exceptionally large eastern hemlocks in the park. This information will assist park management in targeting important resources at risk and prioritizing areas that require immediate systemic treatment.  The Project was under the direction of Will Blozan.  Project Files: Tsuga Search
Middleton Live Oak/Sag Branch Tuliptree Project: The goal of the project was to accurately measure the wood volume of the Middleton Live Oak in Middleton Place, South Carolina and the Sag Branch Tuliptree in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  The project is completed and a final report is awaiting an additional review of the data collected.  A preliminary summary can be found here:  Middleton Live oak/Sag Branch Tuliptree Summary Partticipants included among others Will Blozan, Robert Van Pelt, Randy Cyr, and Ed Coyle.
Ongoing Projects
  Live Oak Project: This goal of this ongoing project, headed by Larry Tucei, is the location and documentation of the large Live Oaks (Quercus vigininia) found growing across the southern United States.  As of August 2011 Larry Tucei had documented and measured 170 Live Oak trees with girths over 20 feet in southeastern United States.  BBS: Live Oak Project
  Great Smoky Mountains National Park Tuliptree Project:  The large tuliptrees (Liriodendron tulipifera) within the park are being located and measured in this project.  The climbing and modeling of tuliptrees in the GSMNP is being conducted under a a scientific research permit assigned to Will Blozan, Jess Riddle, Josh Kelly, and Robert Leverett. Will Blozan coordinates the activities and the pace of that project.  In April 2011, the tallest native hardwood in North America, a tuliptree 190.1 feet tall, was found in Fork Ridge within the park as part of this project.  It is .  The tree was climbed and modeled as part of this project.  The location of this grove of tall tuiptrees was determined through the use of LIDAR imagery of the area.  Project Files:  Fork Ridge Tuliptree
  Blue Ridge Parkway Project:  The goal of the project is to document the old growth and special forests along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and North Carolina and to produce a book highlighting these features.  The book is being written by Robert Leverett and Monica Jakuc Leverett with the participation of other NTS members. A scientific research permit from the NPS for the project is held by Robert Leverett.  BBS:  Blue Ridge Parkway Project
Trees Database Project: The Trees Database is an experimental project under development by Mitch Galehouse and Steve  Galehouse, with utilization by the Native Tree Society in mind.  This site allows you to review, search, sort, add, and download information concerning native(and exotic) tree species, including height, girth dimension, geographic location, and site specifics. The intent is to include as many tree species from as many locations as possible to make it possible to compare tree species' size potentials across their native ranges.
  Liriodendron Height Project:  This project is being coordinated by Dr. Neil Pederson of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.  The goal is to create a height map of tuliptree populations based upon location and latitude based upon the high resolution height data collected by NTS members.
  American Chestnut Project:  The goal of this ongoing project, being headed by James Parton, is to locate and document the remnants of the once expansive American chestnut forest that once populated the United States prior to a devastating blight in the 1920's to 30's.  It is out goal to cooperate with the American Chestnut Foundation and the American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation in the pursuit of this project. BBS: American Chestnut Project
  Dendromorphometry Book Project:  Dr. Lee Frelich, Dr. Don C. Bragg, and Dr. Robert Van Pelt, Will Blozan, Robert Leverett, and Michael Taylor are writing a book on tree measurement expanding on the techniques described in our measurement guidelines along with additional techniques. The book will be entitled "Dendromorphometry - the Art and Science of Measuring Trees in the Field."  It is intended to serve as a credible book reference for measurement techniques.  In the meantime new articles, essays, and diagrams will be posted in the Bulletin of the Eastern Native Tree Society and to the NTS BBS
  White Pine Project:  The goal of the project is to create a height potential map for eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) across its range based upon the high resolution height data collected by the NTS. The project is being coordinated by Dr. Lee Frelich, NTS Vice President and Director of the center for Forest Ecology at the University of Minnesota.
  Big Tree Listings Project:  This project is simply the compilation of various maximum lists for tree species.  The most current max list, listing the maximums of height, girth, and crown spread for trees measured by NTS members was compiled by Jess Riddle.
Liriodendron Project:  The goal of this ongoing project, being headed by Gary Beluzo,  is to document the range of tuliptrees (Liriodendron tulipifera) and collect information on the phenology of the species.  BBS: Liriodendron Project
  Triangle Height Measurement Method Project:  Michael Taylor, in conjunction with Robert Leverett, developed this modeling method for measuring the height of a tree using three transit stations and 3 remote baselines. It involves the iterative solution of 3 simultaneous equations.  The process requires the se of a computer program but can achieve accuracies of a centimeter or less.  Tree heights can be measured at distances of up to one mile away. The derivation of the method is shown here: and the required computer programs can be downloaded here: from Michael Taylor's website.  Further discussions can be found here on our BBS.
  Bruce Kershner Project:  Bruce Kershner r (April 17, 1950 - February 16, 2007) was an environmentalist, author, and forest ecologist.  Prior to his death he gave copies of several of his unpublished or limited publication reports to fellow NTS member Dale Luthringer.  We are in the process editing those documents for publication in our NTS special report series.  Two of the reports on old growth within the Niagara River Gorge were written by Bruce as a Project of the Bert Miler Nature Club with funding from the Trillium Foundation.  They are cooperating on the publishing effort.  Another report is of old growth forest at the Landis Arboretum forwarded by their arborist, Fred Breglia, for inclusion in the project. A reports to Friends of Marcys Woods on Marcy's Woods Nature Reserve, Ontario and one on Hanlon Creek Heritage Maple Grove Forest Survey Report to Kortwright Hills Community Association, Guelph, Ontario were included in the reports given to us.  We are awaiting permission to reproduce these documents.  Participants Include Edward Frank, Dale Luthringer and Robert Leverett.
Aesthetics Project:  The goal of this ongoing project, being headed by Edward Frank, is to examine what it is about a particular tree, grove, or forest that tells you that this is a special place? What is it that touches you in some way on an emotional, spiritual, or aesthetic level?
  Tree Measurement Video Project:  The goal of this project is to develop a series of videos of tree measurement procedures.  BBS: Tree Measurement Video Project is being coordinated by Edward Frank
Singapore's Tallest:  Search For Singapore's Tallest Tree - To celebrate this years "Forests For People" as part of the United Nations International Year of Forests; our team will be searching for the tallest tree left on the mainland of Singapore. Once we believe we have found the tallest tree our aim is to measure the official height from the top-most part of the tree, record the circumference of the trunk base, video the canopy's condition and collect data to put together a summary on the health of the tree. Our hope is this data will help in continued efforts to preserve the long life of Singapores Champion Trees.  The NTS is joining the support team for the effort and reports from the search will be posted on our website as well as the project sites above. The Project is being coordinated by Jordan Glossop.
Ongoing Surveys
Mohawk Trail State Forest Survey:  This project includes the documentation of Mohawk Trail State Forests, MA  and long term monitoring of the trees present.  The NTS also provides expert opinion on the management of MTSF and provides educational programming at the forest.  The research is being conducted in conjunction with Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.  The project is headed by Robert  Leverett. All the work done on DCR properties is done under a special research permit from given to Robert Leverett by DCR. DCR is the beneficiary of all the data collected.  Project Files:  Mohawk Trail State Forests, MA [on BBS]
  Cook Forest State Park Survey:  This is an ongoing project to map the great trees and old-growth forests of Cook Forest State Park, PA.  The park is home to several of the tallest trees of their species found in the northeastern United States, including the Longfellow Pine (Pinus strobus) at 184 feet tall.  There are seven distinct old-growth forest patches found within Cook Forest that have been mapped as part of this project.  The park has served as host for several ENTS/NTS Rendezvous in the past, tree measuring workshops.  Old growth forest educational hikes are conducted regularly at the park.  This research is being conducted in cooperation with Cook Forest State Park and the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources .  It is being coordinated by Dale Luthringer, NTS member and Environmental Education Specialist at Cook Forest State Park, with a number of other NTS members contributing to the effort.  Project Files: Cook Forest State Park, PA [on the BBS]

William Cullen Bryant Homestead Survey:  The project includes the documentation of old growth forest on the grounds of the William Cullen Bryant Homestead, MA.  In addition the Pine Loop Trail was mapped and laid out as part of this project.  The Pine Loop features enormous pines that reach heights of 150 feet – a stand among the tallest in the Northeast. The project is being conducted in cooperation with The Trustees Of Reservations and is being coordinated by Robert Leverett.  The Trustees Of Reservations has granted Robert Leverett special permission to measure and report on important trees on the Bryant and other TTOR properties towards the fulfillment of the NTS mission.

  Great Smoky Mountains National Park Survey:  Ongoing project to map the great trees and old-growth forests found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Past projects have included the Tsuga Search Project and the Middleton Live Oak and Sag Branch Tuliptree Project along with dozens of mapping expeditions.  The NTS currently holds research permits for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  These efforts are being coordinated by Will Blozan and Robert Leverett.  Project Files:  Great Smoky Mountains National Park [on the BBS]

  Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest Survey:  Documentation of the big and tall trees of the Poplar Forest once owned by Thomas Jefferson.  The ongoing project has so far involved both ground based measurements and a tree climb by Will Blozan to measure the volume of the largest of the tuliptrees present on the estate.  The modeling of the tuliptrees at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest Estate is a joint NTS-Poplar Forest project.  The project is being coordinated by Robert Leverett and Jack Gary, Chief Archeologist at Poplar Forest.  Project Files:  Poplar Forest & Tuliptree Volume Spreadsheet

 James Madison's Montpelier Estate Survey:  Documentation of the big and tall trees of the James Madison estate known as Montpelier in Virginia.  The ongoing work on the Madison Montpelier Estate is done with permission of the authorities for that property. All collected data go to them. This project is being conducted with the cooperation of the Montpelier Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is being coordinated by NTS members Robert Leverett and Will Blozan and Sandra Mudrinich, horticulturalist for the estate. Project Files: Montpelier Estate

  Allegheny River Corridor Survey:  The goal of this project is to document the trees and forests of the Allegheny River corridor in Pennsylvania. The project will focus on the islands in this stretch of the river including, but not limited to, the islands of the Allegheny River Island Wilderness.  The project is being conducted by Edward Frank, Dale Luthringer, Carl Harting, and Anthony Kelley.

  Congaree National Park Survey:  NTS has been instrumental in documenting the tallest tree of Congaree National Park, SC A formal measuring expedition was conducted from February 20-23, 2009 with a dozen people in attendance. The expedition included exploration, ground based measurement, and several tree climbs for measurement and mapping purposes. The expedition was conducted under a research permit to Will Blozan. Project Files: Congaree National Park Expedition 2009

  Adirondack Park Survey:  Adirondack Park encompasses about 6 million acres of parkland  and inholdings in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.  This project is in its inception.  Explorations have been conducted so far by a number of NTS members including Jess Riddle, Robert Leverett, Eli Dickerson, John Davis, Tom Howard, and Michael Kudish.  Project Files:  Adirondacks

  McConnells Mill State Park Survey:  The project is to document and measure the exceptional trees at McConnells Mill State Park, PA.  A special collection permit was obtained by Edward Frank as part of this project to sample a large basswood specimen for age dating found along the trail.  The project is being coordinated by Anthony Kelley

  Erie Gorges Survey:  There are a series of narrow gorges and ridgetops along the southern shore of Lake Erie from northeastern Ohio to western New York.  The gorges cut through the escarpment above the lake shore plain through layers of glacial till and generally soft underlying shale bedrock.  There are many patches of old growth forest and mature forest that persist in these gorges due to the steepness of their sides and the difficulty of logging in these areas.  Investigations so far have included parks in the Cleveland Metro Parks System including North Chagrin Reservation, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and Holden Arboretum in northeastern Ohio, and a series of gorges in Erie County Pennsylvania.  Chief investigators have included Steve Galehouse, Randy Brown, Dan Reed, and Dale Luthringer.  Other contributers include Edward Frank, Carl Harting, Mitch Galehouse, and Will Blozan.  Robert Jetton of Camcore participated in one of the investigations of a disjunct population of Carolina hemlock in Cuyahoga Valley National Park with Steve Galehouse.  Investigations at Holden Arboretum were conducted in conjunction with staff members of the Arboretum.  The goal of the project is to investigate forests and trees found within these gorges and compare the growth characteristics among them.

  Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence Lowlands Tree Survey:  The project, being headed by Tom Howard  is to document and measure the exceptional trees in the central New York region.  There are several exceptional old growth patches in the northern Syracuse area, Rochester area, and Green Lake State Park, among others. The project area includes most of upper New York, excluding the Adirondacks and encompasses the Erie-Ontario Lowlands and extending to include the St. Lawrence Lowlands.  Other participants among others in the survey include Adam Rosen and Dale Luthringer.

Winterthur Survey:  Documentation of the large trees at the Winterthur Museum,Garden and Library in Wilmington, Delaware. This exploratory trip took place on September 10, 2010 by Will Blozan, George Fieo, and Scott Wade and was coordinated with the staff at Winterthur.  Project Files:  Winterthur
  Morristown National Historic Park Survey:  Investigations and measurements of the tree at Morristown National Historic Park, NJ by Robert leverett and Monica Jakuc Leverett. This ongoing project is being conducted in coordination with park biologist Robert Masson.

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