Big or Little   Joe Zorzin
  Sep 27, 2003 02:09 PDT 
To the ENTS list server,

Just a comment regarding big trees. I notice that what seems to count the most to many people is the size of the tree. If it's the biggest one of a species in some area, it gets noted. Certainly big trees should be noted since there are so few of them.

However, many trees which are not in the giant category have great beauty or something about them that makes them fascinating- their unusual shape or unusual color, or a large hollow where some little creatures are living, or something about the way that tree fits into its immediate environment.

It would be nice to keep tract of such trees too. We can always grow more big trees- that's easy, but we can't always reproduce the conditions that grow really fascinating trees.

I recently found a book in a local library which shows trees from around the world which happen to be extremely massive and fascinating. All you tree freaks really need to see this book- it's called, "Remarkable Trees of the World" by Thomas Pakenham. 

Josef Rasputin Zorzinovich

Re: It's not only the size that counts
   Sep 27, 2003 06:28 PDT 


   I suspect that all of us on this list agree with you on your observations.
My data base currently includes 1921 laser-measured trees. So there are plenty
that have been included because they captured my fancy for reasons other the
size. There is also plot-based data in the database where every tree in the
plot is included. However, picking up on your drift, we could launch an
internet digital image contest for the most unusual trees. That would give Ed
Frank some more grist for the website. It certainly would send us all down a
different, artistically oriented path. Everyone able to get a photo scanned in
to create a digital file would have a shot instead of only the high priests of
measuring. Yes, by golly, the idea sounds better and better. An ENTS photo
contest for the most unusual and adorable trees. Heck, Joe, you're a dandy
photographer. You'd do well in the contest.

    Incidentally, small is also good. I dearly love those quaint little dwarf
pitch pines on the top of Mount Everett. Yes, bonsai is beautiful, baby and the
gnarlier the better....

big or little?   Joseph Zorzin
  Oct 04, 2003 03:47 PDT 

OK, I sure dig giant trees. I've hiked in the redwoods.

I recently started a thread about "It's not the size that counts".

How about going to the other extreme?

What about bonsai?

Now, I bet the bonsai freaks have a list where they rave about the tiny
tree they saw the other day.

"Oh, wow, I saw this bonsai pine and it was only 3" tall and a quarter
inch DBH and it's 450 years old!" An award winner for our East Overshoe
database, for sure!

All humor aside, tongue back in check, I do recall, early in the '70s,
going to the Smithsonian botanical garden and seeing the "Japanese
Imperial Bonsai Collection". I'm not sure if it was on loan from the
Japanese Empire, or if its part of the permanent collection. It filled
an entire greenhouse and was very mind blowing.

Of course Americans like big things, like big houses, big trees, big
muscles (like the next gov. of CA), big paychecks, gigantic SUVs- but
Japan is a small country with small people who have made an art out of
small trees.

Although big is fine, our worshipping of the big stuff could be seen as
a cultural item. America is the big Empire with people who often are a
bit too big for their own health. Big trees are rare because we have a
society that worships all that material stuff so it must waste the
landscape to do so, even if it means wasting those beautiful big trees.

We might as well get used to small trees, since that's about all you're
going to see in most places thanks to the deep thinkers that direct
forest policies.

Maybe the East Asians are just way ahead of us on this issue of small
trees- as they are in many other cultural ways.

Joe Zorzin
Re: big or little?
  Oct 04, 2003 05:06 PDT 


   Interesting cultural commentary. The small is beautiful counterbalance to the big tree mania has its place. The bonsai forms satisfy my artistic appetite while the big trees function more as symbols of a colonial and pre-settlement past when there was more space free of human traffic. That is one reason I dearly loved the western United States when I lived there - space and plenty of it.

   But with respect to big trees, surprisingly, if you know where to look, Massachusetts has an abundance of big, though not giant, trees. For example, the 140.9-foot tall, 14.1-around white pine in the Conway, MA graveyard. Nothing slouchy about that tree, yet most people drive by it without consciously recognizing it for either what it is or what it represents. It is a sign of the times. People are very disconnected from these large life forms that they can whiz past.

   What is especially interesting is how folks who work with trees in one way or another are almost as insensitive to our big trees as those who are completely tuned out. I guess it is the way our brain compartmentalize the sounds and images it interprets. A graveyard tree is decoration in a particular setting - not to be fussed over with all the tombstones around marking locations of the deceased. When I walk among the graves on the way to a big tree in a cemetary, I try to stay in a reverant state of mind, respectfully acknowledging the lives and times of those souls buried around me. I sometimes pause and simple nod my head in respect and mutter a simple prayer. I then change my focus the large looming lifeform and pay it the respect that it deserves in the way I commune with trees - to record their dimensions.

RE: big or little?   Joseph Zorzin
  Oct 04, 2003 05:53 PDT 

Wow, how did a former corporate and military type guy get so groovy? <G>
Those corporations and the Pentagon must have been sorry when you left-
or, maybe, they don't want people with such a groovy attitude about
things that are really important. I just can't imagine you with a
correct Pentagon killer instinct. I only wish the top dogs who run the
forestry world could think on your level. I may be wrong, and it may be
inappropriate for me to say so, but I suspect your marriage to a Native
American woman may have helped broaden your perspective of Mother

Regarding trees in cemetaries, I agree- they do add much. This reminds
me of one small cemetary in October Mt. State Forest I've been meaning
to relocate, after about 20 years, now that I have a professional
quality camera. It's only about 25' square, surrounded by stone walls.
And, the land around it is a norway spruce plantation. The trees, last
time I saw it, were so big as to almost close their canopies over the
cemetary, dropping their needles for decades and filling the spaces
between the gravestones with those needles. I remember walking in and
sensing a great quite, because those norway spruce plantations are so
dense- they really cut the sound. So, it was very quite and very odd to
be standing on a thick bed of spruce needles, looking at those old
stones. I drove up there once looking for it and couldn't find it. I'll
have to try again soon. I wouldn't be surprised the state cut the trees
around the cemetary, not having the wisdom to leave a huge buffer around
the cemetary. If I can find it again, and the state hasn't ruined the
ambience, I'll photograph it and shown the images here.