New Years Resolutions 2008  

TOPIC: ENTS New Year Resolutions

== 1 of 4 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 30 2007 5:38 pm

As your esteemed list master and ENTS Executive Director, I consider it my role to provide a discussion framework for us to collectively explore some New Year resolutions. I don't give my advice, prognostications, and suggestions any special weight. Allof you carry equal weight and are cordially linvited to participate, but from a strictly historical perspective, I suppose I'm the one most logical to start the ball rolling.
The ENTS list has been around almost 10 years. It started on a small server in Chicopee, MA. Our membership on that list built up to a surprising 125. However, the list features were extremely limited in terms of what we could do, so eventually I moved it to Topica at the suggestion of my friend Joe Zorzin. The voice of ENTS remained with Topica until the recent movement to Google. Each move has initially lost us members. But thinking back to Chicopee, I find it revealing that we've made a net gain of only 25 members over the history of the list. I attribute the small net gain to the niche role that we fill and to our long term heavy focus on numeric approach to trees. In 2008, expanding into more qualitative tree territory is likely to net us a higher gain in overall membership, which I presume is a goal we should embrace. I say presume because most of our membership is totally silent. Were we to ad d a thousand new silent members, I'm unsure if it would move us forward, rath
er than merely mark time. However, to the extent that we add contributing members, I believe we move ENTS forward.
If we're going to adopt resolutions, on the eve of the new year, it behooves us to revisit some of our past thinking both in terms of individual ENTS missions and overall organizational direction. So, here goes. IMHO, our permanent mission into tree measuring , i.e. dendromorphometry, represents our most successful ENTS achievement. Sine-based tree height measuring, Rucker Indexing, and trunk-limb volume modeling have filled real needs, though largely unperceived by forest professionals. We can be justly proud that we have added unprecedented tree dimension accuracy and have contributed enhanced site descriptions for many forest icons to include superb forest sites like the GSMNP, Cook Forest State Park, Zoar Valley, and MTSF. We have a far better grasp of eastern species dimensional maximums than any other individuals or groups anywhere and we're far from done. Our recent thrust into the southern world of the live oak promi ses to shine the spotlight on a species that has bee
n way under-represented in the big tree annals. Consequently, I think we should resolve to build on our measuring successes in 2008 - without the measuring mission swamping all other endeavors, but also without our tree measuring gradaully losing steam. We should strive to actively update all our big/tall tree lists. They provide a core of accurate data and provide us with illuminating tree and forest snapshots for which there are no alternatives. But, we can go well beyond list maintenance. The partnership of Will Blozan, Lee Frelich, Don Bragg, Gary Beluzo, Dale Luthringer, Ed Frank, and myself will pursue a book on dendromorphometry. That effort will not go dormant. In addition, 2008 promises properly designed academic studies under the overall leadership of the Veep, Lee Frelich. With the quantitative mission for 2008 securely outlined, let's move on.
Are we the Eastern Native Tree Society or the broader Native Tree Society? Alas, our attempts at geographical expansion have been abortive, disappointing. We first looked at expanding from the purely eastern forest biome to the encompass the adjacent Rocky Mountains domain. I was to cover the venerable Black Hills of South Dakota. It never happened. A second expansion flirtation has been with the entire West - a bit too ambitious in retrospect. At one point, we even spoke of an Asian Native Tree Society arm. However, expanding our geographical territory outside the East suggests, at this time, to be too much of an extension. Moving into a new geographical domain requires the rise of a local champion with plenty of fire in his/her belly. Attempts at expansion into new geographical areas by those of us located from afar just doesn't work. We need a local hero. So, while I would personally like to see ENTS coverage extended into the Rocky Mountain domain, short of the rise of a ne
w local champion, it isn't in the cards for 2008. The tail of the ponderosas, Engleman spruce, Colorado blue spruce, etc. will have to wait.
In terms of cyberspace, 2008 will in all likelihood be exciting. Ed Frank's proven expertise and indefatiguable drive to explore internet options for telling the ENTS story can be expected to continue. Ed is an unstoppable force with well springs of creativity that show no bounds. However, I will leave it to Ed to reveal his vision for 2008. Ed, the podium is yours in terms of what you want to see achieved.
What about our new contributing ENTS members? To our new active members, the rest of us heartily thank you. Let it be that in 2008 we will attract more by jointly exploring the mystical side of forests and trees where there is much ground to be covered. Trees of the imagination is exciting territory. Trees in mythology, trees seen through a spirtual dimension, even trees in aesthetics all provide perspectives that thankfully exist apart from the bland approach that represents the commercial side of human activity, i.e. trees seen as pulp or lumber. A worthy mission of ENTS would be to explore ways of helping resource professionals cultivate alternative views of trees. When trees are reduced to the status of a resource to be exploited for the benefit of humans, the greater dimension of trees and their true power become invisible to the exploiter. Let us move forward in 2008 to help others explore the mystical side of trees.
For 2008, we want to limit communications on controversial topics without curbing our freedom of speech. It is a matter of personal discipline. Obviously, I refer to discussions about forest practices and problems within the forestry profession and the wood products industry. We can spend time on occasion discussing forestry practices, but ENTS is not the vehicle or forum for dealing with forest practices dealt with from a public policy standpoint. On the other hand, I doubt that some of us will be able to permanently resist taking potshots at activities that threaten great trees and forest sites. Naturally, the source of threats will draw our fire. But let's resolve not to trap ourselves, and I'm saying this primarily for my own benefit.
Well, this hopefully is a start. Who wants to propose some resolutions or comment on our direction for 2008?

== 2 of 4 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 30 2007 7:41 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


Bob started this discussion about the direction of ENTS for 2008 and ask about my thoughts on the subject. I will give the issue more thought and write a more detailed post in a few days. These are my initial two thoughts:

1) I would like to see ENTS become incorporated as a non-profit corporation in its own right, rather than just being a branch of the Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest. Will checked into this early last year and found estimates of $1500 or so to do this. We should raise the money to do so. From my looking at the materials it is likely we will need to have a good organizational charter before we can hire someone to do the paperwork at that cost. Does anyone want to spearhead this effort? (Could we just revise the FMTSF charter to be renamed the Eastern Native Tree Society with an updated mission statement?)

2) Bob spoke of our failure to expand into Western US. Well we have expanded in the last couple years. We have Beth Koebel in the midwest. We have Neil Pederson firmly onboard in Kentucky. Don Bragg and others are giving us reports from Arkansas, Larry Tucei is covering the entire Gulf Coast. A couple of years ago these were blank pages in our map. Now we have core people working in these areas. One person commented online that they were unhappy about the change in focus of the Nature Conservancy from local areas to the international efforts. I am sure they are not the only one who felt this way. I would like to see ENTS expand into other areas, without losing our focus on the areas inwhich we already are working. I don't know that ENTS needs to expand per se, what we really need is groups in other areas with a dedication to measurement standards equal to ours. We need sister organizations rather than a controlling interest in other areas of the world. We have many of the tropical tree climber/researchers using quality measurement standards - Roman Dial etc. We have the western people like Bob Van Pelt and Steve Sillett using quality standards. We need others to adopt those standards.

What I am thinking is for me to set up another separate discussion list and invite every tree or forest scientific research group, or forest conservation group, or other group we felt was appropriate that we can find around the world to join and participate. This World Forest Consortium would allow them to publish their news releases, newsletters, announcements or questions to the forum for all of the other groups to read or receive. At least one member from each group would need to sign up to receive these posts so that they could be distributed as appropriate to that groups members. Individuals could join as well. I could pinch of a small section of the ENTS website and use it to provide a logo and link to each of the member groups. There would be a general outline of what would be acceptable for the posts. There would be an emphasis on adopting quality measurement standards for tree research and documentation with ENTS measurement guidelines prominently featured. I am thinking no more than a 5 MB of space (I could even host in on my webserver space.) This forum would allow groups to share information efficiently with a broader range of people than normally would be reached. They could discuss mutual problems or situations and possible solutions or resources. What I need to find is a killer reason for them to join up... Then this would serve as an introduction and way to spread the ENTS measurement standards around the world. people interested could then join ENTS itself, or parallel sister organizations could be formed in other areas of the world.


== 3 of 4 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 30 2007 10:09 pm


The FMTSF charter could be used as an archetype. It would require fairly heavy revision, but the job could be done.

On the ENTS expansion westward, I was jumping completely out of the eastern forest biome and into the Rocky Mountain West. Expansions into new eastern states is certainly in keeping with our mission. Ideally we'll eventually have a representative in each eastern state.

In terms of expansion, I like following the affiliation route that you suggest. In terms of getting takers, it may be mostly a question of attracting attention to and stimulating interest in achieving a high level of measuring performance and plenty of tree climbing.


== 4 of 4 ==
Date: Mon, Dec 31 2007 1:21 am
From: Beth Koebel


I like all the ideas that have been suggested. I
think that some of them (expanding to cover more
geographic area for one) are more of a long term goal.

I personaly plan on trying to remeasure all of
Illinois State Champs in southern most part of the
state (aprox. south of I-64), doing a few Rucker
Indexes (Storck Woods, our 60 acre pasture/woods, and
any other area that I will find in 2008), possibly
adding on a few more state champ trees (pumpkin ash,
florida maple, eastern larch, cockspur hawthorn), and
trying to get both Missouri and Illinois to use the
Sine method for measuring thier champion trees.

This is a tall order espeically since I have a lot
going on in my personal life, locating and moving into
a house, fixing my body since it seems to be falling
apart (and yes I know I am not that old, 43).


== 4 of 8 ==
Date: Mon, Dec 31 2007 5:27 am
From: Beth Koebel


I'll respond to "In terms of the new year projects you
listed, I suspect your tallest order will be in
getting Illinois and/or Missouri to adopt the
sine-based tree height method to replace the far more
error-prone tangent-based method." In Illinois, Jay
Hayek is trying to get people outside to enjoy the
nature that Illinois has and trying to keep down the
expense that the average Joe Blow in order to nominate
a tree. I know that Jay is a member of this list and
he agrees that the Sine method is second only to
climbing the tree. I hope that I am not putting words
in his mouth, and I apolgise up front if I am. The
odds that Jay will reply to this message is very low
as due to the work load that he has he has been one of
those silent members.

Missouri on the other hand, I have not a clue where to
start but when has that ever stopped me.


== 5 of 8 ==
Date: Mon, Dec 31 2007 10:13 am


The only simple route to solving Jay's challenge is the two step process I mentioned. There would be the nomination step, which anybody could do and the certification, which only qualified people would do. The two step process might not be practical from a budget/resource standpoint. Others might think of an even better process, but I certainly understand that getting people to value the small amount of nature that may be left is the priority. More power to Jay.


== 6 of 8 ==
Date: Mon, Dec 31 2007 4:28 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


3) Bob ask what plans I have for the website and our cyberspace presence. At the present time I don't foresee any major changes, or I would have already made them. There are some areas of the website I would like to see expanded. I want to see the Native American Connections section expanded. I want to add a Native American bookstore page added. I want to pursue more articles on the mythology of trees. I want to expand the video section on the website, but to do that I need people to post more videos to You Tube.

4) Personal projects I want to continue are the ENTS Aesthetics Project. I need to summarize my thoughts on the subject and post them and begin the discussion again.

5) I sent out a survey last year regarding hemlock wooly adelgid infestations. it was pretty much a failure with low response rates. The NPS people did well as did the state parks in WV and NC, Most places simply ignored the survey. Some like PA were antagonistic. The Central Office ordered people at the park level not to answer the survey. They literally were afraid to reply. One park did reply and I found out, so I called and emailed people. I was given the old bureaucratic run-around. Shuffled about to one office to the next. This pissed me off, so I called my State Representative and State Senator. After a couple of calls back to them, I got a polite response and a summary of the work being done in Pennsylvania with the HWA. The results - not much. I want to thank the people who did respond and showed concern about the issue. This is the first project I want to complete.

6) As an ongoing project I want to compile a list of tree ages from stump counts etc. All I need are data from ENTS members.

7) A couple of things that I want to see discussed more on the discussion list are more about arboriculture and landscaping. Steve G. and Eric B. have posted some on this, but the subject never took off.

8) Russ R. has posted about ginseng, we could talk more about other non-timber forest crops.

9) I talked recently about a Diversity Index. One thing we need to figure out is how to characterize sites by looking at the entire site, rather than just the tallest tree species on the site. How do we make the smaller species count for something? I posed this a year or so ago. Jess R. offered a suggestion of records per site. This would include any species tat was a state record regardless of the size. So the little hawthorn tree would be counted as much as the tallest sycamore we found on the recent trip the ARIW. Other approaches need to be thought of and discussed.

I am sure there are other things I will think of later. Foremost we must continue our measurement and site documentation efforts.

Ed Frank

TOPIC: ENTS New Year Resolutions

== 1 of 15 ==
Date: Tues, Jan 1 2008 8:42 am
From: Lee Frelich


My resolution for ENTS is to figure out why most people care so little
about forests and then do something about it. Forest Ecology has virtually
disappeared as a science in this country. If there is one forest ecologist
in a state, then that topic is 'covered' and we don't need any more. In
countries like Canada and Sweden, there are many times the number on a per
capita basis than we have in the U.S. There are numerous native tree
societies in Europe. Lakes, oceans, wetlands, and prairies get far more
attention (and I don't mean to imply that they aren't important) than
forests, and as Ed's HWA survey showed, you can't even get people to care
if the last old growth stands of a species are dying. Why have we done such
a poor job of making the case for the importance (for economic, quality of
life, ecosystem function, recreational, esthetic, and spiritual reasons) of
forests in this country?


== 2 of 15 ==
Date: Tues, Jan 1 2008 8:57 am
From: "Edward Frank"


We must continue our efforts to bring awareness to the public of the threat faced by the Eastern Hemlock and Carolina Hemlock by the alien invasive insect the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. We need to push for awareness of the critical importance to our forests of the ecosystems based upon the hemlock . We need to push for decisive positive action in response to the threat by our public officials and by the so called conservation organizations that are sitting back and watching our hemlock forests die. Here in western Pennsylvania they are the primary component of vast areas of forest and there will be nothing left behind that even remotely resembles today's forests if some way is not found to stop the spread of HWA. The time to wait and observe has long since passed.

Ed Frank

== 11 of 15 ==
Date: Tues, Jan 1 2008 3:21 pm
From: "Will Blozan"


That is EXACTLY what the documentary I am involved in is all about! You
nailed it!

But, as with the Tsuga Search Project, the film is not funded yet. Seems
interest is limited. It may never be completed if we don't raise the money.
I have none to give; the six days of filming spent so far are on credit
cards and i.o.u.'s from dedicated folks.


== 3 of 15 ==
Date: Tues, Jan 1 2008 10:48 am


I too share your concern over the likely loss of hemlock to HWA. I think
that carrying everything a step further, I can see incredible encroachment by
nonnative invasive species drastically altering any expected outcome or
recovery from hemlock dying is probably going to take a couple more
decades for HWA to complete its job but...EAB could complete its' work on ash
fifteen or twenty years sooner than HWA.

I think that the botanical information in many of the stands of forest being
visited by ENTS may well have substantial historical significance equal to
the documentation of large trees. Escalating climate change, invasive species
and the loss of understory species like flowering dogwood in much of the
Appalachians is changing the forest faster than some things are being documented.


== 9 of 15 ==
Date: Tues, Jan 1 2008 3:12 pm
From: James Parton


My resolute concerning ENTS this year is to get more involved into
tree measuring and documenting local forests in my area, by tape, etc
or camera. I also intend to get more heavily involved in the "
Folklore & Mythology " department, particuarly with celtic legends. My
tree of specialty will be the American Chestnut, to find more
outstanding examples of this very endangered tree and do all I can to
help preserve them & restore it to the forest, even if I do not live
to see it. This also includes joining ACCF or TACF. Above all I choose
to stay active in ENTS even if my posts remain simple. Hopefully all
won't get tired of my rambling.

Happy New Year!: James Parton

== 10 of 15 ==
Date: Tues, Jan 1 2008 3:20 pm
From: Lee Frelich


Forest ecology is quite nebulous these days. Most 'forestry' schools in the
U.S. have a forest ecologist and a silviculturist (silviculture is really
applied forest ecology), and also, some ecology departments, soils
departments, and botany departments have a forest ecologist. I put
'forestry' in quotes because there aren't many forestry schools these days.
Most have recently changed their names to Natural Resources or something
like that. We don't even offer a 'Forestry' graduate degree at the
University of MN any more. There is no real way to track the number of
degrees granted that might be counted as forest ecology, because they have
so many different names.

Although we have more interest in forest ecology than ever before from
students who say they want to become forest ecologists, funding has
disappeared from all directions (including government such as National
Science Foundation, private individuals and foundations, and industry), and
I think we are granting fewer such degrees. Over the last several years the
water resources, biofuels, soils, wildlife and environmental pollution
people have jumped in with support from their much larger and well
established interest groups and lobbyists, and taken almost all the money
(and all we get for lobbyists is SAF--need I say more?). This is why I said
in the previous posting that forest ecology is disappearing as a science in
this country. My friends who have moved to the Ontario Forest Research
Institute in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, have 20 forest ecologists on staff,
along with many other forest scientists, real financial support, and many
other forest ecologists at nearby universities in Ontario and Quebec. I
can't see anything like this happening in the U.S.