22, 2003 06:25 PDT
The long awaited forest summit lecture series
begins tomorrow evening
at Holyoke Community College. The time is 6:30PM. The location
Forum in C Building, also named the Donahue Building. The agenda
posted on the HCC website.
Gary Beluzo and I have watched with relief as
the interest has built
up over our stated educational mission. It wasn't a given. We'll
eventually reel in representatives from all the stakeholders,
initially, participation by some groups will likely be minimal.
pressure on them builds to send representatives (since others at
series will be talking about the missing parties), we expect
a year down the road, we'll have full representation. Then we'll
rocking and rolling. HCC will be where the action is.
Robert T. Leverett
Cofounder, Eastern Native Tree Society
of Lecture Series
22, 2003 10:31 PDT
The interest in the HCC forest
summit lecture series is growing
rapidly. Gary and I are pleased, if not relieved. However, we've
down the road before. The first old growth forest conference
exclusively to eastern OG was the one we organized at the
North Carolina in Aug 1993. It was a spectacular success, but we
nervous before hand. Since that first conference, we've held 4
additional full eastern old growth conferences, 2 old growth
symposia at Harvard Forest, and a special old growth conference
landowners at Sweet Brier College in VA. That's 8 events. We'll
another full eastern OG conference in New Hampshire next fall.
the forest summit lecture series is of a different breed. In the
series, we're not calling out to the choir, but to a broader
the public. Our goal is public education.
A good reason why Holyoke
Community College is an ideal place to
hold the forest lecture series is that it provides us with a
location. HCC is not beholding to any funding sources that could
pressure us to stray into advocacy of a special interest. So
will invite forest stakeholders who have commercial designs on
forests to make presentations. They won't get a free ride. There
Gary and I will hammer home the
point that the goal of the forest
summit lecture series will be to get at the truth, whatever the
may be. Of course, we also want to have fun. Some future topics
lecture series will include will be:
1. Role of forests in climate stabilization
2. Roles of state and federal agencies in
forest use, conservation,
and preservation - who is doing what and how well?
3. Threats to old growth icons
4. Whither goes the profession of forestry
5. Forest health - what defines a healthy
6. Forests of the past
7. Native American uses of the forest
8. The many roles of trees in our lives
9. Forest canopies as seen through the eyes of
10. The icons of the environmental movement
11. Modern forest stakeholders - who they are, what they want
12. Forest practices - good and bad
13. Threats to our forests and trees
14. The many roles of the Eastern Native Tree Society
15. Big beautiful trees and the people who
photograph and paint them
16 Forest researchers and what they are
Hopefully, this sample of
topics of topics is broad enough that
more and more people will come to learn.
Robert T. Leverett
Cofounder, Eastern Native Tree Society
heck of a four days
27, 2003 13:13 PST
The 1st forest summit lecture
series enters the pages of forest history. The two-day series
was very successful by the goals we had established. More will be
said about the two-day series in the future, but for now, we are
off to a good start and look forward to the next event.
In terms of big tree
confirmations and tree climbs, all we can say is WOW! But before
getting into the details, I must first humbly bow to my better,
Will Blozan. On October 23rd, Will began a tree-measuring blitz
by confirming a hop hornbeam in Monroe State Forest. Ed pointed
out the tree. It is one I had walked passed on at least a dozen
prior occasions, usually leading groups of people and talking.
The hop hornbeam's circumference is 3.7 feet, and as such is respectable, but its height is amazing. At 78.1 feet, it is the
new eastern U. S. A. height record for the species. Mark up a big
one up for Will Blozan. I'm sure that with the spotlight on the
species, the Monroe State Forest record will soon fall, but for
a few weeks or months, may Monroe bask in glory.
Elsewhere in Monroe, an 89-foot
tall, 15-foot circumference northern red oak held our attention.
It was no slouch, nor was the 126-foot tall white ash. Monroe
State Forest continues to tease us and beckon to us to take this
small state property seriously as a worthy big tree site. With a
Rucker Index already above 120, I think we can eventually get it
up to 122 or 123, but don't see much of a possibility for a
higher value. The species that needs to be improved vis a vis
the Rucker Index is oddly the sugar maple. I just haven't found
the mother load yet. There is almost certainly a 120 somewhere
and possible a 125.
On Friday, a re-measurement
of the three giant Connecticut River Valley sycamores produced
some nice surprises. The statistics now favor the Sunderland
Sycamore even more than they did. The measurements are:
Name Height Girth
Spread Points Measurer
Sunderland 114.4 24.9 143 449 WB
Hatfield 117.1 23.9 129 436 WB/BL
Deerfield 122.1 21.7 112 411 WB/BL
Crown spreads for the Hatfield and
Deerfield trees are from older measurements and may be
understated. Incidentally, the point total for Connecticut's
Pinchot sycamore is 456 points.
After the Sunderland sycamore
measurements, Will bagged two more 120+ foot cottonwoods on the
Hatfield flood plain. Both scale out at 123.6 feet in height.
This brings to 11 the number of 120+ foot tall cottonwoods
measured in Massachusetts. The significant cottonwood database
has 120 trees in it. Perhaps we can add another 2 or 3 before
the snow flies. The average height for the 120 trees is 108.8
In terms of climbs, ENTS's
distinguished president Will Blozan scored big successes. On
Friday Oct 24th, Will and his climbing partner Ed made it up the
huge Tecumseh tree and we taped it to 160.1 feet. This tree had
given us fits for years, but we now have a good baseline
measurement. Actually Howard Stoner gets credit for the closest
measurement with laser and clinometer. Howard is getting to be
a whiz. Congratulations Howard! You da man! Several other
measurements by Lee Frelich and myself were slightly under to
slightly over the taped length. If they were all averaged
together, we'd be very close to the taped height of the Tecumseh
Tree. Incidentally, Will and Ed were hit be a snow squall while
at the top of the tree. Wow! Ed dropped down 8 feet to provide
better counterbalance. It got a bit sporty for them. Those of us
on the ground were getting worried.
On Saturday morning, the day was
gorgeous. We had a large group sponsored by Mass Audubon. Will
skipped on ahead to look for trees to bring up the Rucker Index.
In short order, he truly humbled me. I was both delighted and
embarrassed. Will found 3 new 150-footers in Mohawk Trail State
Forest in the Pocumtuck grove! That brought the total of
150-footers in Mohawk up to 39. The three additions are all in
the Pocumtuck grove, a tightly packed stand of pines 100 to 110
years old. Three new ones? That is beyond my wildest hopes. More
on where the sneaky 150-footers were hiding in a future e-mail.
But first, I've got to toot my own horn.
Later that day on our walk through
the Encampment grove, I managed to break 100 feet on a white oak
at 101.8 feet tall and 8.2 feet in circumference. This white oak
becomes the 20th native species to break 100 feet in Mohawk.
There is a total of 22. So much for my exploits. Back to Will.
Will made 116.7 feet (I think) on a red pine. The tree grows in
the 1930s CCC pine stand in Mohawk. Will's confirmation makes
the tree the second tallest of its species in Mass. It is a darn
good find. Will also pegged a Norway spruce at 117.7 feet in
height, which becomes the new height record for the species in
Mohawk, beating my old record of 117.1 feet. By this time Will
was really starting to rub it in. Then it happened. He bagged
another 150-footer! I'm serious as a heart attack and right on
the side of a trail. It wasn't even hiding. Well, that was
number 40 for Mohawk. Oh the shame, the shame. In my own back
yard! Under my nose. In a matter of hours, Will had increased
Mohawk's total of 150-footers by 11%! How long had it taken me
to make my incremental gains? Oh, the shame, the shame.
Well, I was feeling more chipper
on Sunday morning Oct 26th, when Lee, Will, Ed, and I headed
north to Claremont, NH. Will's objective was to climb a splendid
white pine that John Knuerr and I had measured the year before.
The pine grows at an altitude of 400 feet and a latitude of a
little less than 43.4 degrees. It had been given the status of
New England's tallest accurately measured tree per John's and my
measurements. However, we needed to get a good fix on it. We had
bagged four 160-footers the year before at the private Claremont
site and 150-footers had proven to be more common than I had
originally thought. On this trip, a number of laser-clinometer
measurements taken by Lee Frelich and myself averaged out to be
about 164.5 feet. However, the taped height of the tree turned
out to be 164.1 feet. Not too shabby. The key to accuracy is the
laser-clinometer combination and statistics, statistics,
statistics. - which is what we've been saying all along to bring
the measured height to with +/- 1.0 feet of taped height.
Will and his climbing partners can now claim
to have climbed higher into trees in North Carolina, South
Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire than
any other person. Tennessee can probably be added to the list.
While Will and Ed swayed to and fro in the top
of that extraordinarily skinny Claremont white pine, Lee Frelick
and I measured other trees. I was trying to nab all the
160-footers and thought there were six. To cut to the chase, I
discovered this morning, to my surprise, that we had confirmed a
total of seven 160-footers. I had thought the number to be six,
but no, we actually have seven. Two are in a shallow ravine just
north of the ravine with the tree that Will and Ed climbed. One
of the two new trees was measured by Lee to a height of 166.1
feet. I got 165.5 feet. It is probably the tallest. So Lee now
holds the record for Wisconsin and New Hampshire. Well, Will
will just have to return in 2004 and confirm Lee's measurement.
Its girth is a respectable 10.3 feet. By contrast, the girth of
the tree that Will climbed is a slender 8.2 feet. When the wind
blew, and it did, the tree swayed mightily. Will has plenty of
images and hopefully he'll share some with other Ents.
One observation Will made that I'm now
hesitant to dispute is the density of 150-footers in the private
Claremont Stand. Will believes that it is the highest in the
Northeast, including the indominatable Cook Forest. I'll bet
Dale's mouth just went agape. After spending about 4.5 hours in
a fairly confined area measuring, counting, and observing I think
Will may be correct. Let's see why. There are about 20 acres of
the tall pines, maybe more. The stand averages between 160 and
190 years of age with a few trees near the Connecticut River
over 200 years. Within the concentration of seven 160-footers,
it stood to reason that there would be a lot of 150-footers.
Well there are. They are all over the place. I would guess that
a 10 acre area averages at least ten 150-footers per acre and we
can probably get another 2 or 3 per acre out of the remaining 10
acres for a total of about 125. However, there is a chance that
there could be double that number. At this point, I'm from
Missouri. We will just have to do a lot more measuring to settle
the question. The problem in quick passes through the area is
that many of the pines have re-grown from broken crowns. Long
side branches make seeing the full length of a tree quite
difficult. Also a scattering of deciduous species, especially
black and yellow birch, when leafed out, creates a sub-canopy
that makes seeing the tops of tall pines virtually impossible.
The bottom line is that gathering data on the Claremont forest's
vertical structure can only occur when the deciduous trees have
lost their leaves and even then is extremely time consuming.
We'll be at it likely for several years. Nonetheless, Will's
observations about the density of 150-footers is not to be taken
lightly. He's probably right. Plus, Will has a distinct
advantage. He's seen the forest from the top of the canopy and
he reported to us tall pines jutting up everywhere.
The hardwoods growing among the white
pines at Clarremont are not exceptional, but neither are they wimps. Lee measured a white ash to over 115 feet in height.
Many hemlocks grow among the pines, but appear to reach heights
of 110 to 115 feet with a few topping 120. The Rucker Index of
the Claremont site is likely between 117 and 120. However, it
would take a lot of time to nudge it past 120.
Well, we're nearing the end of the
report covering the whirlwind events of the past few days. As
the Eastern Native Tree Society continue gains in prominence,
the need grows for us to solidify an organizational structure to
keep us rolling and to keep us focused. Dr. Lee Frelich has
agreed to act as the society's vice president. It all came about
in an unplanned way, but that's okay. With Will as the president
and Lee as the vice president, we are assured of a continued
strong focus on science to include plenty of views from the
canopy. We don't just putter around at ground level.
Finally, on Saturday, we paid tribute to
the passing of a dear friend. We dedicated a splendid white pine
in the Algonquin grove of MTSF to our friend Karl Davies who
recently passed away from cancer. The dedication was attended by
60 people. Karl's tree stands near Michael Perlman's tree. Mike
passed away in April 1998. Karl passed on October 2003. Both
Karl and Mike were protectors of the forest. They chose
different, but equally important and necessary routes.
One of Karl's close friends and fellow Quakers
told me that he often walked the Mahican-Mohawk trail and had
always admired the tree we dedicated to Karl. It seemed so
fitting. We appreciated all who came to pay their respects to
Karl. The tall pine stands as living monument to Karl and his
work. We invite all to walk the trail and to remember Karl and
Mike as they pass their trees.
on the summit and aftermath
28, 2003 09:06 PST
The Forest Summit lecture series got
off to a good start with an
interview conducted by yours truly of Dr. Lynn Rogers.
could have easily lasted another half hour, but that is
all the more
reason to have Lynn return next year.
Dr. Charles Cogbill then
provided us with an impressive array of
data on the forest composition of pre-settlement New
quickly dashed myths about the abundance of white pine
and where the
chestnuts grew before turning to the subject of tension
separate forest types. It was a good way to start the
process about New England forests. Basically Charlie's
material was new
to most of the attendees.
Dr. Lee Frelich followed with a
very interesting and thought
provoking presentation on old growth processes and
definitions. We need
to think very seriously about Lee's concepts. There is
much to discuss
on the subject on how we should view old growth on our
Dr. David Orwig concluded the
first evening with a detailed look at
the OG research on Mount Wachusett and Mount Everett
that Harvard Forest
is doing and a general look at what we can expect in the
way of future
OG research coming from Dave and Tony Damato via Dave's
Dr. Tom Diggins started off on
Friday evening with a detailed
presentation on the gorge-bottom OG forests of Zoar
Valley, NY. He made
a compelling case for their full protection and pointed
out what we have
so often seen, namely that the on-scene resource
managers have a poor
understanding of the resource. Tom's presentation was
followed by Will
Blozan's on the great forests and trees of the Smokies,
elsewhere in the southern Apps. Will did marvelously
only a few hours before he had been in the top of the
Tecumseh Tree as
the latter swayed to and fro in a passing snow squall.
Thanks to Will's
and Ed's climb, we taped the great tree's height to
160.1 feet. Given
that the tree has always been a doozy to measure, we are
punch. All four of Will's climbs have been of trees that
Jack Sobon and
I originally measure with a transit. Finally, the Tree
Amigos made a
presentation on great forests and trees of
Massachusetts. Yours truly
acted as the mouthpiece speaking for Susan Benoit, Lisa
Tillinghast (ladies first), John Knuerr, Gary Beluzo,
Howard Stoner, and
Burl-belly. However, I got wound up and couldn't get
stopped. Before I
knew it, the clock read 5 minutes of 10:00PM. The
supposed to end at 9:30PM. Fortunately for me, gary
didn't have one of
those hooks such as was used on the old Gong Show.
We'll now begin work on the second of
the series, which will be held
in the spring. Early April will likely be the time. Gary
and I will be
talking today about the agenda, but it will be focused
on management and
With respect to Saturday's new
additions to the 150 Club in Mohawk,
I'm now chomping at the bits to see if John, Gary,
Howard, and I can add
one more before the snow flies. As good luck, I plan to
Black Mountain, NC the morning before measuring and bow
Yeah, I know. Bad!
The trip to Claremont on Sunday
is still fresh on my mind. Great
place! The density of 150-footers there is definitely an
to be settled. There is no doubt that the density of
any other New England site. Averaging between 160 and
190 years of age,
the trees at Claremont are older than those at Mohawk.
trees are growing considerably faster and in Will's eyes
will catch up
to Claremont in 10 to 15 years. I can live with that.
Robert T. Leverett
Cofounder, Eastern Native Tree Society
Native Tree Society
Evening (6:30-9:30 pm)
Bear Man Commeth":
Dr. Lynn Rogers is no ordinary wildlife
biologist. He is to black bear research as Dr. Jane Goodall is to
chimpanzees. In fact Drs. Goodall and Rogers know one another. Dr.
Rogers is no stranger to Massachusetts nor to Holyoke Community
College . But what is new in black bear research? Join Lynn Rogers
and Robert Leverett as Bob interviews Lynn to reveal interesting
new facts, the direction of black bear research, and the outlook
for the black bear throughout its range. Learn the answers to
these and other fascination questions about those wonderful, but
much maligned and misunderstood black bears.
England 's Forested Past:
What were the original forests of New England like? Were the same
species that we see today the dominant ones in the pre-settlement
period. What species have dropped out? Which ones have colonized
in recent centuries? How did Native Americans impact the
landscape? What was the role of species like white pine in
colonial New England ? What changes have taken place in our
forests? These and many other fascinating questions will be
answered by Dr. Charles Cogbill , one of New
England 's most knowledgeable forest ecologists. Join us as Dr.
Cogbill explores the forests of New England present and past.
Growth Forests – Fact or Myth:
We frequently hear the term old growth in terms of the forests of
the Pacific Northwest and the tropical Rain Forests. But exactly
what are old growth forests? How do they become old growth? Are
they immutable or will they change in the coming
decades/centuries? Are they all the same? Join Dr.
Lee Frelich , Director of The Center for Hardwood
Ecology, University of Minnesota , as he takes us through the old
growth morass. Dr. Frelich is one of the East's premier old growth
forest ecologists and has spent years decoding the mysteries of
how these forest ecosystems work. Come learn the answers. Fact is
more fascinating than fiction.
Old Growth Surprises:
Two decades ago, the perception of most experts was that
Massachusetts had no old growth forests, but researchers have
turned that notion on its head. Massachusetts has some remarkable
areas of old growth and they are being systematically studied by
forest ecologists such as Dr. David Orwig . Join
Dr. Orwig as he presents his current research into the old growth
forests of two disparate, but equally fascinating places – Mount
Wachusett in central Mass and Mount Everett in southwestern Mass.
This is your opportunity to separate fact from fiction and to hear
where old growth research in Massachusetts is going.
Evening (6:30-9:30 pm)
Valley: Where the Giants Dwell:
Zoar Valley is the hidden jewel of western New York state, a 1,400
acre-virigin canyon forest that amazingly escaped official notice
until the late 1990's. How did this happen? Join Dr.
Thomas Diggins from Youngstown State University as he
discusses the ecological and historical importance of one of the
Northeast's last surviving primeval forests and surveys its
ancient forests and tall trees. Learn of threats to this
jewel and what's being done to save it.
Forests I Have Known:
is an eastern legend. This Co-founder and President of the
Eastern Native Tree Society and former scientist with the Great
Smoky Mountains National Park now runs an arborist service in
Black Mountain, North Carolina. But in his spare time he
climbs the tallest trees in the eastern United States, including
the great white pines of Mohawk Trail State Forest in MA.
Join Will for a memorable slideshow of his most interesting climbs
and his photographic documentations of the eastern United States
remaining great forests.
Hidden Jewels of Massachusetts:
Who says Massachusetts doesn't have big trees and charismatic
forests? Join Adjunct Professor and ENTS Excecutive
Director Robert Leverett, HCC Professor Gary Beluzo, and
Photographer John Knuerr in a memorable tour of the great
forests and trees of Massachusetts. Learn of historic Bay
State trees that have stood for centuries and New England's
premier lofty forest, the Mohawk Trail State Forest. You
will never think of Massachusetts woodlands in the same way again.
Don't miss this opportunity to glimpse the great Massachusetts
forests of the past that are still with us today.