Big Tree Potential,  Going about the business of ENTS   Robert Leverett
  Sep 13, 2004 05:57 PDT 

I am finally getting back into the high-energy measuring frame of
mind. The Norway spruce on Saturday did it as well as John Eichholtz's
recent hop hornbeam.

With Mohawk measured 10 ways to Sunday, it is time for me to give some
attention to other sites. I'm hoping to get in some measuring over in
the Catskills this weekend. The opportunities are endless, although the
sides of the eastern Catskills are so steep, that one can limit one's
area of searching to the toe slopes and be confident of not short
changing the region.

One thing that I've learned is that it takes about 100 years to
regrow a stately forest in southern Massachusetts and adjacent New York.
If we can find areas with good growing conditions that have an abundance
of trees in the 100 to 150-year age bracket, we can find plenty of new
tall tree candidates. Trees in that age range are fairly common in some
state and city parks and long road and stream corridors. Like Tom
Diggins says, "So many trees, so little time." BTW, I wonder how Tom is
doing out Ohio way. We haven't heard from him in a long time.

   Ed's continued work on our website, a resurgence in measuring energy
(Will, Jess, John, me, etc.), Will's superb manual on measuring, the
upcoming ENTS rendezvous in October, and various and sundry internet
discussions signals what may be a period of vigorous fall activity for
ENTS. That's good. But at the risk of ending on a slightly down theme, I
hope our stellar performers can let go worrying about making
contributions to the champion tree lists. It takes only one trip around
the internet to see where the action, expertise, and future is.

Re: Going about the business of ENTS   Neil Pederson
  Sep 13, 2004 06:27 PDT 

Hi Bob, ENTS,

NY State should be filled with forests 100-150 years old. The
completion of the Erie Canal in the 1820s put marginal farms out of
business [well, I'm not telling New Englanders anything new]. In a
paper on the land-use history of the Cary Arboretum in the Hudson
Valley, Jeff Glitzenstein discussed a second wave of agricultural
abandonment in the 1880s. Finally, the creation of the Adirondack and
Catskill State Parks starting in the 1890s put a lot of land out of
reach. further, as Barbara McMartin noted about the Adirondacks, many
of these lands only had the conifers removed. Hardwood logging was
not as important. So, many of the hardwood forests could be in a old
stage of development.

Even though the lower Hudson Valley has been settled and utilized
for 300 to almost 400 years, I was able to find a 180 year old white
oak in Harriman State Park a stones throw from an iron furnace. I
cored it to get a look at the fire scar [it had a fire scar ~15 ft up
its bole]. It was a small tree and yet dated to the early 1800s. That
opened my mind to the possibility that despite centuries of extensive
land-use in this region, there are many older trees and possibly
forests out there.

Having said that, I've visited 1 wildlife management area and heard
about a second in NY where it appears the forests are viewed like a

NY is a large state with a high mount of tree diversity. Small parts
of it rival the Monongahela and other southern Appalachian forests
according to an analysis of tree diversity by Louis Iverson
[Research Landscape Ecologist, USDA Forest Service] based on E.
Little's maps.

And yet, it has not been nearly as explored as MA, VT, NH etc. There
is so much to explore and learn!


RE: Going about the business of ENTS   Robert Leverett
  Sep 13, 2004 07:45 PDT 


   Good points. New York holds endless possibilities. I admit that the
sheer size of the state is intimidating to me, but the possibilities are
unquestionably there. Between places like Zoar Valley, Allegany State
Park, and the Catskill and Adirondack Preserves, there's enough
promising big tree territory in NY to keep all of ENTS occupied for a

      Where do you fit Pennsylvania into the grand scheme of unexplored
big tree potential? I'm sure Dale Luthringer has thoughts on how much
untapped potential is left in PA. Dale?

   When I think of the southern Appalachians, my eyes literally cross. If I feel
overwhelmed, I wonder how Will must feel? We haven't even begun. I
didn't use to think that way, then Michael Davie came up with that
incredible pignut hickory. There it was in a place that we would
routinely just pass by.

   Then there is West Virginia, which must have its share of at least
small remnants and no doubt plenty of isolated big trees. Russ
Richardson is down there all by his lonesome and he keeps telling us of
the potential. The tuliptree growth rates are enough to get us all
salivating. As a native New Englander, Russ knows what grows up here and
by his West Virginia standards, it's pretty tame stuff. So we know there
is plenty to document down there.

   Like Tom says: so many trees, so little time.

RE: Going about the business of ENTS
  Sep 14, 2004 17:55 PDT 


I think Eastern Pennsylvania, has the greatest potential for more
big/tall tree finds. ENTS has only hit Fairmont Park 2x and it's
already pushing 130 on the Rucker Index.

The Delaware Water Gap is large site with many possibilities. I'm just
itching to get over there.

The Pine Creek Valley (Pennsylvania Grand Canyon) is another treasure
trove of virtually unexplored areas. Upper Pine Bottom State Park is a
tributary to Pine Creek. I only spent about a 1/2 hour there, and found
3 species that easily made it to the 120ft class. I'd put money that
there may be a mid to upper 120's RI site in that watershed somewhere.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Ricketts Glen to scour the rest of the main upper
waterfall section. I'm thinking about hitting the Hemlocks Natural Area
on Thursday... not sure if I can swing it though.

I'm going to have to put myself on remedial trip reporting duty here in
the near future. I've been able to stop at a number of new sites
lately, but just haven't taken the time to give everyone an update:
Lower Jerry Run Natural Area, Allegheny River Island Wilderness Area,
Cook Forest & Clear Creek State Park big/tall tree updates. Future trip
reports pending...