Diversity Index   Dec. 21, 2007
  Edward Frank

TOPIC: Diversity Index

== 1 of 3 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 21 2007 7:16 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


A couple of years ago, I discussed breifly with Cloby Rucker off-list some ideas about a diversity index. Basically, it would be a simple listing of the number of different species of trees and shrubs found on a particular site, along with an estimated acreage for the site. This does not require any equipment aside from some identification books to take with you in the field. For those you can't identify, leaf/flower/seed samples could be brought home for further work with online resources. In the listing they could be listed as unknown shrub 01, unknown shrub 02, etc.

I would exclude woody vines, because there are numerous vine types, and identifying most of them is difficult, with few fieldbooks that cover them adequately. It is better to not include them, that to throw a sabot into the process before it is started.

The listings would list each species found by common name, scientific name, and acreage of the site. The basic index would include only native species and would be notated as DIn, Diversity Index native, a listing of all species including invasives, non-native, and naturalized trees and shrubs could also be made and would be denoted as DIc, Diversity Index complete or comprehensive. Ths is somthing anyone can do without electronic equipment.

Other ways you can contribute:

I know that many of you are may not be as obsessed with volme measurements as Bobby L. and some of the other members are at the momment. James parton has posted a series of posts on Celtic Myths relating to trees. Other efforts along those lines, poetry, and discussion of a lighter nature are welcome on the list and I encourage people to post things of interest to them. Talk about the aesthtics of the forest, the emotional, or spiritual nature of your forest walks. If there is an old tree in your home town, research the history associated with the tree. Interview people who have grown up with the tree. Maybe it held a childs swing. There are human atachments to certain trees that would be interesting oral histories to document. Are there old postcards or photos that showed a particular tree 50 years ago, or a hundred years ago -how has it changedover time? Write about things that interest you about trees or forests.

One of the important things that we as members of ENTS can do is to provided detailed descriptions of the sites we visit. This can include listings of the species we find, including trees, shrubs, ferns, moss,animals, birds whatever you find to the best of your ability to identify them. Descriptions of the lay of the land. Streams, structure of the forest, age of the tree, what species are in the understory. If we are to document these sites well, we should not limit ourselves to the heights of the tallest trees only. Most of the site descriptions can also be completed without the electronic instrumentation, so this is another avenue for people to get started and make a worthwhile contribution to ENTS even of they are not doing detailed height and volume measurements.

Another option for people who want to measure something is the Rucker Girth Index. This would be the numeric average of the fattest individual of each of the ten fattest species in the site. The RGI is explained in more detail in the measurement section of the website. The Rucker Girth Index is not limited to ten species, but can be expanded to as manby different species as can be measured. it is certainly a worthwhile goal to pursue and all it requires is a $10 tape from a hardware store..

Colby Rucker produced a series of profiles listing the heights of every species found on several sites in Maryland and nearby states. The common Rucker Index refered to in many posts is essentially just a foreshortened version of this expanded species profile for a site.

These are just some thoughts to get people started on projects and to becomming more involved with ENTS.

Ed Frank

(I am trying to remember to delete old posts from my replies and be conscious of changes of topics)

== 2 of 3 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 21 2007 8:08 pm
From: Steve G


A diversity index is a great idea--I imagine the farther west and/or
north, or the more xeric the habitat, the fewer the species of woody
plants--but perhaps offset by more diversity in herbaceous species,
especially in grasses and sedges.


== 3 of 3 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 21 2007 9:30 pm
From: James Parton


I intend to do more posts on Celtic Myths & would really be interested
in hearing some of the ones Bob Leverett surely knows. I would love to
see more variety on ENTS. I have nothing against forestry discussions
& tree measuring ( I hope to get more into that myself ) but would
love to see ENTS members become more " intimate " with trees. Yes, I
love the field reports too. Whether very basic or quite technical. It
enables all of us to see somewhere we may have never been. Will has
had some outstanding ones. His Cataloochee ones are always greatly
anticipated by me. I currently am awaiting a post of importance from
him concerning our Kellogg excursion. Your Cook Forest ones I like
too. Hopefully I will get to visit the Black River or Congaree in the
upcoming year & do a post on those. I have always enjoyed trees &
forests. Through ENTS I can share it & with a little luck contribute a
little knowledge about a specific forest/tree as well.

James Parton.

TOPIC: Diversity Index

== 1 of 6 ==
Date: Sat, Dec 22 2007 5:15 am
From: dbhguru

With respect to the forestry stuff, it is time for a couple of us in ENTS to switch directions. On reflection, our recent deluge of criticisms over poor forest policy and practices in New England and incompetence on the part of the Mass Bureau of Forestry read like a misdirected soap opera - though with strong elements of truth. We could write a play, but as Ed Frank once pointed out, ENTS isn't the Massachusetts Forestry Bitching Association. Other forums can be designed to fit that need far better. With respect to our forum, you've caught the true spirit of ENTS. ENTS is about tree and woodland celebratory activities. We fill niches, do basic tree research, and document exemplary forested sites and we are supposed to sing the praises of trees in folklore, legend, and myth. Let it be so.
The American sycamore is the Cherokee tree of legend. Presumably fire was given to the Cherokees from a flame in the hollow bole of a sycamore.

== 2 of 6 ==
Date: Sat, Dec 22 2007 8:36 am
From: James Parton


Well said. It's not that I am complaining about ENTS. I really enjoy
being a member & enjoy participating in the discussion forum. It is
just that diversity would add so much. It would send ENTS from great
to AWESOME! ( I hope Ed don't get me for shouting! LoL ). I have so
much I would like to do with ENTS. Folklore/Legends, Tree Measuring,
Forest Conservation, etc. To contribute any way I can. People like
yourself, Ed, Jess Riddle, Larry Tucei & of course Will Blozan have
done so much for ENTS. Will's Tsuga Search Project and Vanishing
Hemlock Documentary ( I still gotta donate to his cause on that. The
Holidays have bout broke me! ) and Larry's Live Oak Project are both
outstanding ENTS projects. How can I hope to run in such elite
company? I plan to join the Asheville chapter of TACF also & can
serve as a rep or intermediary between them & ENTS. Anyway, I will
quit babbling.....

James Parton.

== 3 of 6 ==
Date: Sat, Dec 22 2007 10:28 am
From: Larry


Awesome idea, there is so much diversity in
the Forest what better way to enjoy every aspect of it and your
experiences in it! Just when I think I know a lot I begin to see I
really no nothing at all. Again my thanks to all of you at ENTS for
all the inspiration and knowledge gained. It is a real pleasure to be
part of this Elite and wonderful Society, Thanks for everything you
guys and gals do! 


== 4 of 6 ==
Date: Sat, Dec 22 2007 1:47 pm
From: dbhguru


Excellent summary of how individuals can contribute along the lines of their primary interests. I especially like the native diversity index DIN. This index, along with the RHI and RGI form the basis for a very useful site description. Add to the foregoing a good general site description and we have the makings of another ENTS book, a guidebook to noteworthy sites ala ENTS style.

The volume modeling is not a subject that I've ever expected many Ents to do themselves. Far too much mathematics is involved. However, Ents can take measurements of special trees at a site using instructions provided by one of the modeling whizzes. A very big tree modeled on a site would add significantly to a site description were we ever to put an ENTS site guidebook together.

The operative idea as captured in your e-mail is to expand the variety of subject matter.


== 5 of 6 ==
Date: Sat, Dec 22 2007 7:49 pm
From: "Edward Frank"

Bob, ENTS,

One reason I wanted to limit the diversity numbers to trees and shrubs is that these in many ways represent the core of what is a forest. The herb species, mosses and lichens, grasses, woody vines, and everything else contribute to the complete system, but are not what makes a forest a forest in my mind. If these all were included in the diversity index, the large numbers of species they could contribute to the index would overwhelm the relatively smaller numbers of species represented by the trees and shrubs. That is not waht I want the DIn to characterize. I want it to look at the diversity of trees and shrubs in a forest.

Another idea to add would be in the description of the site, it would be useful to note what species and their relative percentages that appear in the canopy, the midstory, and understory of the woods. This is jjust a suggestion of what would be worthwhile to note.


== 6 of 6 ==
Date: Sat, Dec 22 2007 9:41 pm
From: dbhguru


As we move up the sophistication scale relative abundance is a logical inclusion. At the simple end, mere existence is sufficient. I really like the way we are building on the index theme.


TOPIC: Diversity Index
== 1 of 8 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 23 2007 6:15 am
From: "Will Blozan"


Not to downplay the role of herbs and what they say about a site, but trees
and shrubs can be identified in the winter whereas most herbs are seasonal.


== 2 of 8 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 23 2007 6:51 am
From: "Edward Frank"


Excellent Point!.  (Perhaps you and others can identify trees and shrubs in the winter, I have a hard time identifying them in the summer with the leaves on them...)


== 3 of 8 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 23 2007 1:34 pm


Has an index been done for the sites Susan and I tagged at Mohawk? If not, I'd be happy to do this.


== 4 of 8 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 23 2007 2:31 pm
From: dbhguru@comcast.net


No, we haven't done it on a site by site basis. It would be good if the three of us could get together and discuss how to take our work to the next level. 


== 5 of 8 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 23 2007 3:58 pm


That would be great. We've tagged around 650 trees and it would be good to have a conversation about what the next step should be. Doing a species list for these sites could be easily done- among the woody species there is not much diversity and the understory is similar in many places.

Take care,

== 6 of 8 ==
Date: Sun, Dec 23 2007 6:25 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


I want to submit a series of DIn values for the Allegheny River Islands Wilderness, PA

ARIW DIn = 26 368 acres Rucker Index = 114.27

Crull Island DIn = 11 96 acres Rucker Index = 104.07
Thompson Island DIn = 19 67 acres Rucker Index = 105.33
R. Thompson Isl. DIn = 07 30 acres
Stewards Island DIn = 10 ~50 acres
Fuelhart Island DIn = 4 ~25 acres
Courson Island DIn = 13 62 acres Rucker Index = 92.1
King Island DIn = 10 36 acres
Baker Island DIn = 13 67 acres

Neither Stewards Island or Fuelhart Island are part of the wilderness. Stewards is owned by the US Forest Service. Fuelhart is privately owned and we did not land on the island. but simply noted the presence of a few species as we passed.

The Crull Island RI and DIn was by D. Luthringer 09/07/2004
The other Rucker Indexes and DI are by D. Luthringer, A. Kelly, and E. Frank, 09/02-05.2007.

These are preliminary DIn and RI as several of the islands were only briefly visited, and No Name Island was not visited as part of the trip. I am sure the species counts for most of the islands will increase with further exploration.


Ed Frank