Re: Measurements vs Interpretations   lef
  Nov 30, 2003 14:45 PST 


Good points. We will have to find some way of expressing the Rucker index
on a per area basis so that we know how to compare forest with different
acreage. That's a tough one to figure out, and we will see if anyone solves
the problem.

I have been puzzled by the reaction of some academics upon hearing that
they have been measuring trees the wrong way and inaccurately for years. It
is traditional for people at universities to try everything that is new and
compare it to the old before rejecting anything. Yet, for some you get that
flat refusal to believe, at least until I tell them I use the ENTS method,
and then they suddenly start to take it seriously. Maybe people in academia
hear so many crackpot ideas all the time that they just put ENTS in the
same category, because if they gave serious consideration to everything
that came along they would never get anything else done. Therefore,
something that will make ENTS tree measuring stand out against the
background is probably necessary. I should say that some academics
immediately see the benefits of measuring the ENTS way and start using it
right away.

Regarding my Ph.D., I haven't been able to find the diploma since I moved
to MN 15 years ago. Now that I am renovating my condo I will have to go
through a lot of old stuff and maybe I will come across it. No one has ever
asked to see it, not even the University of MN when they hired me. I guess
that means a Ph.D. is more than a piece of fake sheepskin with the fake
(i.e. printed) signature of the university president on it.

RE: Measurements vs Interpretations
  Dec 01, 2003 04:41 PST 

Lee, Dale, et al:

   The resistance to accepting sine-based calculations over tangent-based ones is understandable as a first impulse. But as one begins thinking in terms of equipment limitations (clinometers only measure angles), tree shape, and the basic trigonometry involved, one is inevitably pointed in the direction of rangefinders and angle-measurers. Once into the groove, the logic becomes inescapable. It is all in taking that first step.

    For us, reaching potential allies requires the application of more than a modicum of human psychology. I've survived in enough different kinds of human hierarchies over the years including the military, other government agencies, business, and academia to fully comprehend the dynamics. I often act surprised at people's reactions, but that's all show. Still, on occasion, I get exasperated when someone with the education steadfastly refused to acknowledge a high school-level argument, trying to remain aloof through the illusory cloak of protection that one's profession presumably imparts. With all present company accepted, forestry has been particularly vulnerable to its own professional hype - but on thinking about it, I suppose medicine has been no less so. Then there is the gulf between branches of physics, cosmologists versus quantum physicists. Different schools of economics have finally emerged and are pitted against one another. So maybe forestry isn't the exception, but the rule. I guess it is more in where the challenge comes from. External challenges are the most threatening. What? How did they arrive at such an outrageous conclusion? They're not even part of our profession. Guess we really haven't evolved so far from those early days on the savannas. Physical or intellectual territory - still territory.

RE: Measurements vs Interpretations
  Nov 30, 2003 18:53 PST 

Lee, Bob,

I have found similar resistance, but it is understandable when one
presents the ENTS method with only a bachelors in ecology. What is
promising though are the few in research community that have adopted the

I recently had some research scientists from the Allegheny National
Forest stop by to 'calibrate' their lasers to the Longfellow Pine. One
of their main researchers (over 20+ years experience) attended the 1997
and 2002 ENTS events at Cook Forest... something must have rubbed off on
the young pups.

Territorial Tree Measurement Imperative and Random Ape Calls:   Robert Leverett
  Dec 01, 2003 13:39 PST 

      Management is part of John Knuerr's and my academic and
professional backgrounds. As a consequence, we are often involved in
evaluating human responses to different organizational structures,
leadership models, and group dynamic theories John more than me. From
our common interest in organizational dynamics, we frequently discuss
organizational hierarchical structures and what drives them. I admit to
holding the more simplistic views. John is erudite and artfully argues
his case. In addition, John's thinking is up to date while mine is
steeped in a military past. Interestingly, we often arrive at the same
conclusions. So maybe something very fundamental to human nature is at
work. Okay, but how does all this relate to trees, measuring trees, and
ENTS? We thought you'd never ask.

      The broad role of ENTS is to further public interest in trees in
ways that lead to their appreciation and preservation of important big
tree sites and the furtherance of science in the little explored
pathways of maximum species development. Why the particular science
focus? Several reasons. A big one is that it interests Lee Frelich for
reasons he can explain much better than I. For another, it has potential
to help us avoid getting hoodwinked by commercial tree geneticists,
working for large timber companies, into accepting that they know what
is best for the trees. A third reason is that we don't want to lose the
wildness in native species nor see them degenerate., but short of
species extirpation, how do we know when a species is going down hill?

      To fulfill our ENTS mission, we must interact with the professions
that have interests in trees. We represent some of those interests
directly, such as those in the field of forest ecology. In other cases
we synthesize from somewhat disparate interests and points of view to
form an ENTS perspective. But since individual Ents usually represent
different tree-focused professions, how well we accomplish our
objectives depends in part on our recognition of the human hierarchies
involved in and among the separate professions and working within them,
which harkens back to the kinds of things John and I discuss about
organizations, hierarchy, dynamics, and the like.

     What is important for us in ENTS to keep in mind at the big
picture level is that different groups/professions have carved out (or
so they've thought) areas of tree knowledge/expertise as fruit forbidden
to all but themselves. I maintain that this parsing of intellectual
territory is a manifestation and outgrowth of our species physical
territorial imperative as anthropologist Robert Ardry once defined it.
So when a profession that originally staked out tree measuring as within
its professional province gets challenged, the fur is apt to fly. It’s a
case of a new wolf pack moving into a territory held by an established
pack. Thinking about it along territorial lines, resistance to even
simple changes shouldn't surprise us. The resistance is a manifestation
of how strong the drive to protect territory, intellectual or
geographical, is no matter how seemingly trivial a challenge may be.
But if we’re finally gaining acceptance, the bigger question is how do
we speed the process of winning more converts, which probably requires
influencing open-minded academics.

       Our number one resource in the upper echelons of academia is,
obviously, Dr. Lee Frelich. His reputation is well established. If he
promotes the ENTS methods, then they immediately gain a higher level of
respectibility. Other Ents, such as comrade Dale, stranded in western
PA, can then even the playing field by making full use the expanding
ENTS umbrella. Dale can look at his pompous detractors with steely eyes
and remind them that if they don’t accept Lee Frelich’s full academic
endorsement of ENTS methods, he's got Will Blozan just waiting in
reserve. He can remind them that the measuring issue can be put to test
in a hurry by looking directly inside the horses mouth. He can tell
them , “we'll climb the freaking tree and settle the issue forthwith.”
But first, he’ll tell them that: “Each side must take measurements by
its preferred method and give them to a member of the press to hold on
to in confidence. Afterwards, the results get published and the loser
must eat humble pie”. Dale carries a big stick. Measuring individual
trees is not exclusively ENTS territory, but within the East, we ARE
presently the alpha males and females. Hey, folks, come to think of it,
maybe this IS about territory and we Ents can't help it. It's in our

     Are there more elegant and insightful explanations to our
individual and collective behaviors in our pursuits of tree awareness?
Is it all intellectual window dressing to cover primitive instincts? Is
it Freudian? Well, I think I just passed beyond the limits of my
military training. I must pass the talking stick to my friend, fellow
Tree Amigo, and environmental ethics adjunct professor John Knuerr. Lay
some heavy thoughts on us, Brother John. What really motivates the chest
beating and ape calls? Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.


Robert T. Leverett
Cofounder, Eastern Native Tree Society
RE: Territorial Tree Measurement Imperative and Random Ape Calls:
  Dec 01, 2003 18:48 PST 


Sounds like you just finished an "artillery sermon".

Being able to call in the heavy hitters (Lee, Willy B., Bruce, yourself,
and the other highly distinguished on this list) from time to time adds
a huge degree of reliability and credibility when its needed.

The Eastern Native Tree Society is a massive repository of probably
centuries of combined experience, no disrespect intended, from a number
of different scientific fields. It is truely a great honor to even be a
small part of these discussions from time to time, albeit from a
temporarily "stranded" member in Western PA.