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Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

From The Viewpoint Of A Forester

In this discussion I will attempt to comment from the viewpoint of a forester on some of the photographs of the members. I will attempt to relate some of the natural environment issues and management challenges that might be encountered.

Please feel free to ask questions. Hopefully we can all gain a better understanding of our surroundings and perhaps suggest new photo opportunities or inspire new art creations in the process.

Have fun!

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Thank you! What a great idea. My bf was a forester for a while and he tells me fascinating things. Does it only have to be photography? Many of us paint trees also

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

The images do not have to be photographs as long as they are within the group guidelines. There are some marvelous paintings in the group, already. I posted another discussion, http://fineartamerica.com/groups/from-the-viewpoint-of-a-forester.html?showmessage=true&messageid=588541, which I hope clarifies what I am using as a criteria for accepting artwork into the group; however, unless the painting represents an actual place, it might be a little more difficult to comment from a forester's viewpoint.

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Yellowstone National Park is very unique in that it is one of largest natural stands of lodgepole pine. Lodgepole Pine is a fire climax species, meaning that it is one of the first to regenerate after a fire and is dependent on fire to maintain its dominance. The cones of lodgepole pine are seratinous, or wax-coated, and will open only when heated by fire, at which time they are dispersed with explosive force. Lodgepole pine tends to grow at higher elevations and is very tolerant of the severe weather conditions in Yellowstone. But since the pines typically grow in very thick even aged stands, they will stagnate and start dying. At that time other species, such as the true firs will start to invade and gain dominance, unless there is another fire.

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The stand seen in this photograph is a documentary of at least three fires. The large pine in the foreground is a fire survivor and the seed from that tree, and other large trees in the area, reproduced the younger trees that dominate. You can see that the smallery trees are all the same size. You could count the rings, or even the whorls of branches, on those trees to estimate when that earlier fire burned. If you were to take a diameter core of the large tree, you would see the evidence of fire damage during that time period. Without having researched that earlier fire, I would estimate that it was approximately sixty years ago.

Most of you are aware of the devasting fire that burned through Yellowstone in 1988. Those fires did not burn this area, partly at least because of the presence of the river, which would have had a moderating effect on the weather patterns that were condusive in creating the firestorm elsewhere in the park.

Your feedback and questions are encouraged.

 

That was fascinating. I did not realise how easy it would be to date the fire. Obvious when you look at it.

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

That is pretty neat that the cones need fire to open. Kind of mitigates the sad feeling when there is a fire. I have a vague memory from Jr. High about some pines in Florida whose cones open the same way. They have a lot of controlled burns around here (Gainesville/Ocala area) to manage the forest and I guess to help prevent more massive, uncontrollable fires. Charles, is that a new forest management technique? And can you comment on how forestry has changed in the past 50 or so years?

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

The controlled burns are part of the re-thinking of forest management practices. The Native Americans in this country used controlled burns to manage the forests and make them more productive. We began the practice of trying to preserve the forests by allowing the stands to grow using the philosophy that all fires were bad. We have recently "learned" that the most devasting fires have been in the dense stands of trees, with dead or dying trees in the understory, dead wood on the ground, and dense underbrush. These factors provide lots of fuel for the fire producing a very hot rapidly burning fire. which quickly reaches the crown of the trees.

The controlled burns reduce the amount of vegetation on the ground, reducing the likelihood of a very hot fire. A healthy vigourous tree can withstand a fire and continue growing. This is what happened in my example of the tall surviving tree in previous post. A very hot fire, which had "crowned" would have destroyed this tree.

Before the controlled burns, which you descrbe in Florida, the stands are typicaly thinned. This opens up the stand to light, so that the growth conditions are optimised for the remaining trees. It also opens up the stand to enable the growth of herbs and vegetation that benefits wildlife. If you watch one of these stands after the "burn" you will be amazed at how quickly the wildlife moves back in.

How has forestry changed over 50 years? The thinking has evolved dramatically. We have 50 years of mistakes. We went from clear cut and get out to maybe we should replant and preserve to what we are saying today that management is good. I can speak more to this later.

 

Carla Parris

2 Years Ago

Are there other trees whose seeds need fire like the lodgepole pines? Seems like I heard something similar when we saw the big redwoods in Yosemite.

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Yes, there are other species of trees, which have a serotinous cones and tend to be dependent on fire for the cones to open and disperse seed. The giant redwood, Sequoia gigantea, in the Yosemite and Kings Canyon area has serotinous cones needing fire, while the coast redwood, Sequoia sempervirens, generally does not.

The two-needle pines, often referred to as "jack pines," tend to be serotinous. The common species are the Jack pine, Pinus banksiana, in the Northeastern United States, Bishop pine, Pinus municata, on the California coast, especially in Humboldt County, and Lodgepole pine, Pinus contorta. Scotch pine or Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris, is a two-needle pine, however, it is usuallly not serotinous.

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

The lodgepole pine forest is reborn along the Firehole River following the 1988 fire. The dense stand of young trees on the hilliside on the right grew back following that fire. You can see a few white snags among the trees at the top of the hill. These are trees that were burned during the fire, and would have been the seed source for the new stand. They were most likely the same age as those along the right bank of the Yellowstone River in first example. I think that at least one of the trees on the near bank of the Firehole River in this example are the same age as the tall tree on the banks of the Yellowstone River in the first example. The tree in the lower left corner is a silver fir, which typically grows at the higher elevations. If there had not fires in the area, it is quite likely that the silver firs would have become more dominate as the lodgepole pine died out.

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Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us, Charles. It gives everything more depth and meaning when we understand the back story. I said this in my comment, but I'll say it again here. This makes me want to get back out into nature again.

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

I had another thought as I read the above posts, but it flitted away briefly and I didn't include it in my first reply. On the forest's swift recovery after a fire, clearcut, or other trauma: I've always been amazed at how quickly Mother Nature rebuilds, and how many resources are used. I used to walk a lot in the forests of Western Washington, and was amazed at all the decay, and the new life growing up from that. A fallen tree rots apart pretty quickly in that area, but just as quickly as it disappears, so many forms of new life spring up from it. Moss, fungus, ferns, and finally baby trees. I remember the ranger talks when I lived near Muir Woods (coastal redwood stand very near San Francisco) and I think they said most of the new trees grow from the fallen ones rather than from seedlings.
I did a BFA project on natural rebirth/recovery, aka "nature taking back" after human disturbance. There is so much evidence of this all around us, even in urban environments. I photographed new growth around old machinery, cut and burned and dug out areas, abandoned construction, fences, signs, you name it. I still love capturing those kind of shots.

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Yes, it really is amazing. I use to work in the Willapa Hills north and west of Longview, Washington. The area could almost be classified as a temperate rainforest. On several occassions I remember seeing huge rotting stumps often as tall as ten feet. On top of the stump there was a hemlock tree. The roots ran down the side of the stumps to the ground. It was quite amazing to see such a vivid example of the rebirth of a forest and the ecosystem that it creates. Unfortunately, I do no have any photographs that show that.

Thank you for sharing, Kathi

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

It's certainly a pleasure to talk about trees and learn something at the same time, Charles. I have seen some odd things in the woods but nothing like that. Yet...

 

Carla Parris

2 Years Ago

Thanks for your reply to my question, Charles. Glad to know I was remembering correctly about the giant redwoods in Yosemite needing fire. We appreciate you sharing your knowledge!

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Let's keep this disscussion going. I invite the members to copy one of your images into your post in this discussion and I will attempt to give an analysis from the Viewpoint of a Forester. If you don't know how to do that you can simply click on your artwork and highlight the link on the right side of the page where it says "Image link" and hit Control-C on your computer to copy it. Then you can paste the code into your discussion post.

This is an image by Melissa Limoges. Encourage her to be a part of the discussion.

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Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Melissa says that her "Yellowstone" photo in the previous post"was taken towards the end of this past August {2010}. The area it was taken was along the East entrance of the park before you hit Yellowstone Lake. This region of Yellowstone is at a higher elevation, so that the lodgepole pine forests are replaced with Douglas fir trees, which require a little more precipitation.

The dead trees visible in the photograph were probably killed by a recent infestation of Spruce budworm. Spruce budworm has become quite a problem in the western forests, because of the once prevalent philosophy that forests should be allowed to grow in their natural state without intervention. If the trees had been thinned the outbreak would not have been so severe.

Many of the trees might have survived the intial infestation and would have had limited new growth in the spring. However, unless the dead or dying trees are completely removed, the stand will probably be wiped out.

 

Les Harrington

2 Years Ago

I find your discussions here of great interest and I can really relate, having planted close to 3,000,000 trees in the northwest during a 20 year period and with 10 years of logging along the Alaska coast. I might add to your list of the benefits of controlled burns that it enables the nitrogen fixing plants and trees, such as huckleberry, blackberry, bigleaf maple and red alder to take root and prepare the soil for conifers.

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Thank you for that insight, Les. You are absolutely correct. Not only does it enable those plants to take root to prepare for the conifers, but it also enhances the cover for diverse game populations and promotes the growth of the forbes to provide feed for that game

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Kathi Shotwell initiated a request for a review of my Rainforest Bridge in the Adopt this Group discussion. I invite you to view my comments in that discusssion.

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Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

Thanks for joining in, Les. and WOW you have some amazing images! The wildlife is stupendous! I especially loved "Middle Earth"... and this one caught my eye as forest-y, too....

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Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Perhaps we can encourage Les to tell us something about the "Top of the World" from the viewpoint of a forester.

 

Les Harrington

2 Years Ago

I just uploaded and posted to the group images this photo of a Sitka Spruce in Alaska's Tongass National Forest which is pretty typical of the way much of the timber roots in this very wet (over 200 inches a year in places) environment.
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Les Harrington

2 Years Ago

I would be glad to comment on the photo, "Top of the World" as it is one of my all time favorite places and the hike up is fascinating in that in a 3000 foot elevation gain you go from temperate rain forest, composed of giant Sitka spruce, western hemlock and both red and yellow cedar and with very thick devil's club, skunk cabbage (of enormous size) and salmonberry and huckleberry, up to a pure alpine landscape. This photo was taken in the transitional area near the timberline. At this elevation (about 2,200 feet) winds of over 100 miles per hour and a winter snow pack of as much as 75 feet make for stunted and sturdy trees. The main species at this elevation are spruce and both mountain hemlock and western hemlock, although the mountain hemlock pretty much is dominant. The heavier, somewhat larger timber at the bottom of the photo provides cover for mountain goats during the heavy winter snows, although it also makes them vulnerable to wolf predation. The large flats on the island below (the proposed site of the "Bridge to Nowhere) are all pretty much muskeg and what trees are on them are composed of shore pine and scrubby yellow cedar. Every bit of this landscape is Everything in this landscape is the result of the incredible amount of rain and snow moisture in this largest of all temperate rain forests.

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

Thanks for your comments, Les. It sounds like quite a hike! I wandered around Ketchikan one afternoon. I think I am remembering the day/town correctly. I was on a cruise ship and we made several stops. Is there a bunch of sea planes in the harbor? Those fascinated me, and I remember a big hill/mountain behind the town. It was my favorite stop. I felt I could live there for a while quite happily. ...Bridge to Nowhere... I have heard that term somewhere. They want to build a bridge over to that little island? For what I wonder?

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

Charles, Les's stump-roots picture seems to illustrate what you remembered seeing in your post about 12 posts up from this. Really neat!

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

I am thinking I might go for a walk in my landlord's woods tomorrow. The temps will be way down in the 40's so the skeeters and snakes should be asleep. I have had this problem recently, a fear of going outside alone.... with some basis, but I want to overcome it... it hampers my photography. Now that I've stated my plan here, I will be more likely to follow through with it. Hopefully will bring back some forest-y captures. And no ticks, LOL.

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Yes, Kathi, Les' example of the stunp tree is exactly the relationship which I described earlier. The forest ecosystem is an awesome dynamic work in progress. Everything places a part, whether living or dead. One part of the intriget puzzle cannot survive without the other peices.

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

Well, I did go out last Sunday and I found the oddest things. A single log all covered with shelf fungus, but no others around it had the fungus. A car that was buried in the woods, and bones that were not. I learned a bit about the challenges we face when photographing within the forest. Deep shade requires longer exposure, especially if you want to use a small aperture. And if there is light, it is dappled, causing big exposure differences. It was a good afternoon out. The image below is my favorite forest-y image of the day. My overall favorite was a single tree crown so I'm not posting it in the group.

This image shows the Florida interior forest from across a clearing. I would call this unmanaged for the most part. There are so many plants all packed in together. I think that a fire in here would be pretty hard to control with all this undergrowth. With apologies to the plants, I now the inspiration for the invention of the machete. This land was recently acquired as a preservation/conservation zone as a wildlife corridor.
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Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Great observations, Kathi. For a forester viewpoint there is not much more that I can say. We'll make a "forester" out of you yet. Conservation, however, typically implies unmanaged, which as we observed at Yellowstone, especially as it relates to Melissa Limoges' photo, may not be good. I hope that those, who set it aside, would do some maintenance work, if not management.

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

Thanks Charles. I know little about Florida's interior ecology. Maybe I'll get around to taking a class here some day.

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

At the higher elevations of Yellowstone National Park Douglas Fir and the true firs replace the lodgepole pine forests. The firs typically grow in areas of higher precipation and can withstand sustained colder temperatures than the pine forests at the lower elevations around the geysers and hot springs. These high elevation forests have historically not been subject to the wildfires of the other areas of the park.

The tall tree in the foreground is a Silver Fir, exhibiting the beautiful symmetry of the true firs. The true firs are characterized by the rather course foliage with up-curved needles and large upright cones. The more common Douglas Fir is not a ture fir and is characterized by somewhat softer foliage with needles surrounding the stem and smaller pendant cones. The scientific name of Douglas Fir is Pseudotsuga sp. or "false hemlock" since the growth habit and the pendant cones more closely resemble the habit of the hemlocks or Tsuga sp.

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Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Another example of the high elevation forest would be found in my Wyoming Range photograph

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Here you can see the diifferent vegatation types that are found as you move up the slope to the higher elevations of the mountains in the background, begiinning with the grasslands, then brush such as sagebrush, then smaller scattered trees to the dense forest. You could almost map belts of dfferent precipitation amounts. I think that most of the trees are pine trees, but the forestry application is still the same.

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

The silver fir looks like her lower branches are missing on one side. Is that true or is it my eyes? And if so, why? The top photo is a stunning view -- a place I'd like to go. The bottom one less so, but I would like to go pick some of the sage brush. With your explanation I think I can see the levels of different types of vegetation. Fascinating!

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Kathi -

I hadn't noticed that the silver fir appears to have branches missing one side. But you are correct in that observation. If you follow the grassy "chute" down the hill, most of the trees that can be identified on the outside next to the grass are also silver fir. You will notice that they also tend to be one-sided.

I would guess that the grassy chute is the result of a landslide or avalanche that knocked out the trees along that pathway. Opening that pathway opened it up to downslope winds, that bent the branches toward the leeward side of the trees. If you look closely you will see that there are not many branches missing, but that they are deformed.

This would be similiar to the common occurence in your part of the country where the branches of the deciduous trees often seem to be blown in one direction.

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

Oh yes, I can see it now! That makes sense. I'll be looking for that kind of thing down here. I have noticed it in palm trees and Pacific coast ocean-side trees, but not in others. Thank you for explaining that!

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

My description of the cataclysmic geoplogic event that occured sometime in the past tells the origin of the forest in the Badlands supm area. It is said that this event happened millions of years ago. I don;t believe that it was that long ago, since I believe that the age of the earth itself is more like 10,0000 years old, but that is a different story.

The interesting thinf about this forest is that it appears as if the trees are Douglas fir. The trees are growing in an area of the South Dakota tall grass prairie, which was typically treeless. If you were to travel westward, you go into the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore region, where the hills, or mountains, are primarily forested with Ponderosa Pine.

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When I was going to college at Oregon State University, we were taught that there was a sub-species of Douglas fir that grew in the Black Hills that was different than that growing in the Pacific Northwest. During my recent trip to the Black Hills, I looked for some of these Douglas firs. I did not see any, since they would typically grow in areas of higher rainfall or elevation than the predominate Ponderosa Pine, I just may not have traveled to that elevation.

The interesting question is why would the Douglas fir be growing in the slump area of the badlands? It is lower in elevation, presumably with lower precipitation, and no apparent seed source. I do not have the answer. The brochures say that there is more than one such area within Badlands National Park.

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

Birds? Volcanic cloud? I guess we'll never know for sure, will we.

Fascinating!

Kathi

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

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Tell Michael how much you love his photograph. This is an interesting photograph with another strory to tell. What do you see "from the viewpoint of a forester?"

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

A dynamic story of life - Tell Lorraine how much you love her photo. What story can be told?

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Christine Till

2 Years Ago


That's a very interesting thread to read.

I love forests and I come around a lot. On my travels I often see mountain after mountain where all the tries are either dead or in the process of dying.
I wonder if this is the same phenomenon as in Europe? Over there they call it "sour rain" and the result of pollution.

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Christine

In the eastern, especially the northeastern, forests of the United States many of the forests are in decline because of what we generally refer to as "acid rain." I think that acid rain is probably the same phenomenon as the European sour rain. It is said to the result of the emissions of the industrial sites, such as the steel mills.

I think, however, that most of the dead or dying hillsides that you are seeing are the result of fires or insect infestations. Both of these are becoming a problem because of misguided forest practices, as related in earlier posts, where we thought that preservationaor conservation meant no management, That failure resulted in overstocking and stagnated forest stands creating forest fire infernos or weakened trees providing habitat for insect or pathogen infestations

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

Charles said:
"A dynamic story of life - Tell Lorraine how much you love her photo. What story can be told?"
http://fineartamerica.com/displayartwork.html?id=2530800&width=250&height=136
(hoping the pic shows up)

I see a broken older tree, split from the top. I'm guessing avalanche? Or big wind. That other really tall one is still standing so straight, seems odd that just one would be broken. I don't see evidence of fire on the other trees so I ruled that out as the clearing method. Hmmm..... I'll go with wind.
Maybe both? The wind broke the one tree and an avalanche sort of cleared the area? That is a really steep hillside - mountainside!

And the bushes or shrubby looking plants, and wildflowers, in the foreground are filling in the emptied space as one step in the process of regrowth.

It's a beautiful image! I love the composition and the details in the valley below.

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

Charles said:
"Tell Michael how much you love his photograph. This is an interesting photograph with another story to tell. What do you see 'from the viewpoint of a forester?'"
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This must be for the advanced forestry students, Charles -- nothing's really jumping out at me.
I see a pretty dense-looking hardwood forest that is dotted with evergreens. I see one pine that is shorter than the other longer-needle evergreens with the uplifting branches.. cedars?? Do cedars point up? All I remember is that hemlock points down.

And some of the tall evergreens are tilted -- I'm guessing fire came through here a long time ago and cleared out the evergreens, and the hardwoods filled it in. It has kind of a scrubby feel to it, like what I saw in Western WA after clear cutting.

How'd I do Charles? :)

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Dyanamic Story of Life

Very astute observations, Kathi. The effect of the natural phemomenon that probably occured would probably have created the most visible. The big picture would be that the trail appears to be going through a high elevation alpine meadow: hence the scattered trees and relatively sparse vegetation, which would create ideal game habitat during the growing season.

Since the photograph encompasses the entire basin frrom the lowlands upto the alpine meadows, there would be the natural progression of trees that were adapted to the precipitation and temperature variations as the elvation increases. We can only speculate from the photo what those speicies might be. Since it is in Montana, I would guess pines, probably ponderosa pine mixed with lodgepole pine, progressing to Douglas fir, white pine, and then to the tall silver firs visible in the meadow at the high elevation

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Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Dyanamic Story of Life

Very astute observations, Kathi. The effect of the natural phemomenon that probably occured would probably have created the most visible. The big picture would be that the trail appears to be going through a high elevation alpine meadow: hence the scattered trees and relatively sparse vegetation, which would create ideal game habitat during the growing season.

Since the photograph encompasses the entire basin frrom the lowlands upto the alpine meadows, there would be the natural progression of trees that were adapted to the precipitation and temperature variations as the elvation increases. We can only speculate from the photo what those speicies might be. Since it is in Montana, I would guess pines, probably ponderosa pine mixed with lodgepole pine, progressing to Douglas fir, white pine, and then to the tall silver fir visible in the high altitude meadow

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Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

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Kathi said, "some of the tall evergreens are tilted -- I'm guessing fire came through here a long time ago and cleared out the evergreens, and the hardwoods filled it in. It has kind of a scrubby feel to it, like what I saw in Western WA after clear cutting."

That is certainly a very good possibilty. Quite often the forests were high-graded and the trees have greater value were removed. That would include the evergreens, probably spruce in Michigan. The leaning evergreens were probably left behind. The area was probably not clear cut. My guess would be that the area is quite wet, since the ground where the trees are growing adjacent to the river does not appear to much higher than the river. If that were the case, it would contribute to the the mix of trees and vegetation types that are visible. It would have to be managed as a riparian zone.

 

Deborah Cummins

2 Years Ago

Great discussion and I am learning a lot

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

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Danielle does not describe this beautiful photograph or tell us where it is located. It is great example of a very healthy sub-alpine meadow. I would guess that by looking at the trees and the wildflowers that are present, that it is within Mt. Rainer National Park. I see Mountain Hemlock and Silver Fir. In addition to a very lush grass, there appears to be lupine, anemone seed pods, yarrow and Indian Paintbrush. It was probably taken in late August.

It would be a prime habitat for wildlife with an abundant food source for a multitude of species, including the hoary marmot preparing for his long nap, black bears, and mule deer foraging in the evening and early morning. The great horned owl screeches as he swoops down on an unsuspecting snowshoe hare.

 

Danielle Del Prado

2 Years Ago

you are correct. Late August 2011 Mount Hood McNeil Trail

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

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Michael captured a great example of a sub-alpine meadow in the North Cascades. It appears as if they predominant trees are silver fir, which would indicate that it is relatively high elevation, but still well below timber line. The hemlocks and the Douglas fir would prabably have started to fade around an elevation of 6,000 to 7,000 feet.

I would guess that the clearing was probably created by a catastrophic event. Although there is a little evidence of fire, I think that it was probably a fire. There have been some recent fires in the North Cascades. Some of the larger trees around the perimeter appear to be void of branches on wne side, probably as the result of being scorched; however swirling winds within the opening might have had the same effect. The encroaching of the younger fir trees around the perimeter of the opeeing would give a timeline of perhaps 15 to 20 years. Gradually the trees will continue seeding and spreading into the opening.

I believe that the shrubs in the foreground are Ceanothus. Ceanothus tends to be a pioneer species in burned areas, partly beause it is very adaptable to harsh conditions. It is cutaneous leaves which would protect it from extreme cold and the drying winds. It is a very desirable forage plant for the larger herbivores.

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Let's keep this dialoque open. If there is not activity in a discussion, FAA will close it. If it is closed, it is possible, but difficult, to reopen it. Post your favorite photo and get the inside scoop.

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

OK, some of you new "forestry experts," is John Greaves' Vancouver Island forest an example a well manged forest? should it be?

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Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

Hello, I'm back, sort of.

Are those holes in the tree (and maybe beginning holes in the next tree) from insects?
I'm going to risk showing my ignorance and say no, not well managed. If they're insects especially, but there seems to be a lot of debris on the forest floor and the trees are kind of, I don't know, they just don't look real happy. They look tangled, crowded, broken. Though it is a beautiful photograph. I love the moss. Should it be well managed or managed at all? Maybe not. I guess that depends on what is around it. If it's isolated - is the whole island one big forest with no humans living there? I would like to leave some areas the way they were and would be if humans had never existed. Or as close to it as possible in this world.

It's nice to see this thread is still going. :)

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

The west coast of Vancouver Island along the Pacific Ocean is a rainforest. It looks as if the trees are hemlock. The moss on the forest floor is common in a rainforest and is good in that it would provide habitat and would tend to breakdown the fallen debris. The excessive dead and fallen debris is a breeding ground for insects. The "holes" that you see in the trees were probably caused by the lower branches dying and breaking off. But, as you say, those broken branches would be ports of entry for insects. I would say that the stand has a severe insect infestation. It does not appear to be very healthy.

Should it be managed? That is, of course, controversial. but if nothing is done, the trees that you see would probably die, and in the best case scenario be replaced by other species. The problem with leaving forests as they were without any human intervention is that they will not stay that way.

Macmillian-Bloedel, recently acquired by Weyerhauser, has extensive timber holdings on the island and is managing the forests to sustain the vigor and productivity of the rainforests on the island. Productivity, being defined as a dynamic, healthy ecosystem.

 

Kathi Shotwell

2 Years Ago

Ah, yes, branch holes. I can see it now. Very good point about them not staying that way - nature is ever changing. But they seemed to do well for the previous hundreds/thousands of years.

I looked up Macmilian-Bloedel on wikipedia, which led to another entry on Clayoquot Sound. Very interesting history! Canada's largest civil disobedience case, Unesco Biosphere Reserve, and First Nations logging companies taking over two Timber Forest Licenses. I hope everyone works together to preserve the health of the forest.

This got me thinking about Old Growth forests. Can trees die of old age? Could an old growth forest get so old that all (or most) of its trees just die all at once? What is the aging process of a tree, anyway? I looked up tree aging and it sounds like a tree could theoretically live forever under ideal conditions (which seldom occur, right?).

I found some very cool tree factoids here for general info -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree
And learned about vegetative cloning which could cause a very old root system with relatively young trunks here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Tjikko
And overall it seems that the cells in trees to not "age" like human cells (senescence).

All fascinating! :)

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Good research, Kathi. Very interesting. You asked, "Could an old growth forest get so old that all (or most) of its trees just die all at once? What is the aging process of a tree, anyway? I looked up tree aging and it sounds like a tree could theoretically live forever under ideal conditions (which seldom occur, right?). You are correct that most trees could probably live forever. In most cases it is probably other factors, or less than ideal conditions, that would cause a tree, or worst case scenario, a forest, to die.

It would actually be very difficult to determine why an old growth forest might die. However, the most common reason, other than natural catastrophies, would be that the canopy would become so tight that the trees were unable to get the sunlight and therefore the nutrients and/or sufficient moisture at the roots to sustain growth. The trees would appear to have died of "old age" where actually they had become so weakened that they would be killed by disease and/or insects.

That is why from a forester's viewpoint the forest should be "managed" to reduce the basal area and to thin out weakiened tress. In the case of the Vancouver Island forest in John Greaves' photograph, some natural thinning appears to have takn place and the stand is very open. It may be on the way to recovery without man's intervemtion.

Many trees, especially the ornamentals, actually have a limited life expectancy.

 

John Greaves

2 Years Ago

Hi Charles I am not so sure how well this particular stand of trees is managed. It is actually in a very urban area of Vancouver Island very close to the city.
The land around it is being developed for housing and golf courses etc. and this piece has been left for "parkland." Beautiful and interesting but managed? I think not.
John Greaves

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Points, well taken, John. But, we should be managing our urban forests. The are just as vital to our changing ecosystem as are the larger tracts of land that we generally associate with forest management practice, good or bad.

Many of the larger cities have managed forest lands. Are you aware that the forests in New York City occupy an area almost one-quarter the size of the State of Rhode Island. Inwood Park, one-fifth the size of Rhode Island, at the base of the George Washington Bridge at the north end of Manhattan Island is 196 acres, nuch of which is a forest land, managed for multiple use, including habitat preservation and restoration.

 

John Greaves

2 Years Ago

I agree with you about that. What I was saying is I am not sure this one is managed. I could be wrong but it is a piece of land that is very heavily forested and was not utilized for much of anything. Not such a bad thing. The city has now grown out to it and in BC we have policies that land developers have to set aside so much land for park etc.. SO now we have a park. Or I should say those in that area have one. I am just not sure that governments in these times of cutbacks have much money for management. They have cut back a lot in the commercially accessible forest lands, hence a lot of the wildfires, insect damage etc.. If we don't manage mother nature eventually steps in. John

Another tree from the same location

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And a stump

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Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

John'

I think that you are failing to give the credit that is due the City of Victoria and British Columbia in general. I like your image of what looks like old growth cedar in the preceding post. Preservation, or set asides, are not always the best management practices, but you cannot manage what is not there. It will be interesting to see what happens to these stands.

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Dan says that he wasn't sure if his photo, Imperfect Reflection, it belonged in the group, since it was more of a clearing. What do you think? Should it be managed as a "forest?" It goes back to the question of "what is a forest?'" Is a "forest"a function of size?

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John Greaves

2 Years Ago

Looks like a forest to me. :)

 

Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Shasta Narional Forest at Castle Crags State Park - So Beautiful. Let's hear from some the Califrornia artists familiar with the Northern California forests for a commentary.

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Charles Robinson

2 Years Ago

Let's talk about forestry. There are still many interesting photographs that we might discuss. What is your favorite?

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Charles Robinson

1 Year Ago

Many interesting things to ponder in this photo of the Olympic Mountains by Marie Jamieson. It is a story of struggle. Want to know more from the viewpoint of a forester?

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Charles Robinson

1 Year Ago

This is agreat example of the phenomenon that we discussed earlier about nurse trees or stumps upon which a new forest sprouts, deriving its nutrients and moisture from the fallen tree or stump.

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John Greaves

1 Year Ago

Thanks for the feature and the chance to discuss this. I have seen this before in the interior but never one quite so large and mature. This spot spot on Mayne Island (Edith Point) is a beautiful example of a private forest. I was lucky to be able to visit it. John

 

Charles Robinson

1 Year Ago

Thomas Fletcher has posted a photograph that again illustrates the dynamic succession in the natural forest ecosystem with his Autumn Nurse Log. Any thoughts? Does anyone else have a nurse log photograph?

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Charles Robinson

1 Year Ago

There are many things going on in Ben's Photograph. It is a example of a high altitude forest with a riparian zone of grasses and forbs along the river providing food and cover for water birds and an array of wildlife

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Charles Robinson

1 Year Ago

There is so much more to the Black Hills than being the site of Mt. Rushmore. The beautiful pine forests are actually somewhat of a natural anomaly. I remember that as a student at Oregon State University, we were taught that there was a sub-species of Douglas Fir that was found only in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I was rather disappointed during my recent trip to the Black Hills that I did not see any Douglas Fir, except in the slump area in my previous post. That phenomenon is in itself rather odd.

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This discussion is closed.