Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

In Search of Arboreal Giants: The Virginia Big Tree Program

Eric Wiseman
October 06, 2022

In Search of Arboreal Giants: The Virginia Big Tree Program

This presentation was given at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. In this presentation, I discussed the history and mission of the Virginia Big Tree Program and explained measurement, scoring, and registration of champion big trees.

Eric Wiseman

October 06, 2022
Tweet

More Decks by Eric Wiseman

Other Decks in Science

Transcript

  1. In Search of Arboreal Giants:
    The Virginia Big Tree Program
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    P. Eric Wiseman, PhD
    Associate Professor of Urban and Community Forestry
    Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
    Virginia Tech
    [email protected]
    linktr.ee/EricWiseman
    @vtarborist
    Chesapeake City
    116’
    54’
    206”
    336 pts.
    Nyssa biflora**
    uf.frec.vt.edu

    View full-size slide

  2. o Mission and history of the Virginia Big Tree
    Program
    o People of the Virginia Big Tree Program
    o Quick tour of the Virginia Big Tree Register
    o Measuring and scoring big trees
    o Reporting big trees
    Bedford Co.
    139’
    78’
    362”
    511 pts.
    Liriodendron tulipifera**
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    Presentation Outline

    View full-size slide

  3. To promote the care and
    appreciation of trees – big and small
    Document the largest
    specimens in the state and
    provide outreach to aid in
    their protection and care
    Maclura pomifera**
    Charlotte Co.
    65’
    93’
    328”
    416 pts.
    Photo credit: A. Cassell
    03  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    Mission of the Virginia Big Tree Program

    View full-size slide

  4. 03  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    Mission of the Virginia Big Tree Program
    Why do we do this?
    oIt is informative and
    educational
    oIt is engaging and
    enjoyable
    oIt empirically justifies tree
    conservation and
    preservation efforts
    Illicium floridanum**
    City of Williamsburg
    18’
    17’
    12”
    34 pts.

    View full-size slide

  5. 04  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    History of the Virginia Big Tree Program
    “The American Forestry Association
    heartily endorses the appeal by Mr.
    Joseph L. Stearns for the discovery and
    preservation of the largest specimens of
    outstanding American tree species.”
    ~ September, 1940

    View full-size slide

  6. 05  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    History of the Virginia Big Tree Program
    Lillian M. Cromelin
    • Associate editor of American Forests Magazine
    • Created the initial program for registering big tree champions in 1940

    View full-size slide

  7. 06  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    History of the Virginia Big Tree Program
    1940: American Big Trees
    1961: The Social Register
    of Big Trees
    1978: The National
    Register of Big Trees
    2014: The National
    Register of Champion
    Trees

    View full-size slide

  8. History of the Virginia Big Tree Program
    07  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022

    View full-size slide

  9. History of the Virginia Big Tree Program
    08  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022

    View full-size slide

  10. History of the Virginia Big Tree Program
    09  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022

    View full-size slide

  11. Big Tree Interns
    Big Tree Volunteers
    Quercus laurifolia**
    Chesapeake City
    86’
    89’
    317”
    425 pts.
    Lifeblood of the Virginia Big Tree Program
    10  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022

    View full-size slide

  12. Aesculus flava**
    Alleghany Co.
    81’
    56’
    295”
    390 pts.
    o Register comprises a searchable online
    database plus an historical record archive
    o Currently 1,565 living specimens across 469
    species are curated in the register
    o Currently curate the top-three* specimens of
    any native or non-native tree species (and
    verifiable sub-species and varieties)
    o Minimum eligible tree size:
    ≥ 13’ height and ≥ 9.5” trunk circumference
    11  25
    Tour of the Virginia Big Tree Register
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022

    View full-size slide

  13. o 118 counties and independent cities have 1 or
    more big trees in the register
    o Fairfax County currently has most living big
    trees in the register = 85
    o Trees must be re-certified every ten years to
    remain active in the register
    *not all trees shown due to privacy policy
    12  25
    Tour of the Virginia Big Tree Register
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022

    View full-size slide

  14. o 88 national champions and co-champions
    reside in Virginia as of 2021 records
    o 2nd place nationally (Florida #1)
    o Measurement and scoring overseen by
    the National Cadre of Tree Measurers
    *not all trees shown due to privacy policy
    13  25
    Tour of the Virginia Big Tree Register
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022

    View full-size slide

  15. 14  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    Measuring and Scoring Big Trees
    1. It’s living
    2. It’s an eligible species
    3. It meets minimum size
    4. It’s the largest of its species
    5. It’s been verified by an expert
    Champions: one tree with the
    most total points
    Co-Champions: two+ trees that
    are within 3 points or 3% of
    each other

    View full-size slide

  16. 15  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    Measuring and Scoring Big Trees
    TRUNK CIRCUMFERENCE
    Composite functional circumference
    measurement on multi-trunk form
    when it is atypical for the species

    View full-size slide

  17. 16  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    Measuring and Scoring Big Trees
    AVERAGE CROWN SPREAD

    View full-size slide

  18. 17  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    Measuring and Scoring Big Trees
    TREE HEIGHT

    View full-size slide

  19. 18  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    Measuring and Scoring Big Trees
    TREE HEIGHT

    View full-size slide

  20. 22  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    Measuring and Scoring Big Trees

    View full-size slide

  21. o Is it an eligible tree? ≥13’ height and ≥9.5” trunk circumference
    o Measure trunk circumference at 4.5’ above ground line*: ____(inches)
    o Measure tree height from ground line to highest branch: ____(feet)
    o Measure average crown spread (1st max. ⊥ 2nd max.): ____(feet)
    Measurements
    Circumference (1 point per inch)
    + Height (1 point per foot)
    + Crown spread (¼ point per foot)
    Big Tree Score Total
    155
    101
    72
    155 points
    101 points
    18 points
    274 points
    Score Calculation
    22  25
    (80’, 64’)
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    Measuring and Scoring Big Trees

    View full-size slide

  22. 24  25
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022
    Legacy Lost of Big Trees
    Quercus phellos
    Gloucester Co.
    95’
    113’
    290”
    413 pts.
    o Invasive pests and plants
    o Extreme weather
    o Land development
    o Risk aversion
    o Apathy and neglect
    o Arboricultural malpractice

    View full-size slide

  23. o Virginia has a vibrant history of big trees from
    the Chesapeake Bay to the Cumberland Gap
    o The Virginia Big Tree Program aims to
    document the state’s largest trees and
    educate the public about their conservation
    o There is a network of dedicated staff and
    volunteers who can help you locate, measure,
    and report big trees
    o Spread the word about these Arboreal Giants -
    maybe there is one in your neck of the woods
    Smyth Co.
    69’
    47’
    113”
    194 pts.
    Amelanchier laevis**
    Take Home Messages
    2022 MAC-ISA ANNUAL MEETING • RICHMOND, VA • OCTOBER 3, 2022

    View full-size slide