1. ABSTRACT.  In order to understand a system containing trees, its parts and processes above as well as below ground, one must examine such a system, which is in a state least tampered with - containing most parts as well as processes, if not all.  E.g., you need to know what parts and processes the system of a new car has, if you are going to take a used one and restore it.  E. G., if your car does not stop than it would be wise to know that the car (system) was designed with brakes.  This is also true above as well as below ground, for a system known as a forest, and coarse woody debris (CWD).  Most people, if asked, would claim to know what a sick tree looks like. But, how many understand a healthy tree system.  

2. The Mississippi Valley Laboratory in St. Louis was established in 1899.  Dr. Herman von Schrenk was the director.  Studies on wood decay and discoloration were done mostly.  In time, the studies drifted toward wood products.  In 1907 the lab was discontinued and the Forest Products Laboratory at Madison, Wisconsin took over.  The major focus of the lab was on wood products decay.  Tree biology never had a chance (SHIGO, 1999).

3. Tree Biology is the science that brings together anatomy, physiology, genetics, evolution, ecology, and all other disciplines that focus on the life of a tree system (redundant, the tree is a system) and how death brings healthier life.  In spite of abiotic destructive forces and biotic agents such as insects, bacteria, and fungi, humans still rank as the major destructive agent for trees in forests and cities.  Ignorance of tree biology is a major cause of this (SHIGO, 1999).  Ignorance of tree biology has been, and still is, the major cause of tree problems worldwide (SHIGO, 1999). Franklin, et. al. (1987) pg. 552-553 reports -  Both insects and disease may be the proximate agent of death in trees already weakened by other factors;  as such, they are often blamed for deaths more properly assigned elsewhere. “Humans are, of course, a major biotic cause of tree death, acting both directly (tree removing) and indirectly influencing almost all other agents.”

4. A serious problem is the communication of knowledge and needs between forest researchers and practicing foresters (SHIGO, 1977) as published in Northern Logger and Timber Processor.   The information I am presenting in this paper will be published, reviewed data by researchers and scientist.  Several being powerful, USDA Forest Service General Technical Reports.  My target here, is to present technical information addressing current half truths and misconceptions on symplastless tree stems (mistakenly called dead trees – perceived as worthless) and their unique characteristics which enhance the lives and connections of forest occupants dictating health, above as well as below ground.  

5. The teams of Practicing Foresters, with respect to the “Burn and Clearcut Project” on the ANF, are faced with the responsibility of decision making on a large-scale area. Many critical processes and connections are at stake.  An area, which demands decisions, based on tree biology, above as well as below ground, not feelings.  I find it “alarming” that the decision making team does not have a tree biologist, neither does the team from the US FISH and WILDLIFE SERVICE,  pertaining to this project and the endangered species, connections and processes.  Trying to treat what you do not understand is the same as trying to start a Rolls Royce by hitting it with a sledgehammer (SHIGO, 1999).  To say the least, there is some missing links.  Did you ever examine someone who does not understand tree anatomy prune a stem? (I have provided samples) This type of management is what I see in this project.  Something to think about - Would you go to a doctor who flunked anatomy (SHIGO, 1999)?

6. With respect, man’s intervention to log, to control forest health, is absurd.  Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding people that they are not the boss.

7. Board-feet seems to be the teams only specialty.  I believe the law requires high quality materials.  The anatomy of different trees and their environment from which they grow, greatly dictates the quality of material.  All parts of a tree are born alive.  A trees environment, used for violin wood, dictates the sound of the violin.  Each cell is born alive.   The type of wood a specific species can produce such as heartwood, false-heartwood, wetwood, discolored wood (basic anatomy) greatly determines lumber degrade factors and the quality they are responsible for.  They just do not maintain those or types of records on the ANF (per East Side comments).  We still are plagued with the heartrot concept that is based on the misconception that wood is dead – not true.  What is true is that the heartrot concept has been replaced with the understanding of CODIT – Compartmentalization Of Decay In Trees.  Compartmentalization is the tree's defense process where boundaries form that resist spread of infections and that defend the liquid transport, energy storage, and mechanical support systems.  

8. Also the use of a SHIGOMETER is not considered.  A SHIGOMETER can measures the chemically altered tissues within a tree.  Material with high probability of termite predisposition can be easily detected with an understanding of tree anatomy and experience with the machine.  Which may well, in the Forest Plan, be considered low or high quality.  Thus I would testify they have not done all they can to provide high quality material and or decipher between high or low quality.  There is a difference between having a lot of trees and having a lot of high quality trees.

9. Again, to bring some understanding in on this,  A SHIGOMETER is not a sophisticated device.  It is a pulsed ohmmeter.  It gives you numbers.  A SHIGOMETER also measures Cambium Electrical Resistance thus determining the health of the symplast and can be used in tree farming selection of trees too cut.  But to understand what these numbers mean, it demands you have an understanding of tree anatomy, which the team does, not – why?  The lack of understanding of tree anatomy, CODIT and tree biology, does not reduce the importance of its use, in the decision-making, in a project such as this, nor does it reduce the penalty for continued physical abuse.  Our forefathers did not know, just as with DNA. NOW WE KNOW.  

10. Here, as in all Medicine, the first principle must be: "FIRST OF ALL DO NO HARM!" This implies, of course, a thorough understanding of the healthy organism, i.e. in this case, the tree biology. This, in turn, brings us to a second principle: "DON'T HURT THE TREE AND YOU WON'T HURT YOURSELF!" An unbelievable example is about a fellow who for twenty years engaged in the practice of drilling holes into trees and injecting pesticides and fungicides. Well, he did not help the trees, but he developed such severe bone cancer that at the end of his life he could not visit his trees anymore. (Per phone conversation with fellow). I wonder if a thoracic surgeon would do a heart transplant only because the patient wants it?

11. No measures or to say the most, minimum safe guards have been taken here to reduce injuries to the system.  Technical reports do state we need to separate our forest from the tree farms.  I remain optimistic and look forward to helping tree farmers understand the needs of their trees.

12. Trees are the most massive, longest-lived organisms to ever live on this planet (Shigo, 1994)!  From this once fertile forest – this is exactly what is planned, to be removed.  The most massive – longest lived – organisms, which are key players in the system health.  The ecological stages of trees play a very, very large key role in the health and maintenance of the soil.
13. Again, the decision making team has missed at least one of three major aspects of the removal of the ecological stages of trees from this once fertile forest. The lack of understanding of the wood types (heartwood, false heartwood, discolored wood, etc.) and their lack of data on optimum fertility levels for plants in this once fertile forest, alone, denotes their extremely weak understanding of this system and the affects of their prescribed treatments now and into the future.  

14. The removal of trees in their different ecological stages from the once fertile forest does greatly affect the lives of entire groups of organisms (flora, fauna) above and below ground. Too often in the decision making process, concepts that do not facilitate system health are used to calculate treatments.   These treatments out of the ignorance of tree biology can and do have affects on entire groups of organisms.  Tree Biology is too often over looked in the goal of the production of board feet.  This paper is intended as a wake up call and surly not to be considered the last word on the topic.  The more you learn about what you are seeking, the better the chances are that you will find it (SHIGO, 1999).  Many foresters do seek to restore ecological order, but do not know how, yet!

15. Certainly our knowledge of biological processes and their interactions within forest is incomplete, and we know too little about the cumulative effect of a wide range of stresses on the ecosystem. But integrative research at the ecosystem level shows clearly that the many processes operating within forest inter-connect in important ways. Further, diversity of microscopic and macroscopic plant and animal species is a key factor in maintaining these processes (Maser, Tarrant, Trappe and Franklin, 1988, pg1-par2).

16. Logging is reducing spatial, chemical, and biotic diversity of forest soils, and the processes that maintain long-term forest productivity (Maser, Tarrant, Trappe and Franklin, 1988,pg1-par1).

17. Just because I list a page and paragraph where data can be found, does not mean that its the only place in the document where it is discussed.

Text & Graphics Copyright © 2004 Keslick & Son Modern Arboriculture
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John A. Keslick, Jr.



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