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Author Topic: Timber inventory  (Read 2360 times)

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Offline grweldon

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Timber inventory
« on: October 17, 2012, 12:29:49 PM »
I have always wondered if it might be a good thing to have an inventory of all the trees on my property over a given diameter... say 12 inches or so.  The idea would be that I could revisit these trees from time-to-time and check on their health and progress.  I'd also like to be able to document the species.  I'm thinking some sort of color-coded tag with information on it could be attached to the tree in some non-harmful but way but in a manner that would be durable.

I have a few questions:

is this something that is commonly done?  What type of method would be most durable over the years?  What sort of information should I include on the tags.

I'm thinking I would organize all this information in a spreadsheet.  I could then target specific trees for harvest and milling base on age and health.  I think I'm starting to get a few pines infected with the Southern Pine Bark Beetle and this would also allow me to document them and the rate at which they are spreading and possibly allow me to take preventive measures.

Ideas and opinions would be appreciated...
Thanks, Glen
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2012, 12:46:01 PM »
I don't know of anyone marking trees for future visits except in research situations.  The do make aluminum tree tags that you can fasten to trees.  You're not talking about every tree, I would hope.  You could do it with a representative sample of tagged trees.  Maybe 1% at max.  It would be a lot of work.  You would be surprised at how many trees there are per acre.

An inventory should be taken about every 10 years.  Maybe a little sooner for you southern guys.  And, you take stock of all the trees, including seedlings.  Then you can see what you have that's ready to come out, those that should come out, and those that should stay.  Its also to easier to track stand progression. 
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Offline grweldon

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012, 01:30:06 PM »
I was thinking I would only tag trees that were above a certain diameter... possibly 12" or so.  I have many trees, but since my land was clearcut about 30 years ago, the number of 12" diameter trees is still significant, but not nearly what you might be thinking.  As far as taking an inventory of everything, that would be quite labor intensive.  I wouldn't even undertake it.  On some of my property, it would take days to do just one acre!

How do you attach the tree tags you were speaking about?
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Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2012, 02:00:04 PM »
Aluminum nails. 

You're talking a labor intensive situation.  Identify, measure and tag everything over 12 inch dbh.  Usually only done on research tracts, education tracts, etc. 

a cruise of the property would give you stand information, although not by tree, and would be a better planning tool

Sometimes you can have too much information.
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Online bill m

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2012, 05:52:49 PM »
Don't nail anything into your trees. There is a paint stick or in a tube for writing  on trees. Lasts for many years and on your visits you can remark as needed.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2012, 09:46:07 PM »
I agree with Ron and TR.  You could establish a few plots where you measured every tree and recorded the info.  Say a plot of 1/10 acre (radius of 37.2') for every two acres that you own.  These would be permanent plots that you could re-visit and re-measure.  You definitely do not need to measure every tree, only a representative sample.

However, a good cruise of the property will give you an idea of your inventory by DBH class and species.  It could be re-done periodically to give you an idea of your timber growth.
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Online thecfarm

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2012, 09:52:01 PM »
You know what really help your wood lot out since you want to spend some time on it,A pole saw. Saw off some of those lower limbs for better logs. I have no idea if that would even work,but doubt it would hurt either.
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Offline grweldon

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2012, 08:04:02 AM »
Saw off some of those lower limbs for better logs. I have no idea if that would even work,but doubt it would hurt either.
85% of my property is very dense undergrowth.  I have this vision (achievable or not I don't know) of being able to walk all over my property, any place I choose, because the trees are all trimmed of branches lower than I am tall and all the undergrowth is gone.  A pole saw would be helpful, but not really necessary for cutting branches up to 6' high (I'm 5'8").  Maybe one day.  I do this for places close to my house, but this would be a very large undertaking for 60 acres.  I plan on being there a while (God willing) so maybe one of these years I'll actually realize my vision!

In any case, I don't know what y'all are thinking my forest looks like, but there are actually very few trees that are over 12" in diameter.  At least 80% of them are under that, or at least the parts of the property that I've actually been on!  I'd say maybe two or three per acre.  That would only be 180 trees at worst case.  Is this really too large of a job to consider tackling?
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2012, 09:30:13 AM »
gr
I didn't look back, but seems you were buying a chain saw or two with a long bar. I had the impression you had some large timber to cut, but maybe not until it puts on some diameter?  ;)
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2012, 10:18:43 AM »
There may only be a few 12" trees right now, but how many will there be in 10 years?  Are you going to keep on tagging as you have ingrowth? 

I've done variable plot cruising, and it really doesn't take all that long.  Its a representative sample, and it actually works rather well.  The dense undergrowth may slow you down.  But, it is possible to get it done. 

I've also done a fixed plot cruise in some extreme undergrowth on a 5 year clearcut, complete with black locust and blackberry thickets.  That took 2 men and isn't something to be undertaken if it isn't necessary.  I've also done fixed plots for management plans. 

They can be set up permanently, as has been mentioned.  They will give you reliable data, and would be easier to tag.  Using 1/4 acre plots, you would need 4 plots on every 10 acres to get a 10% cruise.  Smaller plot size would yield the same data, but with more plots.  It could be more representative, depending on stand conditions.  For seedling inventory, I've always gone with a 1/100th acre plot.

For info on variable plot cruising, here's some things in the knowledge base:

http://www.forestryforum.com/cgi-bin/tips/tips.cgi?display:1009743305-28064.txt
http://www.forestryforum.com/cgi-bin/tips/tips.cgi?display:1010359123-3833.txt
http://www.forestryforum.com/cgi-bin/tips/tips.cgi?display:1010359141-3837.txt
http://www.forestryforum.com/cgi-bin/tips/tips.cgi?display:1010359154-3844.txt
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Offline banksiana

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2012, 10:19:47 AM »
I am having a hard time figuring out how the information would be helpful to you or anyone else.  If you want to do something to track volume, growth and tree health, I am thinking you could instead place several permanent plot in with a fixed or variable size.  Number the trees with paint, or map them from plot center with distance and azimuth.  Now with this information you can track annual growth, volume, forest health and what not.  You can also predict volume growth.   Diameter and height are two of many things you can track.  Don't ignore the smaller trees, sapling and seedlings within the plots.  Shrubs and ground cover too if you want. 

I guess what I am saying is don't try to re-invent the wheel, these are tried and true forestry practices.  Good luck. 

Offline grweldon

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2012, 10:37:18 AM »
gr
I didn't look back, but seems you were buying a chain saw or two with a long bar. I had the impression you had some large timber to cut, but maybe not until it puts on some diameter?  ;)

I have opportunities to harvest multiple Pecan trees on land other than my own.  Some are rather large and Pecan is quite hard.  I needed more HP and bar length. Pecan is the smiley_devil you know...
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Offline grweldon

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2012, 10:44:30 AM »
I am having a hard time figuring out how the information would be helpful to you or anyone else.
Quote
I guess what I am saying is don't try to re-invent the wheel, these are tried and true forestry practices.  Good luck.

Honestly, I want to see what trees that I have that are harvestable or near harvestable.  I have many Pines as well as Oak and other hardwoods.  Pines that are 12" will soon be 15 or 18 inches and harvestable.

I do not want to reinvent the wheel.  I am completely ignorant of any forestry practice, tried and true or otherwise.  That's why I asked the question.  I like the variable plot cruising method that Ron Wenrich mentioned.  This will give a good estimate of total population and size but will not specifically target trees for harvest or the health of specimens, other than those in the specified sample plot.
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2012, 12:08:27 PM »
I know of some older landowners (in their upper 70's) who had some thinning and crop tree release done in a few places.  Some was managing for timber value, some was for wildlife. 

They were curious what kind of difference this would make in the growth rates, so their forester picked a selection of crop trees and trees in areas that had been thinned, painted numbers on them, and started a spreadsheet.  He then picked a few trees in similar conditions that were not released for comparison. 

They happen to be some of his favorite customers, so he stops in when finishes a job early in their area and updates the spreadsheet for them.  He has also taught them to take the measurements and enter the info.  They also record observations on nut production and signs of wildlife activity. 

They don't really "need" this information, but they enjoy it, and it has really demonstrated to them what a difference the thinning or crop tree release makes in tree growth and in the type and amount of wildlife activity they see in various areas.  They host various walks and workshops, and allow the forester to bring in clients to talk to them about the differences they have observed in growth rates and in wildlife.
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Offline terry f

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2012, 12:22:35 PM »
    I did this a few years ago, got the little round tags and aluminum nails from Ben Meadows. They come numbered and in different colors. I picked trees I liked, nailed at four and a half feet, wrote down location, date, species and diameter. Can't do them all, but fun for me.

Offline KBforester

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2012, 07:24:13 PM »
Regarding aluminum nails and tags- nail them below where you would make a cut to fell the tree (12" or less). Or even on a root buttress. They will be harder to find, but it shouldn't degrade the the quality of the log. Could always introduce a fungus, but if you have to do it....

But I should say too, I support painting numbers on the bark and keeping a spreadsheet relating to the tree number. No Diameters written on the tree itself. Cary around a note book with tree records if you want the data in the field.

Trees are good.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2012, 07:41:15 PM »
I inventory mine once every few years to get an idea of rate of growth. Also myself, and I have known others, who locate a few nice trees and mark them with ribbon (I also do GPS) to record dimensional changes over time. I pick dominant trees on good ground. I record things on a  sheet I keep in a bottle that is tied up by wire. The challenge sometimes is the keep the bears away from the bottle. Bears have found 3 of my bottles and they will return to the tree and find a new one you replaced it with. :D Bears can be a real PITA. :D
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Offline grweldon

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2012, 07:42:30 PM »
I've been tossing the idea around... painting numbers on the trees then recording the info in a spreadsheet.  Especially since I priced out plastic tags today.  The are affordable, but they aren't dirt cheap!  Got any particular paint marker in mind?
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Offline grweldon

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2012, 07:44:33 PM »
I inventory mine once every few years to get an idea of rate of growth. Also myself, and I have known others, who locate a few nice trees and mark them with ribbon (I also do GPS) to record dimensional changes over time. I pick dominant trees on good ground. I record things on a  sheet I keep in a bottle that is tied up by wire. The challenge sometimes is the keep the bears away from the bottle. Bears have found 3 of my bottles and they will return to the tree and find a new one you replaced it with. :D Bears can be a real PITA. :D

Good Idea SD... do you have any of the wires start growing into the trees?  I don't have any problems with bears down here in Alabama.  They are in the state but the numbers are low.  I'm happy of that too.  I'd have to have to take a rifle with me everyplace I go to protect myself.
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Offline chain

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Re: Timber inventory
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2012, 09:21:22 PM »
My neck of the woods of mixed oak & Sl pine, thinning for crown growth is very important. I did the alum tag thing and found it took four growing seasons before 12" dia. white oaks grew enough crown expansion to bump the diameter much. For WO, slow growth is the norm but we had the height just need more girth.


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