Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hike Up Your Tree I.D. IQ

How is your tree I.D?

I brushed up on my tree I.D. yesterday as I attended the first Nature Quest workshop of the summer, along with a few of the Master Stewards. The workshop was hosted by Mike Walsh, Tree Marker Instructor and retired Stewardship Coordinator for the Parry Sound Muskoka Stewardship Network.

Together, the group walked through the unmanaged forest of Arrowhead Provincial Park examining the trees for species, defects, potential growing stock, cavities and mast. We examined 25 trees in total; each tree giving us different insight into its value in a managed forest situation.

My favourite are the trees that are ideal cavity trees. Cavities are little nooks or holes where an animal has dug or burrowed into a tree. Cavities are used as habitat or places to escape bad weather or predators. Cavity trees have a high wildlife value and tree markers recommend leaving 6 cavity trees per hectare in your forest where the tree is at least 25 cm DBH (Diametre Breast Height).

The best kind of cavity tree is called C1. These trees are at least 25 cm DBH and have one of the following:

  • Pileated woodpecker nest cavities
  • Pileated woodpecker roost cavities
  • Swift roost cavities
  • Other woodpecker nest cavities
  • Natural nest or den cavities

The next best, or a fair cavity tree, also is at least 25 cm DBH and has one of the following:

  • Escape cavities
  • Feeding cavities on the bole or major branches

We also learnt about common tree diseases in Ontario like black bark, punk knots, spine tooth fungus, frost cracks, and sugar maple borer. Some trees are able to heal themselves from the diseases and can still be valuable to a forest. Other diseases have air borne spores and can infect neighbouring trees so it is best to cut them down.

I have lots of information and pictures about tree defects and forest management at the office. Of course, the Resources section of the blog is also a good place to start. Contact me or check it out!

Learn more about cavities on the Ontario Woodlot Association website.

Didn't make it out yesterday? There are more workshops in the series! Check out the blog posting from June 23rd called "Nature Quest Stewardship Series" for more information.

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