Dead Wood

EdenT

New Member
Gee whizz my fuddled brain. I just checked. Its only 29.1%. My earlier figures come from Marine science and were more to do with the amount of oceanic surface area (so lumping terrestrial land and freshwater environments together as excluded from that perspective.)

Heres some data -
Surface Area of the Planet (510,066,000 sq km)
Land Area on the Planet (148,647,000 sq km) 29.1%
Ocean Area (335,258,000 sq km)
Total Water Area (361,419,000 sq km) 70.9%
Type of Water (97% salt), (3% fresh)
dot
To convert sq km (kilometers) to sq miles,
multiply kilometers by: 0.386102
dot
additional measurement multipliers
here

Taken from
http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/infopage/oceans.htm
 

guymayor

Well-Known Member
OK, so if 29% is land area, I wonder how much of that is habitable by these specific tree-eating fungus and beetles etc.? That's the number needed to answer the ecologists who claim those things are endangered...

Hard to say that the Gobi desert and Antarctica are potential habitat for them.
 

EdenT

New Member
To answer that question you would need to know the environmental tolerances and requirements of the particular endangered organism.

I guess you could say that life will exist pretty much anywhere but tree eating life will only exist where trees exist (but then it will adapt to eat grass).
 

DSMc

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
The detritivores and opportunistic parasites are not suffering from habitat loss as their habitat covers about 30% of the earths surface.

[/ QUOTE ]

ET, I agree with your sentiments but this particular sentence is misleading.

To simply say that habitat is there discounts the many alterations that habitat has experienced. We know in most cases alterations are obvious and widesweeping. Many life diversity/supporting alterations have occurred in a much less obvious manner via production and harvest and their associated chemicals. These cover quite a large percentage of the 30% of the Earth that is not water.

The OPs question discounts these factors and tries to focus us on only one aspect of the problem. Typical of scientific studies...let's focus but not see...

Dave
 

EdenT

New Member
The point was that detritivores and parasites are usually very adaptable invertebrates with short lifespans and high rates of reproduction. This statement does not apply to most vertebrates as their longer life spans and relatively low reproduction rate prevents evolutionary adaption at a fast enough rate to suit the environmental change occurring.

http://www.earthlife.net/insects/six.html

I agree wholeheartedly with your paragraph regarding anthropogenic environmental change. Usually though this presents opportunities for the bugs. It is the vertebrate life forms which tend to suffer the most dramatic effects of habitat loss.My feeling on this is we should be doing everything we can to manage our few remaining natural environments and reduce our use of chemicals in all environments.

Regarding the OP. Yes, it is easy to forget that animals and plants actually have a symbiotic relationship. Magnoliophyta would not exist without Animalia. Heres a simple way to prove that dead wooding benefits a tree. Has anybody ever heard of someone being hurt or killed by a piece of falling dead wood where the remainder of the tree wasn't chopped down a short time later?
 

wulkowicz

New Member
Following this thread, or trying to fit somewhere inside it, makes me think of a centipede trying to put on its shoes. It's easy to be distracted when one comes across a new or different pair, and if the activity goes on long enough, it's difficult to remember what the first pair looked like.

We started with the question of finding proof that deadwood removal had a health benefit to a tree. That seemed a reasonable question and yet here we are, a surprising 125 posts later, on tangents and obliques of angels dancing on the heads of pins.

I will confess to being somewhat befuddled myself and trying to figure out which pair of shoes to lace up.

Deadwood has exited trees for a few hundred million years without any of our interventions. We didn't have the tools until we acquired opposable thumbs and saws. And actually, we likely didn't need to think about deadwood at all until we invented fire.


Waddling back to what I think is still the original point, I'm not sure that anyone goes out into a "natural" forest to cut off deadwood, either as a charitable act to trees, or as an anticipatory public safety measure for those wandering in that forest without looking overhead.

That leaves us urban forests, which have always seemed to me to be rather oxymoronic, but I don't need to pick a fight here and read posts that I'm antisemantic.


Dead wood is the expected residue of live wood. Live wood is the ongoing product of the cambium; a single layer of meristematic cells twixt the wood and the bark. Once live wood is created, it is "dedicated" or modified to its particular position and purpose--and apparently never divides again.

Depending upon the species and conditions, the live cells on either side of the cambium serve their functions until their appointed, expectable demise, when they fill the definition of dead wood. They can also die before that time by circumstances, drought, pathogens, etc--in any case, dead is dead.

(Using a space between the words dead and wood in one context and the words drawn together for the debris of woody cylinders left on a tree, may be a part of the solution in our discussions.)



The larger the woody cylinder, the greater amount of dead wood inside it. We simplify, and use the laws of fuzziness, to mess up our own understanding of the biology by calling one "sapwood" and the other "heartwood". This is the "angels dancing on the head of a pin" part; it is mostly, visually subjective as determined by discoloration with many subsets of factoids and conjecture.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0b/Taxus_wood.jpg

At some point, the older cells are indeed dead parrots. They are structural and meaningful in many ways, but they do not contribute by serving living functions. They have contents and chemicals that can retard decay significantly, but they cannot be called "live" because of those effects.

When the cambium of a woody cylinder disappears for reasons of starvation, pathogens, or interferences with its continuity and growth, no more live wood can be produced and the cylinder itself eventually becomes "deadwood".


A limb or cylinder without living cambium has severely diminished protections against decay. If there is no living, active and productive, cambium there simply can't be any Wall 4. The most important and effective defense available in CODIT is the cambium's modification of daughter cells against an interior progression of decay.

No cambium; no Wall 4. No cambium; the end of life in that woody cylinder.

http://www.forestryimages.org/images/768x512/1409010.jpg



I'm also surprised by the range of explanations of how trees work. I'll try to get back in comment.


Wulkowicz
 

treehumper

Well-Known Member
Eloquently put.

At the end of the day it isn't for the health of the tree but the health of the potential targets that wander into the potential drop zone.
 

wulkowicz

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
"The original question of does removing deadwood enhance the health of the tree, I personally think is a no-brainer. Of course, it does. There are many saprophytic fungi that can become opportunistic. Many organisms enter live wood from dead wood. So if you are talking about the health of the tree, this alone is a given; remove the deadwood. It doesn't help the birds, it doesn't contribute to the balance of natural cycling. It does relieve the stress on the tree. And that was the original question: is this beneficial to the tree."

[/ QUOTE ]

Speaking respectfully, "no-brainers usually have stings on either end," and what seems simple easily morphs into simplistic, which is not exactly what we want in our discussions.

I enjoy the pursuit of things in the shadows; and often times it takes years to illuminate and arrange factoids into some sort of contributory understanding about processes of creatures. That seems to go hand in hand with our assuredness that we have big brains and nature is conveniently simple.

Back in 1988, when I earnestly wanted to learn about trees, I read the books and the studies and the pamphlets, which supposedly contained a great deal of truth and knowledge about trees ranging from how they grew, to what we should do with them as arborists. It didn't take very long for me to bump into inconsistencies, misinformation, and dogma that smelled badly from old stuffy ideas about trees.

I remember were jumping up and down like Rumpelstiltskin because a line item in a handout called Why We Prune explained that all watersprouts should be cut off because they "sapped the vigor of the tree.'



First I had to find out what the hell a vigor was; and then how a cluster of leaves in a watersprout collection could be responsible for vigor sucking. One section of the literature and my lecturers explained that leaves produced sugars that fed the tree; they were primary contributors to the efficiency and health of trees by providing food. Sucking vigor sounded like the indictment of watersprouts as things that drained and diminished the energy of the tree.

I had read and observed that trees in trouble, or at locations where significant pruning had been done, there were sudden growths of watersprouts with significant increases of additional leaves. A "no-brainer" for me was that the watersprouts were a natural correction for a location in some sort of biological difficulty, or in a place where there was once an established and dependable supply of sugars from the leaves on a limb that had just been sawn off.

I was troubled that their recommended removal seemed to serve a more cosmetic purpose, rather than something that benefited the biology of the tree. I'm now predisposed to be suspicious about the parallel between insisting cutting off all deadwood or waterspouts, each of which action would reportably improve the general "health" of the tree (?).

Found in the literature: http://www.growit.com/bin/KnowArt.exe?MyKnow=287

[ QUOTE ]
By J.James Kielbaso and Melvin R. Koelling Department of Forestry


4. Remove watersprouts (fast growing shoots which develop from the sides of branches or trunk inside the crown and tend to grow upright through the tree). Watersprouts have little value to the tree and are sometimes considered as parasites since they use more energy than they produce. Watersprout growth often develops into crossing branches if allowed to develop.

[/ QUOTE ]

I thought I would find historical examples back some 10 or 20 years, but I still found advice written in December 2009, that fed me the same strange information. "My God they're still alive. They're still around to confuse and befuddled the amateur and any interested novice or student. "


[ QUOTE ]

The original post asked this question, but was also looking for published material to prove it. I can't supply any links to published info at this moment, but I do very much agree with the above quote in regards to sanitizing. Deadwood can harbor insects and pathogens that can be detrimental to a tree's health. Can deadwood also harbor beneficial organisms? Of course. But IMO, removing deadwood is a tree preservation practice, which in itself can be an unnatural act. As arborists/tree care professionals, that is what we are selling (I hope). Improving the long term health and value of our clients investments (trees). Right?

-Tom

[/ QUOTE ]


Tom Otto's original question included a request for proof. Have we gotten that in 125 posts?

Let's try stepping back to ground zero and look more at biology than quietly rationalizing why we keep our saws.

What forum should it be in?


bob the w
 
Great post Bob, I suspect that the logic of what you're presenting may skip like a flat stone across the pond for some.

"Tom Otto's original question included a request for proof. Have we gotten that in 125 posts?"

Many of us (that spend more hours than is healthy) seeking more knowledge and understanding regarding the connections between tree biology and the ecology surrounding and depending on them, find areas that have yet to be satisfactoraly and adequately explored.

The oft argued negative role of deadwood on the health of the tree lacks any real substance and the explainations of how it might are always less than convincing.

I have in years gone by spent days deadwooding very large trees in private school grounds, and formal gardens...so I do understand how tree owners and managers can desire a pparticular aesthetic. However IMO none of it relates to the health of the tree.

BTW I cannot ever remember having read any reports of anyone being killed by falling deadwood (unless you count tree fallers being struck during manual harvesting ops).

"Deadwood can harbor insects and pathogens that can be detrimental to a tree's health. Can deadwood also harbor beneficial organisms? Of course. But IMO, removing deadwood is a tree preservation practice"

Seriously???? I wonder which insects and which pathogens and just how detrimental?

I would strongly suggest that if any of us really believes that deadwood poses a serious threat to the longevity of any tree they consider the huge volume of evidence that would be available to support such a statement...and try to come to terms with the volume of evidence that suggests deadwood, its production and its management by the living tree is a consequence of many thousands of years of evolution....trees are shedding organisms, it is one big aspect of how they survive the stresses of their environment.

Certainly there are hundreds of thousands of organisms, microscopic and larger that take advantage of all aspects of these very long lived woody plants, many are saprophytic, a good number are endophytes and in true-messing with our monochromatic perspective-the way nature does best the majority of the remainder are described as faculative parasites....Alex Shigo would love that one...he was probably well aware of it since I remember a 1990's lecture in Melbourne where he warned of the over simplification in terms like pathogen...."where are the bonogens?" he asked.

I am not dissing people who remove deadwood when the tree owner demands it, just pointing out that there is very little real justification IMO in general on the basis of improving the health of the tree.
 

tom_otto

New Member
Thank you Bob and Sean.

It's encouraging to know that some among us realize the limitations of our knowledge regarding tree biology. Scientific understanding of trees and the role they play in any system is still in its infancy. This is blatantly clear with a simple examination of the body of scientific literature which explores these questions, yet some folks are so convinced that we already know everything. Perhaps because of this, arboriculture will always be considered a "soft science" lacking any real credibility.

As a result of staring this thread I've received PMs from angry treebuzz members who felt I was treading on some sensitive ground. One reads...

"before parroting a bunch of myths and questioning the ethics of the majority of arborists. I don't know what you do for a living but it's clear you know little about trees. Fair warning."

Really? Myths? Come on! I'm happy to be in the minority of arborist on this, if it means I'm with the majority of scientists.
 

Attachments

DSMc

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
I'm happy to be in the minority of arborist on this, if it means I'm with the majority of scientist.

[/ QUOTE ]

"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." ~Albert Einstein

"There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." ~Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, 1883

I am not against science but many things are true, whether they are "scientifically" proven or not.

Dave
 

tom_otto

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
I'm happy to be in the minority of arborist on this, if it means I'm with the majority of scientist.

[/ QUOTE ]



I am not against science but many things are true, whether they are "scientifically" proven or not.

Dave

[/ QUOTE ]

Dave,

Just remember to let your customers/clients know that your professional opinion doesn't have any scientific support, and then quote some Mark Twain so maybe they won't realize that your selling them something they likely don't need.
 

DSMc

Well-Known Member
I appreciate the cleaning up of your previous post with the edit. It is not productive when discussions become harsh.

I never knock on doors selling deadwood removal. I am called out by clients who have a pretty good idea of what they want, but require my knowledge on how best to accomplish it.

In our area that often involves removal of the ladder fuel on private properties within the forest interface. For years I told these clients that this will indeed reduce the likelihood of a low grade fire reaching the crown but had no proven effect on the health of the tree.

Well, after years of observation I have altered that view point. It became quite obvious on some of the older tracks that the trees did indeed show increased vitality. They seemed to withstand the stresses with no ill effects as shown in the surrounding forest.

I have also seen this in residential areas where medium age trees have the deadwood removed with maybe also the occasional crossing limb but no thinning and show increased vitality.

I can speculate and theorize on possibilities that would have caused these reactions. I have no proof, but I do trust what it is I see before me.

Dave
 
Hi Dave,

It is perfectly possible to believe that we observe an effect caused by our intervention, however I have not been able to find any generally applicable evidence to support the claim that d/w removal has a beneficial impact on tree health.

The shedding of deadwood and its recycling into the soil environment is critical to tree health and longevity, if we were as arborists breaking retained deadwood from the canopy and ensuring it was located under the drip line of the 'treated' trees then perhaps this could be claimed to have some clear benefits for tree health.

I struggle to understand the arguement that deadwood (not an underlying health issue creating branch death)is a threat to tree health. Not every evolutionary characteristic of an organism is a perfect adaptation, branch autonomy and the process of shedding parts certainly have great advantages but they also have costs...no question.

But the costs as far as they can be evaluated (at least for me) do not justify the level of intervention that we have seen and continue to see.

To be true to form I provide a poor analogy that probably obfuscates the issues rather than clarifies them....

Years ago as part of a management program for 14 under mature (<120yrs) but heavily stressed raintrees (Albizia saman) I (along with a couple of other Arbs) climbed and deadwooded and removed all epicormic shoots (yes , yes I know NOW!!!!! but back then.....) from the canopies of these trees...they were manicured intensively.

For at least three years afterwards I would get positive feedback about that program, about how "clean and open" the trees looked, how "healthy" they now were...what a great job we had done etc...

The asthetics being applied were ours (both tree owners/managers and contractors) and had nothing to do with the photosynthetic requirements of the tree, the natural systemic response to increasing strees and developiong strain that the over production of d/w was indicating, the pronounced branch autonomy factors at play where limbs were being out competed for light and succumbing to longicorn.

Those tres are still growing and providing fantastic amenity to the school grounds they dominate, the IMO negative intervention has ha no signficant(observable) impacts, and for the time that we were doing it the raised awareness of the percieved beauty of the trees was doubtless a very positive thing for tree care in that school....however I do not believe we were improving the health of the trees (disregarding the epicormic element for the moment) by removing deadwood from these trees.

The school admin had every right to request the manicuring of those trees, and the shift in the company's position regarding epicormics was part of what led to us falling out of favour with them and loosing the contract :>(

It could be easily (and effectively) argued that d/w removal- manicuring those trees - was important in remaining engaged with the care of the trees and I suppose in that sense it was for the benefit of tree health...its not I suspect what is being argued by many you maintain d/w challenges tree health and longevity.
 

DSMc

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
I would strongly suggest that if any of us really believes that deadwood poses a serious threat to the longevity of any tree they consider the huge volume of evidence that would be available to support such a statement...and try to come to terms with the volume of evidence that suggests deadwood, its production and its management by the living tree is a consequence of many thousands of years of evolution....trees are shedding organisms, it is one big aspect of how they survive the stresses of their environment.

[/ QUOTE ]

"Deadwood is the life of the forest."

I think it is safe to say that most that have posted on this thread have not only heard this quote but recognise its truth. But what I find interesting is the staunch defence that if it happens in nature as it has for millions of years it is the right thing to do.
What part of the urban forest reminds you of a wild primitive area? If what is held up as a shining example of truth works in one situation, why is it not recognized by the scientific community or society as the model by which all things are achieved?
As an example nursery men and foresters should be thrilled in a one percent survival rate on their efforts, based on natural survival rates of seedlings. Injurious conditions such as fungus, bacteria or virus would not be altered in trees, plants, pets or people because we know that is part of natural selection that will insure that the weak do not exceed their potential.
Why is this not so? It is because we live apart from nature. I wish this were not so, but that does not change the fact that holding up nature as a gold standard is an argument of convenience and somewhat dishonest if you do not follow through with those thoughts in the rest of your life.

If deadwood was good for the tree as an individual, why is it shed?

We have plenty of proof before us on the benefits of altering natural processes for the benefit of the individual; co-dominant stems, bad unions, stem girdling roots are all functional parts of the tree yet are altered or removed on a regular basis with the purpose, whether visible or not, to improve the survivability of the individual. Yet these conditions have been around for millions of years. Is that enough to make them right?

Dave
 
Darn it Dave, I was going to say that. Now I read that entire thread for nothing.

Three care is, in it's most basic form, preservation. The competent and considerate practitioner will make each cut with an eye to future growth, modifying and regulating growth so that the tree can coexist in the urban environment with people and their structures. As Dave said, people will remove, or butcher a tree if there is a struck-by incident due to lack of proper maintenance work.

IMO the only thing deadwood is good for is habitat for associative biota. Anyone who has climbed in very old trees has seen what micro environments they are compared to their little urban brethren. The bad things that deadwood does is; pose a struck-by risk, weight down a limbs that is growing unnaturally because there is no shading out of large low limbs, occlusion of light to anything underneath. i could think of a few more if I sat here a while.

A healthy tree can take a little judicious wounding, it is only natural that a tree looses some wood each and every year.
 

SingleJack

Well-Known Member
Re: Dead Wood - recycling question

This has been an extremely interesting thread. There were some posts about 'recycling' deadwood under the drip-line of the tree. Certainly a good practice that I embrace but sometimes not always possible. Virtually all my climbs fall into two categories: hazard removal and cosmetic pruning.

Hazards, within a forest/landscape, are cut when they pose a risk to people, property or the forest/landscape plan. 'Drip-line recycling' is easy within the forest environment. However, recycling in a very un-natural, cosmetic 'lanscape' poses a very different problem. The deadwood and live-wood off-cuts cannot be left under the drip-line for cosmetic reasons.

However, over the years, these 'landscape' trees <u>appear</u> to do extraordinarily well, which <u>seems</u> contradictory - a VERY un-scientific observation. So then, what to do? What is the current wisdom about deadwooding and recycling as related to a tree in an cosmetic, un-natural lanscape?
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
Re: Dead Wood - recycling question

[ QUOTE ]


However, over the years, these 'landscape' trees <u>appear</u> to do extraordinarily well, which <u>seems</u> contradictory - a VERY un-scientific observation. So then, what to do? What is the current wisdom about deadwooding and recycling as related to a tree in an cosmetic, un-natural lanscape?

[/ QUOTE ]

I don't know that it is contradictory. People who hire you for tree care are likely also giving them additional care, and following your advice. There are probably other variables involved, in addition to dead wood and nutrient cycling, such as mulching, additional sunlight, removal of lesser trees/ plants in the landscape that are competitors, watering of landscape plants which helps the trees.


Storm-damage management, where pruning of live wood to reduce infections/ insects is different that removal of wood that has been "shut off" by the tree due to its lower productivity from shade. You may be performing beneficial services, independent of dead wood removal???

Its good your clients' trees are happy and healthy.
 
Top