Researchers Wear & Tear Redwoods ?? Ecosystem Impact

Discussion in 'Plants: Conservation' started by M. D. Vaden, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    After reams of visit to the redwoods, some pieces of the redwood ecosystem protection puzzle seem surprising. Some researchers and park staff want locations of the largest redwoods secret to reduce ecosytem impact. But it may be that the most wear & tear to these largest of redwoods is probably from research climbers. I just finished a medium size essay:

    http://www.mdvaden.com/redwood_climbing.shtml

    The intent is to stimulate thinking outside the box.

    One of those "Hmmmmm....?" sort topics.

    Where is the happy medium?

    Tree in image "The Strat" or Stratosphere Giant
     

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    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
  2. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Back in the 1960s, the US Atomic Energy Commission funded ecosystem studies in which a source of radioactivity was up and irradiating things part of the day; it would be shielded for biologists to do their inventories and assessments.

    If memory serves me right, the main source of disturbance at a rainforest site in Puerto Rico was the herpetologist, who overturned logs, raked, and otherwise did the things normal herpetologists do.

    Good plant ecologists tend to be aware of this problem. I wonder whether your essay could lead to a broader assessment of climbing problems in redwoods. Publishable, perhaps, in Natural Areas Journal or one of the conservation biology journals? There ought to be some scientific papers already--perhaps from Costa Rica or Panama, where canopy work in forests has been going on for a while?
     
  3. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    That may hinge on defining what is or isn't a "climbing problem".

    And likely needs a broader center of reference for feedback than just the group of climbers.

    I just Googled that Natural Areas Journal that you mentioned. The price connotes a serious thinkers and readers publication.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  4. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    http://www.naturalarea.org/ is holding its 2009 meeting in Vancouver, Washington. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a session on wear & tear issues. I've been a member for at least a decade. The only annual meeting I've attended was one held across the street from my office in Portland, regrettably during a busy week, so I was migrating back and forth across the street.
     
  5. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    The forum has what looks like Florida by your name. Still have an office in Portland?

    Noticed at the site the September meeting date.

    Will browse that site again.
     
  6. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    I had a very enjoyable three years in Portland, nearly a decade ago. Despite the current spate of snow storms, I'd be happy to return at some point.
     
  7. ToddTheLorax

    ToddTheLorax Active Member

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    RE: "Some researchers and park staff want locations of the largest redwoods secret to reduce ecosytem impact. But it may be that the most wear & tear to these largest of redwoods is probably from research climbers."

    This seems to be an issue where I live too. Substantial sections of public (state and city) parks are set aside to protect warblers and vireos, as if the miniscule fraction of land so "protected" has anything to do with their survival. The golden cheeked warbler for example is said to need mature juniper bark for its nests. So almost every park sets some land aside as if to say 'don't mess with our juniper bark' but those parks isolate only a tiny fraction of the millions of acres of central Texas that provide that habitat. It's not rare at all. It ends up being a waste of public resources to be enjoyed only by a few birdwatchers who are connected with this so called "preservation" effort. It's just a chance for some people to have a little something for themselves that they could not themselves buy to the exclusion of others who just want to use the small percentage of land that is publicly owned.
     
  8. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    I don't know the rationale for management practices in the Austin area, where bird conservation has been a vexed issue.

    There are lots of instances where wildlife suffers if humans use an area. Building roads is generally bad (in Wyoming, access for hunters with pickup trucks and of course poachers). But even hiking trails have evidently been documented to have negative effects. So "how to manage people" is a bigger topic than ever for wildlife managers (who have always called themselves "people managers") and conservation biologists. When I was a college student, long ago, I thought the outdoor recreation majors were a pretty bright bunch. I suspect that's still the case.

    Management philosophies for public lands vary widely. At the extreme, National Wildlife Refuges are closed to the public unless they are specifically opened.
     
  9. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    In the past couple of years, the redwood parks have elimated or moved some trails. The same could be an option for redwood climbing too.

    Just updated the redwood climbing page today ...

    After finding a forum post linking to what looks like an illegal climb video.

    Put the link in the top 1/3 of my page which this post started with. When I viewed the video in Google Earth, I browsed the tab for other videos from that user, for which no name shows there. But in some other videos, in the details tab, there was a note that more could be viewed at:

    treedr.com

    The context of the videos and details in the site, seem to imply that it's one and the same for a source. On the website, there is a photo with a file name that looks like it may be from 1995. The caption or comments show it's at a road and tree in Jedediah Smith redwoods state park. Surprisingly, it mentions a tree climbing class in the area, which would almost have to be in the same park.

    I also knew of at least one other photo album put online last summer, with photos of a recreation climb in what looks like Rockefeller forest.

    These don't just amount to just 2 people. When the forum posts, videos, albums and comments are all put together, it shows a network of people.

    Not sure if I'd consider these guys to be like "fellow arborists", but I have no problem linking to their videos, because Google Earth is a public viewing center open for the world to see.
     
  10. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    I've unfortunately spent very little time visiting redwood groves. What sticks in my mind from my first such visit, circa 1991, was how pristine the forest trail off of Howland Hill Road in Jedediah Smith State Park appeared. The trail didn't seem to have many users.
     
  11. ToddTheLorax

    ToddTheLorax Active Member

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    I'm hijaking this thread a little becuase I think it's a related to this gripe of mine. I'm sure wildlife suffers if even a trail is built in a wilderness area. But parks are set aside for human use and walking in the woods is a relatively low impact human use. Further, since there are precious few acres set aside for public use it doesn't make sense to allocate significant tracts for the sole use of birds and birdwatchers, when there is plenty of habitat for them to nest in elsewhere. Even if there wasn't, bird nest conservation is not a city park prerogative as a matter of law and in Texas I don't think it's consistent with TPWD statutory mandates either (at least not in this case). The mission of the parks department is to preserve parks for human recreational use.

    I agree we need to do more to protect pristine wilderness habitats, but only so much should come from public recreational land which is scarce at best. We need to remember that oftenit's the use of parks that makes people want to protect nature in the first place. If you reduce the recreational use of land (and, ergo the recreational users, you might end up hurting conservation efforts)

    As a practical matter I don't care about these "don't hike here zones - set aside for warblers" Because parks generally lack the resources to enforce their arbitrary rules.
     
  12. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I'm going to chime in because we have the same problem here in Ecuador with the older Cieba trees - damage from recreational climbers. The scientists are actually very good about how they ascend and descend (mainly rapelling off of higher branches) but amateurs leave horrid holes in the trunks (which are inroads for termites) and generally impair tree health. There is basically guano that the forest rangers can do about it, up to and including changing or eliminating trails. However, as Dave in FL points out, the bigger disturbance of these parks and areas is from herpetologists and entomologists, who turn over a great deal of the leaf litter in the normal course of their investigations.

    And Fellow Lorax, I agree completely with the whole "conservation area for birds" thing. We do the same boneheaded thing down here, and it doesn't do duck-all for the birds. The better route, which I've seen in a couple of public reserves as well as in privately owned areas, is to say (and put up large posters to the effect): "Please don't cut down or otherwise disturb these trees, or you will lose all the parrots. Since you like the parrots, it's really in your best interest to plant more of these." That particular campaign was successful in reforesting an entire valley of wax palm that had been cut for its parrafin, nearly causing the extinction of two species of parrot that were endemic to the valley and dependant on the palms. I'd say, never underestimate people's sense of guilt; the government here has basically shamed people into doing the right thing about their wild areas a number of times.
     
  13. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    I just found out some interesting stuff this week.

    When Preston wrote in his book The Wild Trees that Steve Sillett was the first to reach the old growth canopy, I suspected others probably had climbed there already. Preston basically denoted as much, in 3 or 4 sections of the book.

    This week I've been reading a story on CD called A Tree Story, by a guy who was in the climbing and logging trade starting back in the 60s or 70s. He's really into photography, seems to know how to invent gadgets, and enjoys nature and redwood forests.

    Anyhow, this story details and documents climbs - with photos - clear back to the mid-70s. By the 80s, bunches of guys and at least one woman had already been climbing, traversing tree to tree, and experimenting with types of gear, ascenders and techniques.

    So Sillett and Preston arrived at this party pretty late - like coming to a party after midnight.

    The earlier climbers were not into it for the research, but I think they had a pretty good idea of the basic nature of what's up there.

    Actually, even loggers would have known what was up in a redwood. Every time they dropped one, whatever was up in the canopy was down on the ground for observation.
     
  14. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The guy that produced A Tree Story and other books and videos is Gerald Beranek, just for info's sake. I believe you (MD) knew that already from another forum I have met you on. He is still active in the industry and his latest book was a year or two ago called "High climbers and timber fallers".

    best,
    Paul.
     

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