Pacific Wren (pacificus Group)
Troglodytes pacificus [pacificus Group]
David Shaw, Rick Meinzer
Forest discussions with Elizabeth Arnold.
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
11 Jun 2005
- Thornton T. Munger Research Natural Area
- 45.83359 -121.89775
- SONY TCD-D8
- Sennheiser MKH 40
- Sennheiser MKH 30
Decoded MS stereo; Sonosax SXM 2 preamp
Show: USFS 100th anniversary
Engineer: Leo DelAguila
Date: June 11-13, 2005
LD- Leo DelAguila
EA- Elizabeth Arnold
RM- Rick Meinzer (spelling?) US Forest Service Pacific Northwest
DS- David Shaw Research Scientist at Crane
MC- Mark Creighton (crane operator)
CC- Chuck Cambell, assistant
00:02 LD- Hi it's Leo DelAguila and Elizabeth Arnold on assignment.
00:14 EA- I think this is our first
00:15 LD- Exactly
00:22 LD- Anyway, so we are outside of Portland. Elizabeth is driving. You won't believe what you are driving. You know what, I'm not going to put it on tape. Suffice to say that Darth Vader would be very proud of us. It looks like an empire vehicle. I'm just testing this. It's Saturday June 11 of 2005. It is Radex assignment, recorded in Stereo. I'm talking right now into two microphones. They are Senheisers, MKH series. The one that I'm talking to, on the left channel is the MKH 40, and the right channel is 30, it is MS undecoded recording technique. The mics then go into a sono-sax SXM 2 pre-amp. I have everything set up pretty much flat, oh no, I have the low frequency cut on, probably we'll be in a sort of urban park. So that's what's going on from there. From there I'm going into a Sony D8 Dat man recording at 48K and then I am monitoring using a Sony MDR75 06 headphones. We will start recording eventually but I'm just, like I said, testing, so¿Bye. (2:56)
Background noise, walking on gravel
02:57 DS- In 94 we came out here, after three years on the Olympic Peninsula where we were trying to put it up , quote un quote ¿logging wars¿.
03:16 EA- Oh you were trying to do the crane out there.
03:17 RM- They got tarred and feathered and run out of town.
3:20 EA- Well look at 'em now out there, they're doin' just fine.
3:26 DS Yeah they kinda, a lot of people..
3:29 RM Yeah XXX loves having em here, it's a big economic thing.
3:40 EA- Oh is it really?
3:37 DS- Well they closed this nursery and they've shut down the forest service so we're actually something that's positive and has potential for future development in terms of education and that kind of thing.
4:04 DS- So this is the Thornton T. Munger research natural area.
4:14 LD- Ok so why don't you give us your names and social security numbers (laughing)
4:21 DS- My name is David Shaw. I'm a research scientist at the Wind River Canopy Crane Research Facility and a University of Washington Employee.
4:33 RM- I'm Rick Meinzer, I'm with the US Forest service Pacific Northwest Research Station.
4:38 EA- Hi. (laughing)
4:48 EA- So you were just telling me, Where are we?
4:49 DS- So this is the Thornton T. Munger Research Natural Area. It's part of the Wind River Experimental Forest managed by the Pacific North west research station of the US forest service and we're in the Gifford Pinchot National forest. The research natural area is a little less than 1200 acre old growth forest that was set aside for research and study purposes back in the 1930's. There's a lot of long term data that has come from this forest and it's a very important place. And the Wind River Canopy crane was established here over 1994-95 and it's been operating about ten years in one area of this research natural area.
5:38 EA- Why was this spot chosen, do you know?
5:40 DS- For the canopy crane? This spot had a number of feasibility aspects that really met with what we were after. We wanted a natural, tall stature, old growth forest, something above 200, or around 200 feet because our construction crane really facilitates access to these tall stature forests and that's one of the reasons that Gerry Franken conceptualized the canopy crane in the first place was for access to these tall stature forests. But the area's flat, so the crane can swing completely around in a circle, and there was an existing road that went through this part of the forest so we didn't have to build any new road. And the road had actually been closed down and was no longer open for traffic, but there was still an existing old logging road from the 1930's and 40's so were able to find a location fairly much midway, it's about a kilometer of intact forest through this portion of the forest. So we situated the crane about halfway in, so it's got about 500 meters of buffers to the North and South in this research area, because as you know old growth is fairly fragmented, there's lots of cutting around. (7:14). And we have anursery here on the south edge of the iron A. And then we were able to pull electrical power from the nurseries operations here so it was actually one of our more expensive things to bring electricity in, so we have a 440 3- phase cable buried in the ground here. And that's how the crane runs, it's electric.
7:40 EA- Now this forest was logged before the 1930's?
7:45 DS- No this is a five hundred year old, un-managed, un-touched forest. There's been some minor cutting in the forest and there was a logging road through this area. No, it's a natural forest, the oldest trees we believe are between 400 and 500 years old, and those are the Douglas Firs, and they're reaching up to 200 feet, to a little above 200 feet. And then there's Western Red Cedar and Western Hemlock and Pacific Yew are the other really abundant trees in here.
8:22 EA- This is a great specimen right?
8:24 DS- This is a classic example, although it's a little lower productivity than a typical West side Douglas Fir old growth forest so we're on the moderate productivity. We're only Moderate to poor productivity here in terms of , like if you were to compare this with the Ho rainforest and the valley bottoms of the West side of the Olympic Peninsula where the trees may be 100 feet taller and much larger so this is uh very nice place, but in terms of that whole productivity gradient it's, but it was set aside to represent the low elevation old growth type.
9:07 EA- It is lower productivity just because of where it is.
9:15 DS- Correct. The soil's and the drouty, the summer drouts. Rick'll have more to say about that.
9: 22 EA- Let's go check it out.
9:24 DS- SO you can see this is a Pacific Yew. That's the tree that they get Taxsaw from. Are you familiar with Taxsaw?
9:32 EA- Yeah yeah, so which is it?
9:34 DS- The red barked tree with the stringy bark¿ this is taxsaw. The bark of Pacific Yew is where Taxsaw is highly concentrated, but there's not as much in the leaves and berries.
10:02 EA- So it comes right out of that bark. That is the most amazing thing to me.
10:07 DS- Oh, that they discovered a cancer fighting drug in the bark?
10: 10 EA- You know we threw that around , ¿oh yeah, maybe in some of these species that we don't really think that much about could be the cure for cancer¿ and then it's like THIS!
10:20 DS- Yeah, well, it's true. That's always been one of the discussions about that philosophy about saving all the pieces. And Pacific Yew, y'know everybody loves Pacific Yew cuz it's such a beautiful tree and it's got this really neat wood but it had really no commercial value so it was often ignored in the commercial forests, just another plant and then they discovered it's utility.
10:48 EA- I wonder what they do, do they have big pacific Yew farms now? How do they get all the Taxsaw?
10:53 DS- Uh no, they synthesize it now. SO they no longer require¿
11:03 RM- Cuz the harvest was devastating, you'd have to strip the bark off the tree. And that's it for the tree.
11:09 DS- It was actually kinda scary there for a few years before they synthesized it because there were a lot of poachers were going out and ¿yeah.
11:18 EA- Are we in the middle of a golf course?
11:20 DS- This is our crane operator and this is his assistant coming to fire the crane up.
11:25- AMBI Car pulling up
11:30 DS- Mark Creighton and Chuck Cambell
11:32 EA- Great to meet you and we apologize for screwin up your weekend or whatever.
11:35 MC- Oh, nope, there's no problems. We got it made. See you guys out there.
11:39 AMBI Car door closing, pulling away.
11:47 EA- That's what you want, you want a very efficient crane driver, on the ball, not sleepin' on the job.
11:54 Ambi- walking towards crane EA says, off mic, ¿nice forest¿ out: 12:15.
12:20 DS- We got a little ways to walk, just a quarter mile, few hundred meters.
12:30 EA- So you got all kinds of researchers doing stuff here huh?
12:42 DS- coming into the crane circle here so we've got a hard hat.
12:47 EA- Wow, is that how high it is up there?
12:49 DS- Yeah that's about 250 feet to the jib.
12:56 EA- That's high up there. You guys do your work up there?
12:58 DS- Well we hang from the baskets up there, no just a hook under, we have to get hard hats.
13:07 FX: Gate or door opening (to enter crane) more walking
13:16 DS asks Leo if he's got a hard hat on, Leo says no and to give him the biggest one they've got. Hard hat fumbling¿13:34, 14:25, ends 14:45.
14:52 DS- you have to put your hard hat on properly.
15:05 EA- Is everybody set?
15:11 EA- SO this is one of those French construction cranes.
15:15 DS- This is a grey jay, this is a family group of gray jays that have come in. They're a very important part of the forest here. They're primarily insectivores so they move through the forest constantly looking for large insects and other defenseless prey. Excuse me, I thought they might talk a little more. 15:57 Well we have a lot of bird studies here. We use the crane to do some work on verticle organization of the bird community and we currently have a grad student working in the Thorton T Munger, Adrien Woolf and he's tree climbing and putting a seat up in the tree and observing the birds and doing transects through the forest and he's trying to understand the foraging ecology of the birds and how dependent they are on epiphytes, the mosses and lichens that grow on the trees..
16:43 EA- Whoa, that seems so incongruous, you're in this amazing forest and suddenly there's this construction site. You almost think it's a bad thing, like an oil Derek.
17:01 RM- It's got a concrete foundation that goes down about 13 feet right Dave?
17:05 DS- Yeah the hole's 13 feet, the foundation is 8 so we went down about 13 feet and put compacted gravel so the footing of the crane is similar to what you see and it has some flanges and there's a rebar, and so there's about a million pounds of concrete, and the crane weighs I guess over 350,000 pounds and there's a low jib on the right there that's the access arm where the gondola will come down and pick us up from the hook there but the counter balance weight's there on the left, so it's a typical construction crane. We bought it used and it spent a decade in Hawaii building things and the last construction project this crane was on is the library in downtown San Francisco.
18:12 EA- Get out
18:13- DS- You know the circular library? This is the crane that built the library.
18:19 EA- Wow, so how tall is it?
18:22 DS- It's 250 feet to the jib there and then 285 feet to the top of the mast. The access arm's 289 feet long so it gives us about 5.6 acres under the swing of the crane. So we have access to 5.6 acres in the verticle, and then of that there's about 320 trees that we can access with the crane, because of the options.
18:55 EA- Oh they're just bringin' somebody's lunch up.
18:56 DS- That's the lunch bucket of the crane operator yeah.
19:00 EA- So tell me again, when it swings around the circumference would be, or the area that you can¿
19:10 DS- The area under the swing is about 5.6 acres so it's actually a fairly nice patch of forest.
19:22 EA- Would the trees ever get so tall that you'll have to raise the crane?
19:34 RM- At this point they're so large they're growing very slowly so they're growing just inches a year, and some years they have setbacks where they don't show any net growth in height.
19:48 EA- What's an average height for trees out here?
19:52 RM- oh, some of the taller Douglas Firs are 65 meters, 64 meters, Western Hemlocks are about ten meters shorter on average.
20:04 EA- SO the crane is pretty much swingin' around about how much higher than the tree tops¿oh I see, but you're in the gondola.
20:14 RM- Right, so we can go to any verticle or horizontal position we want, in fact the crane operator has coordinates, X,Y, and Z so he can take us back to the exact location that we've been to before. We talk to him via radio.
20:31 EA- Who came up with this idea?
20:34 RM- uh Allen Smith at the Smithsonian Tropical Research institute in Panama. He's an amazing guy and he's a tree ecophysiologist, was working in the canopy of the tropical forest and they were having problems, you gotta be pretty tough, tree climber, it's really hot, lotta bugs, stinging insects, bees, termites, rotten branches¿It's different than the temperate zone.
21:06 EA- so he was like, ¿there's gotta be a better way.¿
21:12 DS- and he had an epiphany one day at a construction site.
21:16 RM- Yeah, the first crane went up in 1990, 91 in Panama.
21:20 DS- Yeah he just leased a crane, he got some money for a concept and just went out and said well, how bout we just lease a crane and put it in the woods and start
21:30 RM- They've gotten money from the United Nation and some Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Norway have supported the cranes there. There's a network of about 11 canopy cranes worldwide and about half of them are in the temperate zone, half are in the tropics, places like Australia, Japan, Europe, South America.
21:50 DS- Right so we're part of what's called the International Canopy Crane Network and there's only 11 of us but we have a vision¿laughing.
22:02 EA- Ok, so what does it enable you to do?
22:06 DS- It gives us three D access to an entire forest canopy and it allows safe repeated access to location within the stands. It's an access technology, canopy access technology. Most people that want to get into the canopy, they have to climb trees or put up walkways or platforms for semi-permanent access to the canopy. So all these techniques have their place in the world of what your scientific interests are and how you're trying to accomplish answering scientific questions in the canopy but the canopy crane is sort of one extreme within the world of canopy access, they include balloons and canopy rafts that the French have invented for getting onto tropical canopies. So the crane allows you to get in a personell basket and you're lifted up from the ground, up into the canopy and you access the canopy from above, so you're coming down into the canopy into available gaps and open spaces around tree crowns and so you're accessing the most difficult part of the canopy to get to: the upper canopy, the outer canopy, the places in between trees and you're able to access trees that are unsafe to climb, snags, trees with heart rot, trees that are just physically unsafe to be in. You can access them and you can access their outer crowns and measure because essentially the productivity of the forest is really related to the upper canopy and the outer canopy, the foliage that's up there, that's where the highest rates of photosynthesis, and most of the action's going on, and that's the hardest place to get to (24:02)
24:02 RM- I was going to add something to that from the perspective of somebody like me who is a tree physiologist because what the crane does is give me the opportunity to study the tree as a whole organism because they're huge yet they're able to integrate and balance all their activities like photosynthesis and growth but prior to things like canopy cranes all we could do was access one part of the tree at a time and the analogy I like to use (24:26) is sort of like the six blind men and the elephant, depending on which part of the tree you're able to access you may come to a completely different conclusion about what it's doing or how it'sdoing what it does, photosynthesizing, growing. We can access the base, we can access branches anywhere and we can instrument it and figure out what's going on simultaneously as opposed to just getting to a limited part of it and just having that small window of what's going on.
24:54 EA- Is something going to drop on my head right now? He's just firing up the crane is that what's going on?
25:03 DS- So what they'll do is they'll bring that gondola down, put it on that test weight there, and lift that test weight and go through a general saftety check. We do this every day because we specialize in lifting personell, but typically on a contstruction site they would do this kind of thing once, prove the cranes set up right and then work, but because we really focus on people we do this safety check every day. SO we have a safety orientation that we're required to do by law. We have to go through this. This is a general safety orientation for you, so for people getting into the personell basket. We're going to put on full body harnesses they're hanging over here on the fence. These harness are class three fall protection harnesses so you're connected in the middle of your back and a lanyard is attached to the gondola at a specified point so if you fall it will protect your fall and you'll fall without hurting you back so they reduce back injuries by having this lanyard in the middle of your back. It's not a climbing harness. Ok so we'll fit the harness on, get the lanyards attached, hard hats are required at all times because we're in an area of overhead hazard. This is required by law. Now there are limitations to music when we're in the basket. The main basket is very stable so we can move from side to side but you have to keep your feet on the floor of the basket and your appendages inside the basket when the crane's moving. There are dangers associated with being 150 feet in the air so please follow all the safety regulations and safety tips. I'm going to be your safety officer in the gondola today. Now the crane runs on electricity and it'spossible that we could have a failure, power will go out, and we may get stuck up in the canopy and at that point we would have to evacuate the gondola if it turned out that the crane wasn't going to come on for a long time or if some other kind of emergency occurs,in which case we're gonna take two yellow dry bags up, they'll be in the little side basket of that gondola there. The bags contain two t300 foot ropes and all the rigging required to set up a descent system that I would set up and lower you guys to the ground one at a time and after everybody else was out I'd set it up and rapel down and follow you out.
28:05 EA- and we're hoping that's not gonna happen today.
28:08 DS- Hasn't happened yet.
28:10 EA- Oh really, I was thinkin' of how many times it's happened and I've been on a chairlift and had to go through that deal.
28:13 DS- On the slopes, yes, similar. Now the crane operator is also trained in verticle rope rescue as is Chuck and so if there's a problem and for some reason I'm incapacitated in the gondola the crane operator
28:28 FX Zipper going up on a safety harness perhaps?
28:30 DS- The crane operator has the same rigging up on the counter balanced jib and he'll bring the ropes out, throw the ropes over, and descend down the gondola and provide assistance. We also have backup radio, I'll have one on me and there will be two backup radios in the job box that will be inside on the floor of the gondola. No smoking in the R and A. They're going through a series of checklists through the crane that will determine (29:01 wrench and metal hitting metal sounds in background, off mic) if it's suitable for operations today. Does the user have any physical or mental disabilities that precludes exposure to heights or rescue that requires lowering from the personell basket?
29:12 All: negative, (all sign agreement)
29:40 Ambi- footsteps walking away, Elizabeth ask Leo how to spell his last name.
30:17 LD- Hi how are you, I'm going to record you setting up are you getting ready to strap us. Are you going through any more, ok so you're down and all that.
30:36 LD- What's happening here?
30:38 EA- Getting into my harness here, ¿on belay¿ every day a new adventure. You tell me what to do here (figuring out harness 31:00 buckle sounds)
31:20 DS- Then this goes through them both, and then back through the middle one.
31:32 EA- Thanks, ok.. (buckles 31:40) I suppose I should do this correctly because if I just didn't¿it would be a bad thing. But you guys have never had a problem yet.
32:09 RM- No, so far no, On the ones down in Panama we occasionally have a problem because one of them's operated by a generator which doesn't always cooperate.
32:30 Fabric/buckles ambi and getting ready. Then recording stops at 32:48
32:55 Ambi/FX- Loud metal sounds in foreground to general machine hum, people talking about set up.
33:10 You in? Are you in? EA- I'm hooked in
33:24 DS- Alright, we're set I think. (loud clangs in shut-gates in background)
33:28 DS- Ok mark, we're ready to go up on the load. Mark will take us to some pre-determined locations so we won't need to over-communicate with him. He knows exactly what he's doing.
33:41 EA- Communicating is good, we like it, it's sound.
33:47 RM- He could do it in his sleep, but he's awake.
33:51 DS- So now we're lifting off the forest floor and we're going to move up through a verticle 200 foot canopy and one of the major things we have come to understand about canopies is that they're vertical, vertical organization and the way the microclimate and the associated plant and animal communities are stratified throughout the canopies, you have different organisms at different levels and you can, the obvious thing you can see here are the epiphytes, the plants that grow on the other plants, and the moss and lichens and so in the lower canopy, below about 30 or 40 feet it's all dominated by mosses and liverworts. As you move up through the canopy: (34:35) We're about 80 feet now and we're in a zone that's dominated by nitrogen fixing lichens, loberio organa, and uh a few mosses but they're beginning to drop out. So you can see the canopy is very dense down low and as we reach up high (34:59: sound of disrupted nesting material) That was starling nesting material, they sneak into the block over the weekend.
35:10 EA- We're seeing a completely different perspective of the trees.
35:14 DS- Completely different, the perspective is more like that of a raven moving through the canopy than a person walking on the forest floor. (35:22) You can see now we're in the upper canopy there's no more mosses, no more nitrogen fixing lichens it's dominated by this old man's beard, this pendulous usnia and alectoria brioria lichens that hang from the trees. The upper canopy is very open, diverse, structured. You can see the old tall Douglas Firs dominate the canopy and the Western Hemlocks and the True Firs and the Cedars fill in around those giant trees. You also notice a lot of dead tops and a lot of flat tops. We think the forest has reached the limits of its height growth for here. Would you agree with that Rick?
36:09 RM- Probably yeah, and one of the interesting things about this type of old growth canopy is the degree of light penetration. If you look at a younger forest canopy it's a lot less open and a lot less light penetrates down low, but in this forest the trees are fairly widely spaced and they have long crowns with a lot of foliage, youd on't see that in younger trees. You don't see such long crowns. Crowns are maybe 30 or 40 meters, 100 to 120 feet of active foliage.
36:40 EA- Wow, this is amazing, I mean. I feel like a bird. It's very different than a plane, you're still ¿
36:54 DS- This is a grand fir here, we're right at the top of a 180 foot tall grand fir.
36:06 EA- That's a big tree.
37:09 DS- Do you see how long the crown is from 180 feet there's 140 feet of that vertical height has foliage on it. The crowns tend to be very narrow in these conifers. And also note the structure of the foliage in this upper crown here. It's very brushed up. It's almost like a handbrush turned upside down and the needles are very short and stout.
(37:30) Now we're gonna drop down the crown of this grand fir and you can observe how the foliage changes from the upper sun foliage down here into the shade.
37:46 EA- It's not as brushy, not as ..
37:50 DS- You notice how it's flattening out and becoming very two dimensional ? The leaves are much longer in the lower crown, they have a thinner cuticle on them, they're more oriented (38:03 FX: catching/bumping of crane briefly behind talking) so that every leaf maximizes the light that they receive.
38:08 RM- But not all of it's a light response. What we find is that there's actually a height effect on how much trees can grow. And uh, part of it's due to the force of gravity acting on the water in the tree, as the tree gets taller it gets increasingly difficult to get the water up there, and to keep it up there, nad living cells to expand need a positive water pressure inside so if you've got this heavy water columns hanging onto the cells in the top of the tree it's much more difficult to maintain a positive pressure to expand. SO that's part of what's going on here, that's why these needles near the base of the crown are larger than the ones at the top. It's light plus this effect of gravity and there are other effects which may in part explain why taller trees tend to grow more slowly.
38:59 EA- Now I could imagine just going up here and sort of hangin out and having a really good time. But I know you guys do a lot of work. I started seeing some instruments on different trees. What kinds of things are you doing up here? And what is a tree physiologist?
39:22 RM- A tree physiologist is someone who tries to understand how trees function basically , how they integrate and balance all their activities. Many people may be used to thinkng of trees as inert objects that are just there, but they have a lot of things to coordinate, just like any other organism that's alive. They carry out photosynthesis, once the carbon dioxide is assimilated in photosynthesis it gets transformed into other things that get distributed throughout the tree, from the crown down to the roots. There are things moving up from the roots, nutrients, water, sometimes plant hormones, so it's a pretty difficult balancing act and it gets more difficult the bigger the tree gets to coordinate all it's activities. In fact we've found in some cases that the stomatle pours, the tiny pours in the leaves where the CO2 comes in nd the water vapor goes out, they can actually sense what the water conducting capacity of the roots is, and they may be 250 feet away.
40:27 EA- What are you workin' on now?
40:30 RM- One of the things we're working on that I started to explain a minute ago is why tall trees grow more slowly. There's a couple of reasons. One of them as I mentioned is gravity. As you get further and further away from the soil the water columns in the tree get heavier and heavier and that can retard growth. There's also the effect of path length. As trees get taller the water has to go through an increasingly long path through these tiny little pipes in the tree and that implies that there's a resistance there to the water movement so that can slow down growth, slow down the movement of water, so we think that both of those things may be involved in why taller trees grow more slowly. Just a longer path length plus the effect of gravity itself. In a study we did a couple of years ago we showed that as yougo from the base of the crown of these tall trees to the top of the tree, the water pressure inside the cells actually decreases. WE call it turgor and leaf cells need that to expand and grow. SO the lower the turger or the water pressure is the less they can grow. SO we found that out. (41:55) I was going to talk about what goes on below ground. Because the canopy's not just a floating entity up there.
42:00 EA- Right, and you can figure out what's going on from the canopy?
42:05 RM- Well we do both, we make measurements in the canopy and below ground simultaneously so we can figure out how what's going on below ground affects the top and what sorts of feedbacks there are. One thing I was going to mention about the Pacific Northwest is pretty famous for being wet. And this forest gets about 100 inches of precipitiation a year, but most of that falls in the autumn, winter and spring when the trees aren't doing too much and they really can't use it. The summers are really dry. A prolonged drought of two to three months is not uncommon. SO what we found is that these trees have a high concentration of fine roots in the upper one foot of the soil, but that's just the layer that dries out quite a bit during the summer and if that layer dries out too much what can happen is air bubbles can form in the conducting tissue in the roots and they can no longer conduct water. But these trees also have deep roots that take up water from deeper portions of the soil profile and they actually redistribute it to the shallow roots and it actually comes up from depths, leaks out of the shallow roots, and keeps the soil just wet enough to keep those roots functioning, to keep them from dying. It's one of the below and above ground interactions.
43:24 EA- It's pretty amazing when you are up in the tree tops to think that the nutrients and the water can get up this high.
43:37 RM- Yeah, well in fact we did an experiment a couple of years ago to find out how long it takes for water or nutrients to get from the soil to the tops of these trees, and some of these trees it can take two or three weeks. What we do is we inject something called a tracer and then we go up to the top and monitor every day for several days and see when it appears and some of these it takes two to three weeks for the tracer to appear at the top and the tracer will reside in the tree for a couple of months. SO there's a huge volume of water in these trees that kinda turns over and mixes with this tracer.
44:20 EA- I saw a little whirlygig thing in one of these trees¿
44: 25 DS- Yeah there's several devices that you can see the white structure yous ee over on that, strapped to the tree bark there is a respiration monitoring device. It measures the amount of carbon dioxide that comes off. It's not currently being used. Theycome up and we'll dock essentially with the tree there and Michelle Prine will extend a device out and hook it to that chamber and create a mobile field chamber and measure the amount of carbon dioxide that comes off the bark there. And one of the main research topics at this facility has been the carbon cycle. And it was initiated by the western regional center for the national institute of global climate change based in Davis CA Tom Sickanic and Susan Oosten got this program going and they're using the canopy crane as one of their main field sites for research concering western forests and carbon cycling. There's a large program of research here that's associated with what's going on with the carbon in the forest.
45:41 EA- Can you explain what carbon cycling is?
45:50 DS- As you know the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere appears to have some influence on atmospheric dynamics, on heat exchange in the atmosphere and that kind of thing so that there's a lot of interest in just what carbon's doing. Much of the carbon in the atmosphere actually cycles through vegetation annually because trees take carbon dioxide out of the air and fix it into forms that are useable to plants and animals so that's how wood is made, that's how leaves are made. They're pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere. But then as plant parts diea nd fall to the forest floor they're either decomposed and it goes back into the atmosphere as respired carbon you know from the generation of CO2 from metabolic activity of the decomposers, or it gets stored n the soil as soil organic material. SO the question is how much carbon is moving through this vegetation. How much is it influencing the atmosphere? And are various forests and plant communities, including the ocean and diatoms and algae, how much CO2 is actually being pulled into the systems and how much of it gets sequestered,how much gets compartmentalized and stored in soil or in the bottom of the ocean or in logs and is the rate of decomposition releasing more to the atmosphere than is being absorbed by the plant community.
47:30 RM- It had been thought previously that old growth forests are probably carbon sources, that over the course of the year the net amount of carbon will be toward the atmosphere, that is the forest will be releasing carbon because of respiration.
47:45 DS- Old decadent forests give off more carbon than they absorb.
47:49 RM- or at best it's a kind of a zero balance, neither accumulating nor losing carbon, but the several years of measurements that have gone on here have shown that over the long haul the forest seems to be a carbon sink, that is it's still accumulating and storing carbon most of the time. Some years there's some severe conditions where they'll have losses of carbon but most of the time it seems to be still gaining carbon, even this old forest.
48:12 EA- Now, I know I'm not supposed to be putting value judgements on this, but that's good right?
48: 18 RM- Well in terms of controlling the rise in atmospheric CO2 that's good.
48:22 DS- Yeah a lot of the carbon talk you hear about and planting forests to sequester carbon all has to do with this ability of forests in particular to pull carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in wood primarily and as that usually decomposes fairly slowly, a lot of it ends up in soil organic matter. So the process of the carbon cycle in vegetation communities in general is a very very huge part of understanding the dynamics of carbon in the atmosphere and the implications of adding more carbon to the atmosphere so uh, there's been a lot of interest in understanding that and this research facility through the work of the western regional center, the national institute for global environmental change has really turned this into one of the hubs of carbon research in the northwest.
49:27 EA- So when you look at forest from below or on the ground you can get a sense of the importance of forests in terms of holding water and cycling water. From up here we can try to understand the same thing when it comes to carbon and ¿
49:44 RM- Also water because the same instruments that measure carbon flow between the atmosphere, carbon exchange between the forest and the atmosphere also measure water vapor so at a whole forest scale we cans ort of get a snap shot of the CO2 coming in or going out, or the water vapor.
50:06 DS- We're at about 67 meters above ground, about 230 feet and we have a prettygood view of the research natural area and it's fairly L shaped and you notice you can see the old growth because of the structure of the canopy, the color of the canopy associated with the huge amount of lichens.
50:30 EA- You know, I can't. You can see tree differences from up here and I can't. I need to see the bark.
50:37 DS- Well do you see to the north of us there's sort of a line between two forest types. The forest on the right is about a 70 year old forest, and that is fairly even looking tree tops, almost xmas tree tops, there's not a lot of deadwood sticking up in that canopy and you don't see a huge amount of lichen, that greenish gray texture, and then if you look to the left it's much taller, it's more uneven, it's very patchy, you see deadwood sticking up and you see crowns just full of lichens which gives it this much different color texture.
51:17 EA- So how old would that be?
51:20 DS- SO the stand on the right is about a 70 year old forest and the stand on the left is a 500 year old forest so you can really see the distinction in the canopy structure from a young stand to an old stand here. And then as you look in close here, look over the side you can see these tall crowns and the very bright green that you see is new growth, and that's new growth, that's this year's growth of all those so on that hemlock you can see it'sorganized very differently than on these true firs here. You notice how the new green buds seem to cover the branch completely. Whereas on this Douglas fir and this grand fir it's all at the end of the branch tips. It's much different.
52:11 EA- So you guys can basically come up here and tell the operator OK, I want to go here or here
52:22 DS- Correct but there still needs to be a lot of pre-planning because there's safety considerations for the operation of a crane this large. So there's usually a meeting with the scientist and the crane operater before so he's fully aware of what we need to do and at that point then we can go out and he's aware of what we're trying to accomplish.
52:54 EA- How was it for you guys when you first came up here?
53:01 DS- I thought it was pretty sweet. I mean the access is amazing. We're coming up right now to a western hemlock tree. This WH tree is about 180 feet tall and you know, climbing trees is a fairly physical experience and in addition you tend to break branches and then you can't , you're afraid to necessarily to go the last 15 20 feet of a tree crown often has some weakened branches and things. SO being able to get into a gondola and just sweep up to the top of a very, what looks like a very unsafe tree. (53:43) For example this tree here is heavily infected with a parasitic plant called WH dwarf mistletoe. And you see these grayish green shoots that look very distinctive and do you notice how clumpy the foliage looks? That's the parasitic plant those are the arial shoots of H dwarf mistletoe. They only get about two to four inches tall. You can see some more right along thetop of that broom there. And it creates a defirmation and branching, causes this extreme branching structure that we refer to as a witch's broom and it creates a very clumpy structure to the canopy so for example if you look at this tree and back behind you over there you can see there's a large infection center. The H Dwarf M is heavily infected these six trees right here. And if you look at this tree over there on the left, that's a healthy crown right there with very lacy foliage, very elongated branches, and then you compare it to these infected trees which have very clumpy branches and it's a very different structure. So this parasitic plant has a huge effect on tree growth and forest crown structure in this forest. Now this is a native plant. It's a parasitic plant so it does have very significant influences on tree physiology and health and water use and the amount of carbon that's being aquired by that tree, but it also has effects on the structure of the forest which appear to be beneficial for some wildlife species, creates nesting platforms and these kinds of things that are utilized by birds and animals.
55:27 EA- I mean it looks like a place that you would want to hang out¿
55:30 DS- yeah, it's a little more protected, they're clumpy, they're flatter, so various animals and squirrels are known to use these structures. Now the dwarf mistletoe is really amazing. It spreads by explosively shooting it's seeds. SO it's seeds pop in September and the seeds will shoot upwards of 40 to 50 feet. This mistletoe is different than all other mistletoes. Most M's are spread by birds but this one is self dispersed and because it shoots seeds form the plant the structure of the forest becomes very influential in how this organism spreads. SO you can right here there's these three Douglas firs , they're immune to this mistletoe and just on the other side of the Douglas Firs those hemlocks are unaffected and they're growing nice and healthy. Whereas on this side of the Douglas firs where we are we're in a very intense infection center where these trees are very infected with Dwarf mistletoe. SO Stand composition and structure really control the spread of this parasite.
56:48 EA- and you can figure that out.
56:50 DS- Well we have a stem map. About 30 acres of this forest we have every tree down to two inches diameter at breast height is physically mapped and we followt he growth of those and we can then look at the forest in terms of the explicit spacial organization of uninfected and infected trees and do some research on the spread of the organism. We also have looked at the organization of these aerial shoots and they're skewed to the high light environment of the upper canopy so these are really light loving organisms and to really flower and reproduce they require this high light environment. SO it's really from the upper canopy here that most of the seed sources being generated.
57:47 EA- So again, access up here..
57:51 DS- The access has been phenomenal. It's really provided us some opportunity to integrate the ground level spacial stuff with what's going on up in the canopy and we've been able to do physiology studies so Rick and his colleagues have done a lot of amazing work with . ..
58:08 RM- Basically how the mistletoe affects the functioning of the whole tree at different scales from the branch level to the whole tree. The mistletoe intercepts a lot of the nitrogen that normally would go to the leaves. So the leaves can't carry out photosynthesis as well so we've estimated that these heavily infected trees on a whole tree basis are taking in maybe 50% less carbon, same holds true for water. After a longterm infection the mistletoe causes entire branches to die off. These heavily infected trees are losing about 50% less water than a healthy tree.
58:46 EA- How'd you feel when you first came up into¿
58:49 RM- The thing that struck me was the symmetry of these conifer crowns, looking down on them. You can't get that from down below. If you look down at them, at the branch tips, especially straight down, you can see this incredible symmetry. And it's quite different from a tropical forest. I've been on canopy cranes in tropical forests and that's very a lot of variety in the tree crowns, they're not nearly as symmetrical.
59:18 EA- It's quite beautiful
59:21 RM- Oh it is, especially when there's new growth at this time of year at the ends of the branches, the different gradations in color from darker to lighter green.
59:30 DS- This forest is very different from typically when you think about forests and you hear about tropical forests there's this concept of the forest roof, and how there's this, way up high in the canopy there's this impenetrable layer of tree canopy and liana's and vines all growing within there and epiphytes and vermiliads and all these kind of things whereas in this temperate forest the concept of forest roof seems to fall apart and it's more canyons and spires and that kind of structure here and so we really don't have this flat canopy roof it's a much much different structure, and it's because I think it's conifers. This is the classic structure of coniferous forests. The gaps that you see are more octopus shaped they're not this classic really nice round gaps where you get a tree fall and a kind of classic round structure.
1:00:37 EA- Which is why this instrument is a good thing to have in a forest like this.
1: 00:43 DS- Yes, because it's such a complex structure and there's a lot of canopy gaps and a lot of space within the crowns we're able to move the gondola around in here much more effectively than if it had been a very intense upper canopy. Even in the tropics they find these things very useful. The Panamanians, or the Smithsonian Tropical Reasearch Institute has two of these cranes, one on either side of panama and the Australians have a nice one and there was a nice one down in Venezuala for a while.
1:01:20 RM- The one in Panama they've actually discovered, with cranes, species of insects that are new because they had always lived in the canopy, they never came down to the ground so people never saw them.
1:01:30 EA- You must get a great look at some birds from up here.
1:01:36 DS- WE do, the bird community is very interesting up here. Coniferous forest birds, it's not like being in the tropics where you're surrounded by thousands of really loud birds. It's much more subtle. Early morn9ing is when we hear a lot of the birds. If you listen now, we're hearing a red breasted nut-hatch in the distance. (can't hear the bird) and pretty much nothing else. But we do get some really good views. The red crossbills are seed eating birds. Large flocks of them 50-80 individuals will descend on these hemlock crowns and just move down through the crown feeding on the cones . Chestnut backed chicadee flocks we get these mixed flocks in the fall and the winter of the year round resident birds, the chestnut backed chicadee the golden crowned kinglet the brown creeper, the hairy woodpecker that move through the canopy in these loose groups.
1:02:39 EA- do you cruise by their nests at all? Are we too high?
1:02:42 DS- We occasionally go by their nests yes, but we stay away from their nests if we discover a nest. We try to avoid nests if we find any. We haven't been doing the kind of research that involves visiting nests.
(one more stop)
1:03:07 DS- We can then, depending on weather, move to another area. Climb the tower?
1:03:37 DS- As you can see these platforms are about 20 feet apart and the ladder goes up the platform and then moves to the other side. It's not one continuous ladder for 250 feet it's alternating ladders.
1:03:54 RM- We were talking about the carbon cycle a few minutes ago and these instruments you see here at the top of the crane are ultra fast sensors for measuring carbon dioxide, water and windspeed, because what happens when you've got gases like CO2 and water vapor exchanging between the forest and the atmosphere. It's done so in turbulent eddies of air so these instruments are for an edie correlation or covariance system and they just measure, they track the movement of these gases in these eddies of air and it can tell you whether there's a net upward or downward movement of a particular gas like CO2 so that's how they determine whether there's a net outflow or inflow of carbon over the course of the year. They monitor this continuously and generate just reams and reams of data and look at the balance of whether carbon's moving in or out over the long haul.
1:04:46 DS- and then we have these instruments that are going up and downt he crane here so we have a vertical profile of meteorological stations and then another eddie covarian at 30 meters and then another eddie covariant station on the ground so they're able to integrate vertically these processes that they're measureing with these instruments. This is a collaboration with Western Regional center, the National Institute, the USFS and the U of Washington.
1:05:22 EA- Why do we want to learn all this stuff?
1:05:23 DS- Well the whole concepts behind the original canopy access has to do with a more integrated ideas about managing healthy landscapes and ecosystem management. The transformation that the USFS went through was from a focus on management for commodities to a concept of managing entire ecosystems for multiple outputs. SO they want the information is going into the general body of knowledge associated with the ecology of these forests and how you would manage them from the perspective of the whole eco system and minimize loss of biodiversity and maximize commoditities when they're available.
1:06:18 EA- SO over the last hundred years we've moved from ¿how do we get out the cut?¿ to ¿how do we manage this whole forest for everybody and everything in it?¿
1:06:30 DS- Essentially I would say that's perhaps true but the complexity of forests and the ecosystems and the role of biodiversity in the health of the forest has moved to this concept of ecosystem management because that provides benefits for the greatest broad spectrum. Essentially we didn't have an integrative tool to get at the entire vertical structure of the canopy and the canopy crane has really excited people about forest canopy research in the northwest. Our little four hectare patch of forest is not going to provide all the answers but there's so many hypothesis driven questions and those kinds of things from studies that have been done here that we now want to see them expanded on a regional and national or regional basis to sort of understand what forests in the Pac NW are doing.
1:07:42 RM ¿ Yeah I think we've moved from largely observational measurements of how the forest behaves , how fast a tree diameter or height increases, to more of an understanding of all the processes that control that. If you're going to manage forests in the long term or understand what's happening to a forest, say as climate changes, you need to understand these processes. And the understanding of these process is incorporated into what we call process based models that can generate predictions that we hope are going to be somewhat accurate over the long term.
1:08:11 EA- But not just to find out how fast a tree grows.
1:08:14 RM- No to understand why and how, what are the particular sets of conditions that contribute to a certain type of behavior in a forest and why, and that would enable us to go into a similar forest and make more or less accurate predictions as to what is going to happen or has happened.
1:08:32 EA- I think most Americans think of the Forest agency as an agency, ok they build roads, there's rangers that cruise around. But they don't think of the Forest Service as a cutting edge research agency.
1:08:49 RM- Right there're two branches, most people come in contact with people in the Forest system that are involved in maintaining camp grounds etc. but the FS has another branch that's administered through a series of research stations distributed across the country, including Alaska and Hawaii where we do do, we'd like to think, cutting edge basic research.
1:09:14 DS- You do. This guy's one of the most cutting edge people on the planet.
1:09:24 EA- I mean it is, and I don't think people understand that.
1:09:26 DS- It's within the mission of the FS, I mean I work for the U Washington, but all our funding comes throught he USFS and we're cooperators in this program, so I can't speak for the USFS but I really feel like they have embraced their broader mission with the research station and they have a lot of cutting edge research that they're doing on all aspects of forest biology, ecology, economics, sociology,
1:09:59 RM- disturbances in the forest, fire, and other disturbances and the long term effects of that, hydrology, the water cycle, cuz that's gonna be an issue in the NW in the coming years is the increasing pressure on water resources and forests are an integral part of that system that supplies water.
1:10:15 DS- Yeah the researchers that have been working here on the hydrology found that about 20% of the precipitation that comes to this canopy is captured by the canopy and never makes it to the forest floor, so there are a lot of implications in the water cycle also. SO the interaction with forest canopies and the hydrological cycle and erosion and stream dynamics is all very tightly linked. There's a body of information that's growing and as the information reaches critical thresholds you get synthesis efforts and then more and more work goes on and then there's another synthesis. You can't really begin to synthesize until you have a critical mass of it that begins to point in certain directions in terms of controlling factors on forest growth, biodiversity, forest health.
1:11:17 EA- DO youthink that Jerry's initial idea has been realized here.
1:11:22 DS- Yeah definitely. I think Jerry's very enthusiastic about the productivity of this field station and how things have , scientifically have come together for the research program. The role of the canopy crane is sort of bringing together a broad diversity of scientists from multiple disciplines that then begin to collaborate and work together. And that's been probably one of the most phenomenal features of this facility has been the wide diversity of people, you know atmospheric scientists, below ground scientists, canopy scientists, various biologists, ecosystem ecologists to specialized biologists that look at one aspect of the lichens or the mosses or the insects. But when they all get together and, and then we're building a data set through long term monitoring at this facility that will then always be available to researchers that work here. SO when you come here you will have a huge body of information that you can build your science on. We have a stem map, we have the vegetation described, all these processes, the amount of litter that's falling to the forest floor, these kind of things, all the climate stations.
1:12:54 RM- All the climate data that are collected with these sensors along this profile here are available at a website that can be downloaded.
1:13:02 DS- Would you like to go one more stop in the canopy before we go to the forest floor.
EA- sure, yea
1:13:08 DS- Mark we'd like to go to one more location before we knock off. Can you find us a canopy gap to drop down to about 20 meters or so.
1:13:28 (Radio) Mark :alright
1:13:37 RM- I was just going to tell you this little three pronged thing it's a sonic monitor. It tracks wind speeds in all directions by emitting ultra sonic waves sort of the Doppler effect, if the wind's moving away then the frequency of the sound will decrease or if it's moving towards the sensor.
1:14:05 DS- Yeah initially we were visited by a lot of biologists who had various insects, lichens and mosses, forest biology types of interests and it's really moved to more process oriented, long term research.
1:14:32 EA- but it must have been so neat to all of a sudden have access to the tree tops.
1:14 39 DS- You know there's always been tree climbers but this is the tool that gets everybody up into the canopy. You don't have to be able to do one armed pull ups and stuff.
1:14:57 EA- but even if you could, you wouldn't be able to get into those canopty tops
1:15:00 DS- correct, there are those that could shoot lines and erect systems. There're some pretty skilled climbers, believe me. For example this tree we've got rigged for climbing and we'll be climbing it in the future. Same with this tree, do you notice these black lines in the trees?
1:15:27 DS- Oh, there's a red-breasted sapsucker.
These trees are rigged for climbing because the gondola can't get to the trunk area of the tree. Where in an area like this we would have to tangle our cables with the branches to get to the bowl of the tree. SO to do research on the bowl of the tree , at the same time we're doing research outside this outer crown we actually put a tree climber in these trees. And these trees have been rigged by Michelle Prine from Oregon State U and she's working with Mark Carmen and Mike Ryan on studies of carbon dynamics in these sites and these trees. And michelle has this really amazing study, one component of her study is to investigate heart rot in trees, and it's very difficult to investigate heart rot in trees and we can use external indicators: a fracture like that or dead branches or a conch, of a fungus and you can estimate fungus but it's very difficult to estimate how much carbon is being lost. What she is working on a project using a new device using a new device called a tree radar and it's using ground penetrating radar technology. You put an instrument up against the bowl of the tree and it shoots a radar into the tree and then you move the instrument around the trunk of the tree and it shoots a radar into the tree and it shoots into the tree the whole way around and it will integrate a picture for you that gives you a circle and attempts to determine whether or not there's heart rot in the tree. Later this summer Michelle's gonna be leading a project where we're hiring some arborists and she and I will b climging and the gondola will have the person with the computer and the cable going to the tree radar and we're going to climb nine of these trees and do the tree radar ever two meters down the tree and get a complete internal profile of these trees. Being able to do this at the crane site will be very helpful. It'll be very helpful to have the computer and the person with the computer in the gondola and all they have to do is run the instrument.
1:18:07 EA- this must be what it feels like to be a bird
1:18:12 DS- yeah you can imagine birds flitting between these crowns. The thing you have to worry about is for that hawk that's up above you comin' down and nailin' you. We have raptors in this forests and owls, the bard owl has replaced the spotted owl in this forest. We also have the northern pigmee owl and occasional goshawks, sharpshin hawks, coopers hawks.
1:18:38 EA- but we're just kinda danglin' in the forest
1:18:41 DS- so you can imagine for a climber or just for access in general we're able to sample the atmosphere between these trees in the gap, we're 60 feet above the ground. It's a phenomenal access tool to be able to take transient measurements and as Rick was saying the operator has an XYZ for our location here so if all we want to do is sample air at a certain point we can take that XYZ and we can come back to that point repeatedly. And all we have to do is tell the operator, take us to position A and he'll have the coordinates for that position.
1:19:23 EA- what kind of science were you even doing, if any, in forests 60 or 80 years ago.
1:19:30 RM- Oh 60 or 80 years ago it was mostly growth measurements.
1:19:35 DS- It was here that they were doing that research too. The Wind River Experimental forest was established in the 1920's and 30's over a number of years and this is where a lot of the original research. SO for example they didn't know whether forests, Douglas firs in particular, regrew from seeds storeed in the soil or whether seed had to come from the tree itself after logging. Because a lot of plants do respond from seed stored in soil. Douglas fir does not, and they determined here at wind river that Douglas fir required seed from available or nearby trees to regenerate a sight. SO a lot of that basic understanding that we take for granted now was all done here at wind river in terms of the basic sylvex tree growth, the basic understanding of what trees require to grow, how fast they grow, what kind of spacing to plant trees at, is it 10 by 10 or 20 by 20 all these kinds of things, do they require fertilizers to maintain productivity. All of these kinds of questions were investigated here at windriver.
1:20:56 RM- What kind of sites are better suited for a given tree series, Douglas fir vs. western hemlock.
1:21:01 EA- So we've moved from studying how trees grow to how trees fit into the whole, or how their growth affects the whole.
1:21:16 RM- I think you could say that, especially with elements of the functions of the ecosystem with the carbon and water cycles, what role trees play in that.
1:21:32 DS- Yeah I think the whole aspect of managing the whole, how and why the diverse biology of the forest influences tree growth, you know why do you really want to save all the different kinds of fungi in the forest, are they planned ecosystems. A nd the forest service has been a leader, particularly in the below ground and above ground, these new cutting edge areas of what controls the below ground system, how micorysie, these fungi that are symbiotic with trees help trees accumulate water and mineral nutrition. What the role of these lichens are. For example this particular lichen that we see right here, this leafy thing, it's also called lung wort. That' s a nitrogen fixing lichen so that lichen has a cyanobacteria, or a blue-green algae that is a symbiotic with the fungi in the organism and they fix atmospheric nitrogen and Marie Antoine did some work here and modeled the climate with known physiological measurements she took in the lab and determined that on average these lichens, that species of lichen, loberie organa is contributing about 1.8 metric tons per hectare, per year to this forest. That lichen is serving a function, a small fertilization function, but it's bringing nitrogen into the system. Which is a fairly that's the kind of thing that we didn't necessarily think about. This particular kind of lichen doesn't show up in a forest until it's about 200 years of age so it's considered, it's not an old growth dependent species, butit's a characteristic of older forests
1:23:43 RM- One of the great thing that's happened here and in other forests is kind of a meeting of two branches of science that had been separate previously, there were hydrologists working on the physical aspects of the water cycle, versus people working on vegetation and how vegetation processes water and takes it up and transpires it but now there's a meeting of these two branches that's called eco-hydrology or hydro-ecology that I think is going to be quite productive.
1:24:10 EA- SO not just looking at the role of water from below.
1:24:16 RM- but how the vegetation effects the water cycle but how the water below ground and that in turn affects vegetation, the interactions, the complete cycle, thel iving part of it and the soil part of it.
1:24:32 DS- WE've had some birds moving here: This is a red breasted nuthatch, it's a year round resident here. And this is a chestnut backed chicadee, and these are insectivores, insects, they're present the year round and they're constantly gleaning the trees. The CB chicadee tends to be more in the foliage and what we call a foliage insectivore and the nuthatch tends to glean insects from wood and bark, there' s variation on those themes but these organisms are here year round and they're constantly eating insects and they're having what we believe is a fairly significant influence on the insect communities in these forests and they love juicy caterpillars and the caterpillars eat foliage (1:25:33 BIRD AMBI) That particular bird was a winter wren, and that is also a year round resident but it's an understory specialist. It lives in the understory and eats insects in the, on the forest floor and in the canopy, whereas chickadees really love the forest canopy although they forage everywhere. Some of the studies we've done on birds here have shown that this old growth forest, there's sort of a general shift. In the spring and the summer the birds tend to be fairly equally distributed in terms of species number4s and such through the canopy whereas in winter there's a strong shift to the upper canopy and mid canopy because the snow pack keeps things fairly cold and apparently there's a lot of activity going on and so with this diverse structure, very deep canopy there's a lot of thermal warming they can do and there might be more insect activity during the winter.
1:26:51 EA- You were starting to talk about the relationship between the birds and caterpillars. The birds are ¿
1:27:01 Chicadee and nuthatch , Right they love caterpillars this time of year and the caterpillars eat tree foliage and shrub foliage so that by eating these caterpillars the birds are reducing the amount of herbivory that insects have on these old growth trees and we think there's a complex of factors going on but these trees are experiencing some of the lowest rates of herbivory in the world the rates of herbivory, they're losing less than 1% of their area to insect herbivory, typically in an eastern deciduous forest maple trees might be losing 9 or 10 percent of their area to insects. WE don't know if that's specifically related to birds, or there's something about conifers in terms of their structure, their leaves the chemicals in the leaves that limit. There's also really abundant spider communities here and the spiders are big time predators and the birds are eating the spiders too. So there's a lot going on. For an old decadent forest, it's got really low rates of herbivory and we see higher rates of herbivory on the understory, on the vine maple, the broadleaf species on the forest floro we're seing herbivory up to about 15% / 20 %of leaf area being lost.
1:28:40 EA- But on the whole this forest doesn't get eaten as fast as other forests, and we're trying to figure that out.
1:28:48 DS- SO far we've just been doing the descriptive work to sort of understand what the process is and what the rates of herbivory would be. Our next step would be to look at the process more and what's controlling that. Whether it's leaf texture and chemical comp or whether it's these birds.
1:29:14 EA- Just a healthier place for birds to be?
1:29:16 DS- Well old growth forests tend to have more resources, for example if you're a squirrel and you eat seeds. If you're in a pure Douglas fir forest you're very susceptible to the annual variation and the amount of cones that are produced every year. There's a strong seasonality to cones and birds like the nuthatch and the chicadee also depend on seeds at various time sof the year. Whereas if you're in an old growth forest like this it has cedar, hemlock, Douglas fir, pacific yew, they eat the berries of the pacific yew, they eat the berries of the pacific yew also. So in any given year, the likelihood of all three species having a poor cone crop is less likely than if you're in a stand with only one tree species. A lot of species tend to do better, tend to be more abundant in old growth forests for that particular reason, particularly in winter.
1:30:25 EA- It's a smorgasborg. That was a great view I just saw that bird just go right over there into that hole in that snag and then come right back out. It was small. Chicadee?
1:30:37 DS Yeah, they're cavity nesting birds. Chicadees are dependent on that heart rot we were talking about for their cavities. The red breasted nuthatch that we saw is a cavity nester, the chicadee is a cavity nester, there he is¿
1:30:59 EA- I feel like we're sort of spying on them here.
1:31:09 DS- Well the chicadee didn't even pay attention to us, it almost flew through the gondola there.
1:31:15 EA- but do you know what I mean, it's like we're not really
1:31:20 RM- Forest is just going about it's business.
1:31:26 DS- Well that's what we've done, we've used the gondola to survey the forest by hanging at ten, then we hang at thirty, then we hang at fifty meters and we sample, we observe the bird communities at all these different heights. SO there's about 50 species of birds which utilize this forest with aobut 20 to 25 of them being what you'd call common. But the year round residents are really, in this forest, are very important, and the neo-tropical migrants, the ones that move in for just a short period of time are very important but they only represent about 20% of the avafawna here, the neotropical migrants do.
1:32:24 Leo stops to rearrange his hat.
1:32:31 DS- I just realized we were looking at one of those trees, this is the classic thing that happens with that rain on snow where the top of the tree breaks off and you get that forked tree look and you notice this tree's forked also. They broke off and you get competition with the leaners. Are you ready to head down, do you have enough?
Leo: wants birds and ambi and crane
1:33:44 LD- The morning chorus must be incredible huh?
1:33: 51 DS- when the birds were setting up their research..I mean their breeding areas. That was a euphemism.
1:34:14 Forest Ambi, can't really hear birds, only drone of crane
1:35:22 shuddering of machinery
1:37:12 LD Ok, that was about 3 minutes
1:37:22 EA what's that whirlygig over there?
1:37:26 DS Yeah, we can go visit one of those if you like. That is a custom made a rodo rod spore sampler. That's sampling spores in the air, it has a glass tube, glass rod that's covered by glycerin and it just goes around and the spores and pollen just stick to it. They custom engineered those. That's Jeff Stone Julie Kerigan and Dan Manter doing a project. They're studying a leaf disease of Douglas fir. It's a fungus caused disease caused Swiss needle cast and it's very important in the plantations of Douglas fir in the coast range of Oregon right now, there's an outbreak going on, but it's also a native disease and it's present in our old growth forests and they're studying the microclimate variable associated with where the infections are occurring in tree crowns and in addition they want to look at whether that's related to the number of spore loads, so they have thos systematically organized. That's a really amazing project. It's sort of an example of the really amazing people that get attracted to the canopy crane because of it's unique access capability. They're able to use the crane to dock at you know, 80 feet, 100 feet, 120 feet and they can put them throughout the crown of the tree and they also have instruments that are measuringt the microclimate, the temperature, the humidity, the light environment of those particular locations in adition so they know about the physiology and functioning about the leaf, the infection, the amount of infection of the leaves around that sampling device, they have all themicroclimate date, they have the structural data from our forest inventory and descriptions and they have all these vertical measurements plus the spore loads so it's a really amazing study.
1:39:58 EA- so we should get some of the crane moving.
1:40:22 DS- Well mark what we'd like to do is head on up and on our way down, but we'd like to stop at the top of the canopy for a couple more questions and then head down.
1:40:38 Crane ambi going up, to 1:41:44
1:41:49 EA- This is a pretty incredible research opportunity that youguys have here.
1:42:01 RM- Sure, it's almost unique. There are only about 10 or 11 of these worldwide and each one is in a slightly different forest type so we don't really have another one of these in an old growth forest so we don't really have a way of knowing how similar or dissimilar forests like this are from eachother, but at least it's a start.
1:42:24 DS- And this is the only one of these in North America. We're hoping this is going to change in the future. WE'd love to see a series of these across North Am. And I think as people realize, as studies of forests continue in north America that a few more cranes will show up to help key understanding to the full three dimensions of forest in various types across North America, including CA and MEX. It'd be really phenomenal to have one of these in all the different types, southeast pine forests and north east maple forests, across boreal Canada, there are some phenomenal things that can be done. SO we do consider this a very unique research opportunity and research facility that has provided us with the opportunity to get up and study forests in their three dimensions with such an amazing tool. It's the sky hook everybody always wished they could have.
1:43:40 EA- It's the ability to see these trees in all their different.
1:43:50 RM- Right, I mean trees are huge organisms, they're sort of like the plant worlds' equivalent of whales, so how are you going to study a tree if you can only get to one restricted part of it, say the base of the trunk so how are you gonna figure out what's going on up in it's crown. With the crane we can get to almost any part of the tree we want, install instruments, sensors, make measurements, and figure out what the tree's doing and how it's doing it.
1:44:16 DS- and how the associated biotic community is being influenced and influencing the trees too. What everybody is focused on now adays is forest system health and ecosystem health, how itall fits together, what's healthy, what isn't healthy, and how do we maintain sustainablitity and health of the forest. And I think this is one of the key suite of facility types that help us get at that question.
1:44:46 EA- It is the ultimate sky hook isn't it.
1:44:48 DS- It is, especially one this big, this is one of the largest canopy cranes on the planet. In the west and pacific northwest we have the tallest trees, essentially in the world if you include the redwoods, but this is a phenomenal access tool from that perspective too because it gets us into the tops of the tallest trees in the world.
1:45:23 EA- I don't want to go down you know, can you tell?
1:45:28 RM- Compared with some types of research facilities they're not all that expensive to operate really so it's hard to understand why there aren't more of them actually.
1:45:35 DS- Yeah it was 1.2 million dollars to purchase and site this, which isn't that extreme really.
1:45:46 RM- and it costs about a half a million dollars a year to run.
1:45:49 EA- I mean I think if this wasn't here, if this got yanked, how many incredible projects would be cut off at the knees.
1:46:00 DS- Yeah I think it's true and there are researchers using climbing techniques to access trees and do some really incredible research. The folks in Northern California are studying redwoods that way, and that's all tree climbing. SO you don't absolutely have to have a crane but it really does facilitate and it becomes sort of a magnet for research and it has really stimulated the field and contributed to the whole field of integrating whole forests biology and ecology.
1:46:40 EA- I have to have one now
1:46:43 DS- Well we understand youguys just got a recreational canopy up in Southeast Alaska.
1:46:57 EA- I want to take a picture from above looking down.symmetry
1:47:22 DS- yeah there's a bunch of great pics on our website. (In Mic) Yeah can we trolley out about 10 meters. About another 5 meters please. (Ambi 1:4816 of crane movement again)
1:48:36 EA- You know it almost looks like a little shrub.
1:449:39 DS- that' s a 130 tall Christmas tree there.
1:48:56 EA- and you guys have good pictures on your website.
1:49:09 DS- Ok mark, we're ready to head down and these folks'll climb the tower and come up and visit you.
1:49:16 MC- I'll be happy to do the interview but they gotta know that I got the flu.
1:49:25 EA- that's fine
1:49:30 DS- I was gonna have chuck come up with them. Does that sound ok?
1:49:38 MC- Alrighty
1:49:39 DS- Chuck'll climb the tower with you. And then once you guys get up there we can talk about whether or not you want to have us go up or you can get what you need.
1:50:01 EA- do you mind going up?
1:50:18 Leo to get sound on way down starts 1:50:27 Birds at 1:51:38
1:52:26 DS- about three meters¿easy. (1:52:45 FX landing sound)
1:52:50 EA- that was really cool. You know it's amazing how he can do this and we didn't touch a single branch, not a single tree.
1:53:07 DS- Marks' depth perception is phenomenal, that's part of the reason that he's such an amazing crane operator
1:53:30 un strapping noises, harness talk.