Mark Creighton, Elizabeth Arnold
Crane operation discussion.
David Shaw, Rick Meinzer
Forest research discussion with Elizabeth Arnold.
David Shaw, Rick Meinzer
Forest research discussion 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
0:03 LD- Ok, this is Elizabeth Climbing
0:15 Ambi, breathing, gear, metal climbing noises. Out.
0:44 EA- How many of these things do I have to climb anyway?
1:00- Louder Metal ambi to 1:16
1:40 Ambi Ends for climbing
1:49 LD- testing
2:00 Stepping noises again, DS talking in background with EA, MC and CC
2:33 MC It's kind of a shuffle thing getting everybody in here.
3:02 EA- There's the hatch, THUNK (FX grate drops at 3:02/03)
Cool place you have up here. It's a little hard coming to work in the morning isn't it?
3:17 MC- Not every morning, when we run the crane
3:21 EA- Cuz there's no other way to get up than that ladder right?
3:24 MC- That's it, 300 Rungs. I get that question quite a bit, How many rungs is it? Three hundred rungs.
3:30 EA- and then when you're going up and down you're probably thinking, oh is this number 10, is this number 11?
3:34 MC- Doesn't matter til you get right here.
3:38 EA- and I don't' know hwo many times I bumped my head on the cross bar there, it's like how many times do I have to do that until I realize that hey, there's a cross bar there?
3:45 MC- Ping, Ping, I heard you comin' up.
3:50 EA- What a cool spot though.
3:53 MC- Yeah, for tower crane operation¿Sweet. Beats the heck out of being in the city.
3:58 EA- Did you do construction?
4:00 MC- Oh yeah, for years.
4:02 EA- This is a way different thing isn't it.
4:05 MC- You bet it is.
4:06 EA- This is like the ultimate tree house or something.
4:09 MC- Yeah
4:10 EA- SO how long have you been doing it?
4:13 MC- This crane in particular, ten years, since the beginning.
4:20 EA- Well that explains why you were able to just drop us down into these pockets ..How do you do that?
4:30 MC- Of course you know the stand, and we've got a digital read out that tells you exactly where the hook is. And when we do like a study we'll go to whatever trees we want to go to and we will write down our coordinates, like say there will be ten different spots on a tree where every time we go we have our trolley, like for instance it's 10.1 meters out and our hook height is 3.1 and then our slewing or asmith? Is 2.1 degrees so we write that down and that's the spot. SO when we're setting up our study we can just start in and I can punch it, or I don't have to punch it in but I just look at my data sheet, hit my coordinates, and take em right to that and puts the branch right back in their hands again.
5:30 EA- I mean you were doing that with us, but how are you able to know where the holes are between the trees.
5:36 MC- Well I can see, we can see. You gotta have pretty good depth perception. Because a lot of people will be up here and they'll think, oh you're gonna run into stuff. But you just you know, you do it for a while and you know, I been running cranes since I's 19 and I'm 44 years old now, so it's not like my first rodeo.
6:00 EA- Wait we're moving right now.
6:01 MC- Yeah, we're slewing, or we're swinging, depends on who you're talking to. But see you can't feel that too much because you're in the center. We're slewing, we're still swinging. See the jib, look at the jib, watch it on the line of the trees, yeah. See and then the next function we'd probably do if we were gonna hit a gap out there is we'd do our trolley and then we'd do our load. SO right now we're doing three different things, we're swinging, we're trolleying out and our load is going down. And I'll see this hole, this is the same hole you guys were ino ver there, and that's that grand fir you took a picture of, so you just come in there. The wind kinda gives youa fit. It's pushing on my jib right now so you gotta kinda be careful about that, but try to keep things nice and smoothe all the time. And yougotta learn to work in arcs, cuz everyone once you get in there and think about straight lines, especially when you're swingin' n' you're always workin' circles. But if youc an trolley and load at the same time see, you don't have any problems.
7:17 EA Wow, but see to me it's like threading a needle.
7:21 MC- There is a lot of obstacles in this forest, but you get that quite a bit in construction sites too. It's kinda like, bang, rock solid stop.
7:36 EA- But now this one you could see, what if it was out there and youc ouldn't see the hole?
7:39 MC- Oh well, the bell man would have to get me lined up. It's called workin' in the blind. So you gotta trust 'em a little bit.
7:52 EA- But you didn't hit a single branch, the whole time we were out there.
7:56 MC- Not supposed to, (laughing) Yeah, we'll crowd the trees so that our researcher can work in there, but as far as just our basic movements we try never to crowd nothing, we try never to touch anything with our hoist line. That's kind of a rule in thumb when you're craning because you don't know if you're gonna be workin' something that's abrasive and saw your line so it's always kindof a rule of thumb, just don't be touchin' stuff with it.
8:30 EA- I mean this has to be a lot more difficult than a construction site isn't it?
8:32 MC- Ummm well, there's different aspects of it that can be more difficult because see, we're pickin' people, and that's all we do is pick people, but in a construction site we'll do everything we can not to pick people. Two things because that safety criteria that you have to go by is pretty stringent and plus, this is the production. When you got a tower craned on the site, it's the meat and potatoes and you don't want to have some guy tying up the whole job cuz he's in a basket. So.
9:15 EA- It must just be pretty neat sitting up here looking around.
9:20 MC- You know I've come up here in September the elk are buglin'? It's pretty cool, I can walk out on the counter jib cuz I do an inspection everyday. Make sure everything's cool, if there's any problems. And I be out there and you can hear the elk bugling and I've seen some pretty cool things in the ten years I been out here. It's been pretty awesome.
9:45 EA- You walk out on that thing?
9:47 MC- Well yeah, you have to have your full body harness on like when you guys got in the gondola. And we go out there and inspect the jib. Did you hear that noise? There's a horizontal power feed that goes to that power that has a vertical feed down the block and into the gondola so that they can have power. So this runs horizontal, but when the wind blows real hard it brings all the slack line, slaps it right back here. That was the sound.
10:25 EA- It'd be a pretty good job, a little bit of pressure.
10:29 MC- Well you know, as far as research goes, there's a lot of time we want to get a lot of stuff done but we never want to get hurt. We want, our safety is our number one priority. Since I've been running this crane at this site we've had zero accidents, zero rescues, 99.9 % reliability on the crane. We do a good job keeping it maintained and we do vertical rope rescue, we practice it. So that if we had a problem I could go in the back, I got all my riggin', I could come down there, repel down into the gondola and then set up a riggin' for you guys and bring every one of you guys down on the ground too. So we've gone through worst case scenarios over the years and addressed them, and a lot of it is, just don't run the crane. If things are gonna be all bad, just don't go runnin the crane, cuz there's always gonna be another day.
11:35 EA- When you first heard about this idea, what did you think?
11:40 MC- At the beginning it was hard for me to grasp really what we would do, and then over the years I've watched the research and learned a lot of the things that are happening and got to know more about the diversity, and um complexities of an ecosystem, and I'm goin' like, yeah there's a lot of stuff that we can do, but at first I was going like, What are we gonna do? But then I started to learn about carbon flux, but all these things and I'm going like, yeah a person could spend a long time workin' on this canopy. So I'm happy.
12:25 EA- But at first you were like, put a crane in the forest, What's that?
12:27 MC- But it bein in my back yard, I live 8 miles from here and I had been commuting to the other side of Portland which is a pretty tough commute. SO I was like, I don't care what they're doin, I think I'll apply for that job.
12:44 EA- What do you think about all the research that's going on here?
12:47 MC- It's pretty awesome, it is. I mean there's so many, well of course not being a scientist or being in research and then basically getting kinda enveloped in it, you know I'm startin to learn a lot and the more I learn the more I understand the more I understand, the cooler I think it is.
13:07 EA- Most people think of the forest service as patrolling campgrounds,not doing science.
13:19 MC- But yeah, there's quite a few guys coming out from the forest service doing a lot of work here, and of course, they're our support. I'm glad they're doing in because I can see the benefits. Youd on't always see that there's a question, youdon't go answer it in a day. Research, I don't care where it's at, forest canopy, medecine or what, if they could just get the answer in a day then we'd all be better off but you can't do it, it takes a long time.
13:54 EA- and some of the questions that we face day to day, whether we should be cutting here or cutting there. Is critical to answering some of those questions.
14:07 MC- Well they gather a lot of data, and they're putting together a puzzle, and I can see that at first I couldn't see it, but youc an see how certain things function in the ecosystem and they all come together and like, an invasive species will come into that ecosystem and virtually destroy it. So, it's pretty cool some of the stuff that they're answering.
14:33 EA- Well you're the lynch pin in the whole thing though.
14:35 MC- Wel them guys that are crunchin the numbers and developing the studies, they're gooda t what they do and they're persistent and most of em have a lot of passion about it too. Which is prettycool.
14:53 EA- For me that was pretty amazing. I thought I knew what it was going to be like but then when I was out there..
15:00 MC- I think everybody's the same way, when they , they don't realize, it's cool, people go ohhh.
15:10 EA- Well it's like being a bird.
15:18 MC- You know we'll do educational things and some of the younger kids, highschool age kids, advanced biology types, is the youngest we'll do for EDU, but you'll see em and they'll get their superman thing going and I'm goin like, I sure hope youguys learned something.
15:38 EA- Well this is a really old forest, an old untouched forest so there's a lot for them to be checking out. What else can I talk to you about. I've asked you everything I want to ask, except whether you like your job or not, whichi t's clear that you do.
16:07 MC- It's sweet, and we get to do a lot more than just run the crane. We get to go to scientific conferences and go to listen to other peoples viewpoints on their research and see how maybe the collaboration between our site and their site you know, there's maybe a missing link there that we can get to gether and do a study on, that's neat stuff too.
16:40 EA- I mean, there are other cranes around the world doing this stuff too, not too many.
16:44 MC- Right, I think the numbers around 8 or 10.
16:52 EA- but yours is looking at the oldes trees, and the tallest trees.
16:58 MC- It's right in there's some pretty tall trees in other sites, but we're the only ones in North America , we're the only ones really in a conifer stand, and it's unique and ours is the biggest, so. Longest jib, we have more coverage with our crane than any of the rest of them.
17:25 EA can you give me a sense of that? Does this go 360 degrees or not?
17:31 MC- The crane? Oh yes, it will go continuously 360 degrees and it's 5.6 acres that it will take in a pass. The jib's 279 feet long, which is pushing the lenth of a football field if people want to put it in that perspective, special jib, special length, it's a big crane.
17:59 EA So these scientists can pretty much get up close and personal with anything within 5.6 acres of forest.
18:09 MC- Yup, three dimensional space. You can see from here how trees crowd together, there's gonna be access problems in certain areas. You're talking about cylinders and we can cover it. There's no way to do canopy research like this. There's limitations of course, but you know youc an climb a tree, youc an go anywhere and climba tree, but you're gonna have a hard time accessing the outer limbs and getting a lot of data points. When researchers lookd for data they want a lot of sampling, well you're going to limit your sampling when you're climbing because it's just rough, it's hard to do. And it takes a lot of time as opposed to this. You know I could sample this tree, the one out in front of us, that's the tallest tree we have in our stand, that's tree 91. We could get samples from that off of both sides, huge amount of samples in an hour, where it'd take a guy about an hour just to get into the tree and he'd never get the samples we could.
19:17 EA- that one right there, dead ahead, that's the talles tree?
19:21 MC- right that's the tallest one in the stand, it's just the angle, you're looking at, it's shorter.
19:36 EA- the other ones that look like they're taller aren't really taller .
19:38 MC- uh uh
19:40 EA- now what is happening right now?
19:41 MC- We're weathervaning, I cut my brake loose see what was happening was the wind was perpendicular to the jib and I had my brake on and it's just so much of a sail that it just wants to take and rack the tower and I don't want the tower to be rackin all the time so I cut my brake loose and we're just doing what the weathervane, wherever the wind pushes us that's just what's going to happen.
20:08 EA- Have you seen this forest change over the last 10 years.
20:20 MC- Just a small amount with just windfalls, but by and large, no, she's real solid, looks real good, we've done so much research here you would think that maybe you'd devastate some of it, but really it's as good today as it was ten years ago.
20:47 EA- if you took a picture 10 years ago it would look the same?
20:51 MC- Yes, they slow down and we're in a good position to outlast the forest here as far as height because even if worse came to worse, we can put one more section whichi s about 20 feet. We'd hve to do a disassemble, put on a jacking sleeve but we could git it.
21:19 EA- you know you're way better off than those tree sitter protesters.
21:29 MC- actually there was a kid doing an aviary survey out here and one of his helpers helps him rigs trees, he's pretty much a tree sitter guy and he rigs trees for tree sitters and I'm going like, god that's gotta be boring. You're just up there and you're like, dang, I'm on a mission but..
22:00 EA- So it probably never gets hairy up here because it doesn't get hairy.
22:04 MC- No, I mean we have been up here at times when everything's been calm/beautiful and the sun's shinin' the bird's singin, plants alive and make a pick and go to our first station and just out of the blue, 40 mile winds, thunder, just came from nowhere oneday and it was on Friday the 13th but no, by and large, we don't get too bad of winds, or we don't work in bad winds, but I've been on construction sites, we work, tryin' to be safe, but you know you still gotta try to get production and you're just more careful when you're doing different things but we work in some pretty heavy winds.
22:56 EA- so you're probably never going to go back to that then huh?
23:01 MC- well you never know, never say never.
23:04 EA- but this is a pretty good gig I'd say.
23:06 MC- it was great for our family. I used to go into town, I'd be oh 6 7 days a week, at least 12 hours a day, I'd be the first one on the job and the last one off the job. So it's made it nice since I don't have to work those long hours and I'm close to the house and it's given me the opportunity, see I'm the head coach for wrestling at the highschool, it allowed me to do that, and I started a wrestling club which I never would have been able to do if I'd been in construction. So it's been really good.
23:45 EA- now you live out here, your whole life? Has this job and your time out here changed your perspective on the forest?
23:59 MC- Well yes, I guess yes and no, but I was always a pretty good steward of my environment you know, and it has in the aspect that I know a lot more than I did in the past, and I'll be hunting with friends or out fishing or whatever and we're going through the forest or hiking or whatever and they'll ask a question and I'll just know more than I used to.
24:33 EA- should we get some sound without me talking?
24:49 LD- can you give us your full name and how you want to be identified?
24:53 MC- Mark Creighton, I'm a research tower crane operator at the Wind River Canopy Crane research facility.
Talking about sound recording of crane
25:45 MC- oh I E33'd on that one that's a bummer, see it'll give me an error and usually if I tap it it's no big deal, but if I'm moving a little bit my sensors will sense that and then they'll shut the computer down whichs huts the whole crane down, and then I gotta do this..reboot.
26:20 Small talk about Alaska
26:41 MC- well we do night gigs, tree respiration, and it's late, a lot times, and we'll work a lot of time almost all night.
27:00 EA that must be kinda eerie
27:09 MC- well normally on a tower crane you'd put a bank of lights and light everything up but we don't' want to do that in the forest, draw all the bugs, we don't want to , we want to kinda focus in our area, and it's a real nice light, I'm gonna improve the lighting a little bit cuz it looks like we're gonna get some more night time stuff. I'll just swing around and trolley and stuff.
27:34 AMBI CRANE 31:40
32:25 MC- you know, guys that wanted to learn to be a tower crane operator and I'd run em through the ringer to see if they were gonna make a tower crane operator, I've had em climb halfway up, like when we were pouring concrete, like big concrete buckets, these things dip out, just bend over and I've had guys climb halfway up and then climb down and get in the cab, you know and this thing just rocks like this the whole time when you're pouring concrete. I've had em hangin on the super structure nad going like, when you set that concrete bucket down I'm outta here, I'm done, and I'm like, ok.
33:02 EA- yeah, I was getting a little dizzy just then..
33:14 MC- I guess I have more of a focus, when I'm going from point A to B you know I want to know where I'm goin, I won't move, I mean it's like, swing left , well, swing left, what do you want me to do, get a handful of swing left, what do you want? I want to know where I'm goin, cuz I can't get there if I don't know where I'm going. So I want to know how far everything, and that way everything's smooth and mello for everybody but you get people that are just , swing left, do this, and I'm going like, you're confused, everything you say is merely a suggestion, and it'll be please and thankyou and we'll all work together just fine. No sense in getting all stressed out, we got a good thing going on.
34:03 EA- Are these patches within the forest, these patches that have been cleared?
34:07 MC- that is what they call the Puget sale, you know how forest service has names for, that's the Puget sale, actually it's quite a ways away, it's just that we're so high up. I watch this clear cuts, with my binoculars you know, I'm an avid hunter, fisherman guy, and I'm always looking for elk and stuff like that and in all the years I've looked out there I've seen one elk, standing in that. I thought I'd see more cuz we see em in there when we're hunting. Did yousee em in the field this morning. Theyjust hang out there. Probably 30 of em.
34:55 EA- probably see fires from up here too.
34:58 MC- yeah we did, we spotted lightning strike right over on the hill there.
35:03 EA- youcould do double duty job here, fire tower and crane operator.
35:09 MC- well if I could get a double dip I would.
35:17 EA- This is great, thank you for doing this with us.
35:20 MC- Now when would this air
EA- July 1st, ME, when I find the exact time I'll let you know.
36:06 Tape stops
36:25 MC- now it's gonna be wet for one thing, take your time, there's no hurry, take it slow.
LD- wants to record coming down.
Recording talk about hard hats, cha ching cha ching 37:40's
38:21 MC You know my boy had the flew for the last three days and I thought god I'm diein up here, maybe it was my wife's breakfast. I feel better now.
38:50 MC and EA talking from above, Leo speaking from below.
39:20 EA coming down out: 40:49
41:03 Leo- Ok Elizabeth, any time
41:10 EA coming down rungs, good ambi
41:51 EA- so how high were we when we were up there.
42:03 MC- bout 240/45 feet
42:12 EA he's the sky king. Thank you so much.
42:28 DS- we were just gonna poke our heads in here,I didn't know if you wanted to have a look see and listen to see what goes on in that. That's the master cabin that has all the pumps and air flow stuff.
Entering room 43:00, machine background.
43:05 DS- This is a lot of the instrumentation that is automated, and all those tubes that are on the side of the crane are pulling gas down into these jars and then they'll be sent to various labs for analysis of isotopic contents .
43:29 EA- so the air collected up there comes¿
43:34 DS- right and all the pumps have to control that and all the data that's coming from the meteorological stations on come into here, these servers and we've got land lines so that people can call in and monitor the various weather stations and things to see that the equipment is operating effectively and they can download data.
44:02 EA- like a little electronic hub in the middle of the forest.
44:05 DS- exactly
44:09 EA- I bet you have a lot of people clammering to come do research here.
44:10 DS- well we're a field station, we're you know, f5 hours from seattle , three from cordalis, 1.5 from Portland. They're not falling over eachother to get in here, but we have a pretty consistent record of use so I think that's the bottom line. It's not that easy for folks to get to field stations and stay there for long times. People have families. They typically send their graduate students, spend the summer here.
44:50 EA- this would be for the carbon work?
44:53- This is for some work on Isotopes in the atmosphere and how forest vegetation controls.
45:01 RM- Isotopes in water vapor in the atmosphere, by the changes int eh isotope composition of the air they can tell what's going on with the forest in terms of transpiration and even respiration. The carbon isotoes change
45:15 DS- And these folks have a network throughout the country and we're just one of their hubs.
45:20 EA- how would I explain an isotope in a sentence.
45:24 RM- well of any element like carbon there are different isotopes, they have different atomic weight so there's an extra neutron or something like that. And in this case we're talking about stable isotopes because when people here the word isotope they think of radioactivity, but in this case these are stable isotopes like for carbon it's carbon 13 instead of carbon 12, for , naturally occurring, oxygen 18 vs. oxygen 16
45:54 DS- and plants differentiate the type of carbon they use, for example a nice healthy fully waterd plant would favor carbon 12 and would not favor 13, but when they're under stress and they have to use all the carbon that they can, they'll use more of the carbon 13 so you can differentiate stressed plants by the amount of these isotopes that youfind in their foliage.
46:26 RM- and then when they break the carbon down, carbon's broken down through respiration or through bacteria or fungi in the soil, the isotope composition of the carbon dioxide that's released will reflect to some extent the source of carbon, where it came from.
46:44 DS- so they're trying to track the sources of carbon through the use of these isotopes.
LD wants a minute of room 46:52 Ok ,we're inside this hut, little research lab, it has computers, it has servers, a big electric box, a whole bunch of canisters, tubing, actually that is connected to various trees and locations from these trees and they arrive here. I don't see a refrigerator, where's the beer here?
Ambi 47:38, machine room sound, steady hum out: 49:30
50:36 EA- once you get away from the crane it's pretty quiet out here.
50:40 DS- well as an Australian ornithologist told us, it's bloody dead, because they're so used to cacophony of the birds and here it's ¿This is electrical tower run out these trails east and west so researchers can tie into power to run equipment. This elevated walkway limits the impact of foot traffic through the under forest here and reduces soil compaction and damage. Feet walking 51:29-51:55
51:58 DS- So we're out in the forest and we have a hub here that was built by Mike Ryan and his associates to getting at that whole process of where compartmentalizing carbon and carbon distribution and how it cycles through the forest and what they're measureing here is almost like an octopus, it's got all these different arms that are going out in various directions that are basically tubing that is sucking gas in and measure CO2 in the gas so what this is measuring is gas flux from the forest floor so eacho ne of these tubes goes out about 15 or 20 feet to a device that's a chamber that sits on the forest floor and each of these chambers in various order closes their lids and measures the CO2 flux from the forest floor for a certain amount of time and then it opens back upand moves to another one and as you can see there's scattered all around us through the forest, and only one of these will be doing a measurement at any given time and that integrates a much broader amount of ground area and captures some of the variation that you get over the ground.
53:36 RM- and the CO2 is coming from the roots themselves they're respiring all the time and also things like bacteria and fungi are breaking downt he organic matter in the soil.
53:48 DS- this is measureing the amount of CO2 that's being released by the soil. These are called soil respiration chambers.
53:58 EA It's so wild to see that massive tree over there, and then the..
54:16 RM- nd some of these trees have reflective shields on them and under the shields there are sensors installed into the side of the tree so based on what we can see with the sensors we can tell how much water is moving through a tree in the course of the day.
54:31 EA- now that's part of stuff you're studying right? Determining, how long it took for water to get from here to where we were up in the crane
54:46 RM- right right, we inject a tracer, it's actuallyheavy water, it's got a heavy isotope of hydrogen,it's not radio active but it moves just like water once it's in the tree. We inject that in there and it moves up through the tree and then we collect foliage from the top and we extract the water from the foliage and we can tell how much of that heavier isotope of Hydrogen is in there, we can tell when the water shows up and when it disappears.
55:15 EA- see now, looking at that tree over there, we know a lot about what's going on in that tree nowadays don't we?
55:24 DS We do, we know about the biotic community that uses that tree that's symbiotic connected to the tree, that's living in the crowns, we know a lot about te physiological capcity of that tree. For instance you can tell us how much water that tree uses in a day.
55:45 RM- oh a tree this big, that's about a meter ind iameter, might use about 150 kg of water a day, that's about 50 gallons of water a day, and if you multiply that over the whole forest, that's a lot of water that leaves this forest in a day.
56:23 DS- it's going through the tree and then out the leaves at the top of the tree, cuz the water has to travel from these roots here, 200 feet up and out the pores of those leaves.
56:35 EA- how does it suck up that much water in a day?
56:38 RM- It's got a lot of roots
56:40 EA- fifty gallons?
56:42 RM- well it's got a huge amount of leaf area up there, needle area at the top. And the thing is, it's a dilemma that all land plants are faced with. In order to get CO2 inside the leave for photosynthesis they have to have pores there and once you open those pores the water goes out. It's inevitable, so you need to use a lot of water to gain carbon.
57:05 EA- I had no idea, I would have said 10 maybe
57:12 RM- well a tropical tree this size would use even more. We've been making some measurements in the tropics. A tropical tree might use four times as much water in a day.
57:28 EA- and this isn't even a rainforest is it?
57:30 DS- we consider this a seasonal rainforest in the lexicon of rainforests because we get about 100 inches of rain a year which puts us in the rainforest world but it's very strongly seasonly distributed so that we have very droughty summers and we only get about 10 % of our water in the summer so this is referred to as a seasonl temperate rainforest.
57:59 RM- and one of the things I was mentioning earlier is the way the trees are able to cope with the summer drought is that they have a dual root system, there's a dense mat of pretty shallow roots and there's quite a few deep roots that go down a couple of meters where there's usually abundant water for most of the summer . But the roots closer to the surface are usually more active in absorbing water and nutrients and that's the layer that dries out so what these deep roots do during the summer is they move water up from the deeper portions of the soil profile, it moves out into these shallow roots wher a little bit of it's released into the soil and that keeps these shallow roots from becoming non functional because the soil can get so dry that gas bubbles form in the roots and it blocks their conducting system. It's called hydraulic lift. SO without this hydraulic lift a lot of these shallow roots would just die off every summer, and that's a big investment in carbon for the tree. It wouldn't be desirable to lose all those roots every year.
58:58 DS- and the nutrients are concentrated in the upper layers of the soil where those roots are so that's one of the reasons they really need to maintain their roots.
59:06 EA- what kind of tree is that
59:11 Sudo sudo menzeegeyay (scientific name) we estimate it's between 400 to 500 years old. That's an old tree. 1500 is when we think this forest originated, so it's a very ancient specimen.
59:48 EA- we've had a lot of time to study it but we're getting there right?
59:49 DS- well I think having a canopy crane, construction crane in a tall stature older stand has given us access to taller, older trees that we really haven't had in a long term basis so that we can really study variation over the years and what's happening with these tall old trees. A lot of the whole tree research that had gone on prior to this was with smaller trees or nursery trees or trees that would fit in small green houses and now we're able to do this whole tree work with 200 foot tall trees and it really is expanding our general features of our understanding of trees, because they differ. A natural tree out in the forest that's very old and is very different from a tree that is very small nursery grown tree, they function very differently, so it's giving us a bigger picture, a much more inclusive picture of what tree physiology and growth and devlopment is all about.
1:0058 RM- one of the great things about this facility is that we're able to link what's going on below ground with what's going on in the upper canopy. People are measuring things from the upper canopy down to below the ground and basically the behavior of the foliage in the upper canopy is dictated by what's going on the ground. The trees rely on the environment that the roots perceive whether it's in terms of water or nutrients or soild temperature. SO we're able to link the behavior that we see up in the top of the canopy with what the environment is below ground.
1:01:30 EA- so you need to be studying both otherwise you'd have half the picture.
Both Scientists: exactly
1:01:40 Sound stuff, Leo setting up
1:02:10 silence, footsteps walking away, gentle hum of machines in forest, voices in distance.
1:03:30 Leo- it's starting to rain, walking away from buzzing.
1:03:44 Leo: I'm as far away as this little path way will take me to. I'm just looking into the forest, it's beautiful by the way.
1:04:22 Ambi of forest, gentle rain and no more hum Good ambi out: 1:09:22
1:09:55 Leo walking back to them on planks. 1:11:52
1:12:00 background talk, can't really hear, off mic
1:12:20's more walking in group, people's voices in background.
1:13:01 FX- large gate or bin/metal sound
1:13:29 footsteps walking away
1:14:14 end of walking
Leo walking: 1:14:39 out: 1:16:00
1:16:04 DS- so there is a group that's trying to put bars on the rainforest thing.
1:16:35 DS- interestingly, this particular forest is a classic old growth Douglas fir forest, and by that I mean it has large old trees, large old standing dead trees, so it has these snags, and large wood on the forest floor and a continuous canopy from the forest floor all the way through to the upper canopy, so those four attributes fit the classic definition of an old growth, classic Douglas Fir forest, also called a late seccessional forest, because in science terminology , in more scientific succession sequence this is an older stand. It has the structural attributes of older stands, big trees, big wood, big dead standing wood, and continuous canopy.
1:17:39 EA- did fire ever rip through here?
1:17: 41 DS- we believe the origin of this forest was fire 1500 years ago, a major fire, or perhaps series of fire over a decade laid the framework for this and we don't find very many trees older than this in this valley so we think that the fire of 500 years ago was fairly extensive. And left patches of some trees which were probably the seed source for the Douglas firs.
1:18:15 RM- Douglas firs are the oldest, the western hemlock's only about 250 or 300 years old.
1:18:22 DS- so the forest was originally colonized almost by pure Douglas fir with western white pine and probably a little hemlock and such, but basically the first 200 years the forest was probably dominated by Douglas fir with western white pine and over the last 300 years these shade tolerant species, western hemlock, western red cedar, pacific silver fir have moved into the stand and become much more abundant and as the Douglas fir slowly dies out of this fores the hemlock and the cedar wills lowly become the predominant species. And western hemlock has already become the predominant species in here. It's the older condition of the coastal condition. In the coasts there's a zone of really high rainfall where hemlock is, like on the tongas where that's the primary successional species.
1:19:39 EA- Rick what more do you want to learn from this place?
1:19:50 RM- well I guess we're studying some pretty basic processes that take place in the trees but there are also several species of trees here so what at least my group is looking at here is kind of what sorts of universal rules are there, if any, that apply to some of these processes across species, say Douglas fir uses a certain amount of water per day, tree of a certain size, western hemlock, does the given size of tree use the same amount of water reguardles off the species. And that will help in activities like trying to model what a forest is doing. If we have to look at each species separately and treat it as something unique then it's going to be much more difficult, especially in diverse forests, to predict what's going on in terms of rates of processes like carbon uptake or water loss, but if we can come up with some general rules that are related to the size of the tree or what the tree's architecture's like and how that dictates how the tree functions then we can have a little more predictive power in terms of what the forest is doing as a whole.
1:21:00 EA- Why do you need to look from above?
1:21:19 RM- well we need to get the whole picture, a lot of what's taking place is taking place at the interface between the vegetation of the tree and the atmosphere so we need to be there to figure out what's going on in terms of water vapor going out of the tree and carbon going in. If we're not there to monitor that it's really hard to figure out what's going on. Now we can measure at the base of the tree how much water's moving throughthe trunk, be we really also need to know what's going on in the leaves, how the stomata, little pores in the leaves are regulating the influx of carbon and the exit of water.
1:21:56 EA- so if you were just looking from the ground you wouldn't have the whole story.
1:21:59 RM- no, you'd have a part of it, sort of a limited view of what's going on, but you wouldn't have a real understanding of how the tree itself is controlling, you can see water moving through the tree and you may conclude that it might be a passive kind of thing, but unless we're up there to monitor what's going on in the canopy we can't tell how the leaves themselves are controlling the flux of water upward into the tree.
1:22:35 EA- the stuff youguys have been throwing around today¿ it's pretty amazing.
1:22:47 RM- Yeah I guess we tend to take it forgranted. I mean a lot of the technology's been developed in the last ten or twenty years and it's become more sophisticated and miniaturized and user friendly basically, for instance the instrumentation you saw up tat the top, the edie covariance instrumentation, that technique's been around for oh a couple of decades but it's gotten a lot better, the instrumentation and it's in a lot more widespread use, it's more sort of off the shelf in term, you still have to know what you're doing, to be able to take it and install it, and these flux measurements above the canopy are being made in hundreds of sites worldwide now to monitor sort of the carbon in the water cycle and tropical and temperate forests, in other kinds of vegetation, tundra even, and boreal forests, it's part of a worldwide effort.
1:23:44 EA- What do you want to learn from this forest?
1:23:49 DS- well we've come to understand that these old growth forests, one of the things the canopy crane gave us was an opportunity to study the canopy in a long term way that we really haven't had previous to this and so, in addition it's been a very synthetic kind of thing where we've been studying all the different biotic communities, the birds, thei nsects, the lichens, them osses, and we've come to understand, we've come to feel that the structure of this forest, the arrangment of the trees and the foliage has a profound influence on these biotic communities and the way they're organized and in particular, the upper canopy of these old growth forests with their well developed old trees, the dead tops, the amout of dead wood up there, the deep gaps that occur throughout the canopy have a profound influence on the biotic communities. And we'd like to begin to understand more the relationship between these structural features of the forest and the biota that live there and then the effect of this biota on the processes that we feel are important like growth and productivity of the trees. So we're starting to build up a body of information that links the biotic community with the health of the forest in general, why is the rate of herbivory so low, sequestering carbon, all of these things are controlled by the biotic community that lives here, not just the trees, trees are not alone, there's so many living things that are on them, there're 111 species of epiphytes, mosses and lichens that live on these trees, there's, we know there's 100 species of fungi that live in the ground associated with the roots of these, just mushrooms, another 70 species mosses and lichens that live just on the forest floor here, so there's a huge biotic community and the role that biotic community has on the health of the forest and long term sustainability is really what I think the crane's gonna be able to contribute as part of this broader picture of research going on in the windriver experimental forest and the HD Andrews experimental forest and the research program that the US forest servicee is contributing regionally. My interests are in the biotic community, the other organisms that are living in the forest and their contribution to forest health and sustainability. We know what's here, we have a lot of stories about how these things are interacting in the forest or controlling various forest processes but his is a phenomenal place to begin to synthesize and put a clear picture together on how this ecosystem is functioning and the role of these various biotic organisms in the healthof this forest, so I think we're at a point now with 10 years of data, plus of course all the other information that's been collected over the last 20 years or 30, 40, 50 years in forests of the Pac NW. SO we're really at a pretty exciting time.
1:27:41 EA- it's been what, 50 years of research?
1:27:43 DS- actually here it's been about 80 years of research, the windriver arboretum was established in 1910 so that's 85 years of research, 95 years of research. And now that we have all these monitoring techniques, we have the physiologists and the atmospheric scientists and the below ground peole and the mushroom people and the lichen people and we're all working together at one site, so the synthesis of the interactions and the integration of all those kind of factors are now a very real possiblitiy for us.
1:28:27 RM- I think the ultimate goal is to have a seamless understanding of how this forest functions starting from below ground up to the canopy, now that's pretty far off so that mean job security for some of us, at least that's the ultimate goal, to get this seamless understanding.
1:28:50 EA- if we have this seamless understanding, it will help us figure out how to manage what's left?
1:29:01 RM- yeah, it'll help us figure out how to manage what's left, how to sustain it, and just in cases where say a system needs to have some sort of recovery or regeneration, to help us promote that process if our intervention is needed.
1:29:20 DS ¿ and I think it also give us a better wayto predict what'll happen in the future given various management scenarios or climate scenarios. I think the main thing that ecologists are working on right now is predictive capabilities, how are ecosystems going to respond to various manipulations, either management manips like selective logging or clear cut harvesting or whatever, or how are these systems going to shift if climate changes one way or the other.
1:29:59 RM- for instance what if it starts to bel ike this all summer. It's raining today, usually it isn't this time of year, so what does that mean for how the forest is going to function if we have rainy summers.
1:30:06 DS- so there's a huge amount of prediction, in terms of long term sustainability and of understanding and managing ecosystems you want to know what is going to be the controlling factors that influence these things so you can predict kind of what the future may hold.
1:30:40 EA- what haven't I touched on?
1:31:04 DS- why is the government spending money on this sort of research? These forests have a lot of value both monetarily and ecologically and in terms of production of water, everything about these lands is basically a commodity kind of thing, there's a commodity of oxygen.
1:31:36 EA- but we used to think the commodity was just the trees, and now the Forest Agency is understandin that there's more, carbon, water,
1:31:55 RM- in a much broader context under the whole umbrella of ecosystem services and we touched on some of those, water, biodiversity,
1:32:11 DS- products such as taxall, the role of long term sustainability in forests. We need to understand more about ecosystems to manage those ecosystems for the long term. We're one research facility in a larger network. We're one component of the forest research service's research program that is trying to answer these questions so the long term sustainability of these systems is for future generations of Americans. I think that's why we're here.
1:33:00 Ambi, bird in distance, rain good
1:34:06 Forest ambi, same as above, VERY GOOD after Leo interruption Out: 1:36:57