Leave Tree Project

The goal of the Evergreen-DNR Leave Tree Project is to help forest managers use results from forest canopy research to help determine which trees to leave when harvesting a stand of trees. This project hopes to articulate how statements of policy that determine which trees to leave, e.g., "leave those trees that increase wildlife habitat", might be made more specific, and to refine definitions terms used when specifying leave tree requirements, such as: complex structure, broken tops, large branches, crown gap, continuous crown.

The Leave Tree Project is currently gathering and analyzing data on how experts categorize crown shape and what they mean by certain commonly used terms such as “wildlife tree”. We hope to develop an understanding of how crown structure relates to ecological values such as wildlife habitat. We are distributing a questionnaire and tree structure catalog to a panel to experts. The answers from the questionnaire will help us to determine commonalities that might be used to query our database for trees that satisfy certain structural features that, in turn, equate to particular ecological values.

This work, prior work on the Canopy Database Project, and the field work of Nadkarni and VanPelt has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to Cushing, Nadkarni, et al, at The Evergreen State College: CISE-0639588, DBI-0417311, DBI-0319309, DBI-9975510, and DBI-9630316, and inspired by IIS-0505790.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the official views, opinions, or policy of the National Science Foundation.

For information about the Leave Tree Project, please contact Judy Cushing (judyc at evergreen dot edu) or Fred Martin ( fred dot martin at wadnr dot gov). Other participants in the project include: Lead Programmer Lee Zeman, Juli Mallett, and students Natalie Kopytko and Nik Molnar at Evergreen, Lois Delcambre and David Maier at Portland State University.

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