Tree Damage and Their Sufferings

This topic submitted by Jay Axe, Matt Cottrill, Paula Moran, Neil Rosenthal ( at 9:53 am on 9/28/00. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Myers

Lab Proposal
“Damaged Trees and Their Sufferings”


More damaged trees exist on the fringe areas of a forest than on the interior of a forest. Consider this lab as possibly forms of damage will be insect infestation and wind damage. To gather information for this topic, we will be examining damaged trees within the proximity of Western College of Miami University of Oxford, Ohio.
In first researching the topic of trees, we specialized in the Osage orange and the effects of landscape location on the tree’s general health. Upon researching this species of tree, we found that the Osage orange species are extremely resistant to damage and are equipped to gather water in any location. Also, these trees are too sparse to study to find effects that the landscape has on the general health of the Osage orange Tree. While studying these trees preliminarily, we stumbled upon the realization that due to impending season change the Osage orange tree would soon be loosing its leaves and all the green monkey-brained shaped fruit had fallen of the tree. Therefore, obtaining accurate data under these circumstances would be near impossible.
While out observing Osage orange trees, we had noticed one particular tree with extreme damage to its lower branches. This made us think about tree damage throughout the forest. After we had realized that we could not pursue the Osage orange tree lab and we were considering our other options, we decided upon studying tree damage as a whole. Then, in attempting to apply tree damage to the universal class theme of landscape ecology we decided to compare tree damage between different landscapes. With further group analysis and discussion our lab group decided upon narrowing the focus of the student generated lab to comparing tree damage between the fringe and interior areas of the forest. After researching our new student generated lab topic, and discussing the research we hypothesized that the fringe areas of a forest would receive more damage because they are more exposed to the natural elements, and the trees on the fringe area of a forest are exposed to different types of landscapes. The trees on the fringe are exposed to the fringe landscape, part of the interior landscape of a forest, since that is what it boarders, and then whatever landscape lies on the other side of the fringe from the interior section. This other landscape is normally a more open landscape, a grassy landscape, a corridor landscape, or a landscape whose tree population is far less dense than that of the interior, or fringe of a forest. It was thru all these dicussions, periods of research, analysis and deductions that we finally emerged at our final hypothesis that is submitted in this lab packet.

Relevance of your research question

Our research of other studies about tree damage had many types of studies. The articles contained research about what caused the specific tree damage. One article describes certain tree structures that make trees prone to damage, but does not say what locations make trees prone to damage (Sunset). Another study describes how Long-Horned beetles specifically cause damage to Maple trees in the United States (Milis). For classification of trees damaged by wind, one article uses the terms bent, leaning, snapped, and uprooted (Cooper-Ellis et. al.).
Our research expanded on type of damage to find out where tree damage occurs. This knowledge can be used to know where trees should be planted in order to ensure their safety from tree damage.
Materials and Methods
Doing this lab, we will be compiling information via the class’s data collection on charts that we will provide for them. In preparation for this data collection, we will be using a GPS unit to locate 30-40 damaged trees within walking distance of Western campus. These trees will be damaged by either infestation or wind damage. They will also be located along the fringe of wooded areas and interiors of patches as well. Before having the class gather data for our lab, we will be assigning them certain trees to investigate. In addition to the chart we will be giving them, we will provide a map of the trees’ locations, the types of trees, and possibly the heights and diameters of the trees. In order to find the heights and diameters, we will need tape measures and a rangefinder with which to accurately portray our results. We may also flag these trees with orange ribbon, in order to make them easier to find during the research class period.
Here is a preliminary example of the chart that we will provide:

Tree Type
Type of Location(Fringe of Interior)
SizeHeightDiameter Trunk: Crown:
Type of Damage(Insect or Wind)
Characteristics of Damage
If wind:1. Broken limbs?2. Angled growth?3. Missing Bark?
If insect:1. Dead limbs?2. Rotten spots?3. Insect holes?4. Missing Bark?5. Insect Nests?
Distance to closest 3 trees (of any type)
Distance to closest infected tree
Distance to closest infected tree of same species (If it exists)Is this tree infected?

Using the results from this chart, we can accurately describe what type of damage occurs most often in which area of wooded areas and whether or not we can say that trees on the fringes of trees are have more damage than those located on the interior of the wooded areas. All of the information will be plotted in the form of histograms and statistical charts to show our results in an orderly fashion. Finding out how much damage a tree has will help us prove or disprove our hypothesis in accordance to our data results. Also, noting how close other infected trees are may tell us if this damage is transferred from tree to tree, whether within one species or if across species.

Intended Results

Our group believes that the trees growing on the fringe of the forest will have more damage than the trees in the interior. The trees on the fringe of the forest are more susceptible to wind damage. We predict that only the most rugged trees can live on the fringe. These trees act as a protective barrier to other trees in the interior. Smaller trees on the fringe may to have more protection because of the strongest of winds will remain higher than them. Another thought is that more flexible trees will live on the fringe so that they can sway in attempts to withstand powerful winds.
The trees on interior of the forest will probably have less insect damage. There is probably a larger amount of insects living on the interior of the forest that could more easily infest a tree. Because of this, trees create a resistance or immunity to the pests. (CITE ME) That is why we believe that the trees will have a higher resistance to damage on the interior of the forest. The trees on the fringe will not have as much resistance built up from less contact from insects.

We found a tree-mapping program based on tree diameter and tree-to-tree distances. From this we will be able to simply and accurately map a large number of trees. Emery Boose at Harvard Forest, in Harvard University, created this program.

Sources Used

“Induced defense in white oaks: Effects on herbivores, and consequences for the plant.” Ecology July 1994: 1356-1369.

“Prevent tree damage from storms.” Sunset Fall/Winter, 1996. < http://www.findarticles. com/cf_0/m1216/1996_Fall-Winter/18691386/print.jhtml

“What Tree is it.” Ohio Public Library Information Network and The Ohio Historical Society, 11 June 1997, 27 September 2000, .

Cooper-Ellis, Sarah, et. al., “Forest Response to Catastrophic Wind: Results from an Experimental Hurricane.” Ecology December 1999: 2683 – 2695.

King, Sandra M. and Morehart, A.L., “Tissue Culture of Osage-orange.” HortScience June 1988: 613-615.

Lee, Sang-Jun, et. al., “Prenylated Flavonoids from Maclura Pomifera.” Phytochemistry. 1998: 2573-2577

Milius, Susan “Son of Long-Horned Beetles. (Asian long-horned beetles threaten U.S. trees).” Science News 12 July 1999.< _155 /55041150/print.jhtml

Sand, Susan, “A Tree History, The Osage Orange.” American Horticulturist October 1991: 37-39.

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