|A list of numbers rarely tells a compelling story.|
Professional foresters use sampling techniques to estimate the age and species composition of forests.
My "forest" is small enough that I can take a census. Accurate measurement is the first step toward being able to manage anything.
Accurate is a relative term. You don't use a micrometer to measure a pile of manure. You don't use a yardstick to measure turbine blades. I used a cloth measuring tape to measure the circumference of the trees at approximately chest height. I rounded down to the nearest inch and tried to not measure anything less than three inches in diameter.
|Circumference of stem on horizontal axis broken into "cohorts" binned by 5" increments. Blue line is the number of stems in each cohort. The red line is an estimate of the cubic feet of wood in each cohort.|
The largest number of stems is in the smallest circumference recorded which is not surprising. Then there is a large step down and then fairly linear decrease in each cohort. The reason that there is a large step down at the start is that the 3.5"-to-5" diameter is ideal for posts and suitable for burning without splitting.
Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) posts make outstanding fence posts due to the rot resistance of the heartwood. The tree also fixes nitrogen and the flowers are a prime nectar source for bees. Other than that, the tree is weedy---it suckers, thrives in poor soils, is thorny and is difficult to eradicate--- and usually displays poor "form". I consider Black Locust to be one of my social peers.
Factoid of the day
The heartwood of Black Locust fluoresces under ultraviolet light.
And here is a short monograph on Black Locust lumber and its properties.