Text Box: The definition of a ‘Landmark Tree’ is generally described as a tree that rises above, or is larger than, its peers in terms of height and/or wood volume, and it can be easily recognized from a long distance, if it grows near or in an open area. Total wood-volume, overall height and crown size are regarded as the most important criteria for a tree to qualify for ‘Landmark Tree’ status. A tree with a large base, but a rapid taper to a slender upper trunk, does not necessarily qualify unless it is one of the tallest trees in a grove or general area.  A ‘Landmark Tree’ report should ideally include:
1)  A ‘photograph’ of the tree, with a person or object of known height in the photograph, to give relative width perspective to the image.
2)  The measured ‘total-height’ of the tree, expressed in ‘meters’ or ‘feet’.
3)  The measured ‘breast-high girth’ (bhg) or circumference; or the measured ‘average diameter breast-high’ (‘dbh’) of the tree, expressed in ‘meters’ or ‘feet’.
4)  The calculated ‘total wood-volume’ of the tree, expressed in ‘cubic-meters’ or ‘cubic-feet’.
5)  The recorded ‘GPS coordinates’ or ‘other directions’ to the location of the subject tree. 
6)  Your ‘contact information’, such as your ‘email address’ or ‘phone number’. 

Height, volume and GPS data are not required, but will help to speed up the verification process. ‘Landmark Tree’ reports will be investigated, as resources permit. If found to be authentic, you will be given credit for the report data and photographs, unless you choose to remain anonymous.

‘Landmark Tree’ discoveries occur in several significant ways. Large bodied trees are often discovered by chance when hiking over ground, from planned ground search efforts and from chance distant sightings over open terrain. However, with the tops of the tallest trees most often shielded from view by the forest canopy, those trees are seldom discovered by chance or planned ground search efforts, but are occasionally discovered from distant sightings over open terrain or high against distant hillsides. The most effective tall tree search technique is a procedure referred to as ‘LiDAR’; the acronym for “Light Detection and Ranging”. This is an optical remote sensing technology that measures properties of scattered light, emitted from an airplane or helicopter, to measure the vertical range (height) of a distant target and it’s GPS location.

To measure the ‘total-height’ of a tree, any one of the many available laser rangefinders may be helpful. Also, a combination laser rangefinder-hypsometer, such as the Nikon ‘Forestry Pro’, that Redwood-Ed employs, will be very useful for measuring distance and height, when taken from near ground level.

To measure the ‘breast-high girth’ (bhg) or circumference of a large tree, you may need help from others, and you will definitely need a 50 or 100-foot measuring tape. The measurement must be done at 4.5 feet above the average ground level surrounding the tree, to be official. For trees located on sloping ground, this procedure becomes much more difficult. To solve this problem, measure up from ground level at the two opposite sides of the tree, along the tree's central horizontal axis that parallels the slope of the hillside. If those two vertical measurement points are at different elevations, strike a mediun point above ground level for those two points. If the hillside slope is steep, and the uphill side of the tree’s vertical measurement point is below ground level, follow one of the two following girth tape-measurement procedures:

1) If the slope is very steep, and much of the uphill side of the tree at vertical measurement level is below ground level, measure the half-girth of the tree, radially from the two previously established measuring points, then double that measurement to obtain an approximate ‘breast-high girth’ (bhg).
2) If the slope is less steep, and little of the uphill side of the tree at vertical measurement level is below ground level, measure as much of the girth of the tree as possible, radially at the vertical level of the two previously established measuring points, then estimate the gap in the girth measurement to complete the full measurement and obtain an approximate ‘breast-high girth’ (bhg).

To calculate the ‘average diameter breast-high’ (dbh) of a tree, divide the established ‘breast-high girth’ (bhg) by the factor, ‘Pi’ (bhg ÷ 3.1416 = dbh).
If you didn’t have a measuring tape with you, just estimate the ‘average diameter breast-high’ (dbh) of the tree by pacing, with 3-foot paces, an estimate of the diameter at your estimate of 4.5’ above average ground level.

To convert any of your linear measurements from ‘feet-to-meters’, or from ‘meters-to-feet’, use this ‘Measurement-Unit Conversion Calculator’ tool for the task. 

To report the discovery of a possible ‘Landmark Redwood Tree’, anywhere in the coastal redwood range, send a message, with as much detail as possible, to ‘Redwood-Ed’. Use the message center, at the bottom of the ‘Home Page’ of this web-site, to transmit your communication. Redwood-Ed will forward your communication to the appropriate Redwood Forest Official, who will communicate back to you, with questions regarding your discovery. The official will also ask you to provide, via e-mail message, any photographs and other information you may have documented. After thorough study and analysis of
the details you’ve provided, and a possible on-site observation of your find, you will be advised, via e-mail, of the results regarding your discovery. As stated above, if your discovery is found to be an authentic ‘Landmark Redwood Tree’, you will be given credit for the report data and photographs, unless you choose to remain anonymous.
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