The Broadleaf Papers

The Broadleaf Papers

Trees have stories to tell, their annual growth rings cataloging changes in the environment, including climate. Many tree-ring scientists focus on conifers, but Neil Pederson, a scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, believes that the less-studied broadleaf trees in temperate forests, such as magnolia, tulip-poplar, maple and birch, have much to teach us.

Fire on the Mountain, Fire in the ‘Burbs

by | 11.20.2013 at 12:19pm
This section of Clausland Mountain is diverse - we counted >15 tree species without trying. Photo: N. Pederson

I walked out of the house Thursday morning when my nose detected it – a forest fire! Having worked for two years in the piney woods of southwest Georgia, I had become accustomed to and, actually, come to love forest fires. That classic line kept coming into my mind, “the scent of fire in the morning reminds me of healthy forests.”

The Pluvial Continues… Has the Long Rain Epoch Begun?

by | 9.15.2013 at 9:04pm | 2 Comments
A deluge during the Long Rain of June 2013 at Black Rock Forest. Photo: N. Pederson

Daily comparisons on TV or other media sources are typically based upon recent climate and ignore the past. Dased upon paleo records, the full picture indicates that we are sitting in one of the more unusually wet periods of the last 500 years.

Out of the Woods

by | 5.6.2013 at 8:38pm
Ana paying great attention to her inquisitor. Photo: N. Pederson

When we walked into the Sheraton in Springfield, Massachusetts we were greeted by none other than a wall full of cross sections from trees perfectly sanded to reveal the rings. “No way” I say. “I forgot the camera!” says Neil. We were just walking into the Northeast Natural History Conference, along with Dario and Jackie from the Tree Ring Lab. When I pictured my freshman year of college last summer, I pictured a lot of things. I did not picture getting to go to a conference to present a poster on my own research.

Visual Skateboarding

by | 4.5.2013 at 7:57pm
Science! Photo: N. Pederson

“You can do math on excel?” I ask. I immediately imagine a face-palm response, but Dario, one of my advisors, is nice enough to hide it. I’ve collected tree core samples, I’ve prepared them and cross-dated them. Now what? Oh, right. The Science.

I’ll Go on a Cross-Date if You Show Me Some Rings

by | 3.28.2013 at 9:04pm
A large, Y-shaped black oak in eastern NY State. Photo: N. Pederson

Ever since I’ve started learning to cross-date tree core samples, I’ve learned I have a type. I prefer my tree cores to be black oaks, middle-aged, with some nice big rings to show me. Alright, fine, I can deal with some smaller rings every now and then. As long as they’re some nice marker rings. Unfortunately, the trees don’t seem to be trying to impress me.

‘Are You Using This Idea for Your Thesis Research?’ [UPDATE]

by | 2.28.2013 at 9:53pm
Microsnails on the Honest Abe - can you find the 28 microsnails? Image: D. Douglas

“Are you using this idea for your thesis research?”

I heard this as I stood in front of a classroom full of old-growth forest ecology students. The question had come from Neil Pederson, who was sitting directly in front of me. He was asking this question because I had just spent the past 12 minutes discussing the intricacies of land snail biology and ecology that would make them great organisms to use for ecological modeling in regards to disturbance.

The Zen of Sanding

by | 11.4.2012 at 12:56pm | 2 Comments
Anapocalypse: Ana gearing up for sanding. Image: N. Pederson

By Ana Camila Gonzalez “But can’t you see the rings already?” I ask, wondering why I’ve been asked to sand a sample- it sounds to me like one would damage a sample by subjecting it to the mechanical screech of a sander.   “Yes, but under the microscope they look foggy if you don’t sand [...]

Dipping your feet in the water (A first year’s experience with fieldwork)

by | 9.21.2012 at 10:07am
Tromping in the midst of the 'Jurassic Park' of the Palmaghatt Ravine. Photo: D. Martin

My feet are soaking wet and I’m playing a game of Marco Polo, but I’m nowhere near a pool. It’s my second day on the job. It’s my second week of college. I have no idea what to expect.

Epic Wetness in Greater NYC, and What Broadleaf Trees Have to Say About It

by | 9.6.2012 at 8:32am | 5 Comments
Glade and Jacob in front of 512 year old tuliptree, aka tulip-poplar. Photo: N. Pederson

2012 is turning out to be an exceptional year in the eastern US. Starting out with what was essentially a #YearWithoutaWinter, followed by a heat wave in March, a hot summer, Macoun and Cortland apples coming in 2-3 weeks early, and the continuation of a severe drought in the Southern US that expanded into the Midwest [...]

Brief Broadleaf Forest Happenings: tulip goodness, delighted about Turkey, and drought

by | 7.29.2012 at 8:12am | 1 Comment
Massive black cherry & field crue. Photo: N. Pederson

I have to call myself out. Earlier I had professed to being a former coniferphile. That was, of course, silly. I like coniferous trees very much. Half of my business is made from this lovely branch of the tree family. This introduction is a lead in to say that this blog will be quieter while [...]