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Educational Sessions

Arboriculture Research and Education Academy (AREA)

AREA Student Presentations (Travel Grant Winners)
Wednesday, 12 August 2015
8:30 AM — 9:30 AM
Osceola 1, 2, 3
A, T, M, L, Bs

Presenter Information

  • Strain Measurement Within Trees Across the Root-Stem Transition Zone
    • Ken Beezley
      Ken Beezley is a graduate research assistant at West Virginia University (USA), pursuing a master’s degree of Forestry/Arboriculture. Mr. Beezley received a BSF in Forest Resource Management with a minor in Arboriculture and an AS in Forest Technology. Since 2006, Ken has operated a small tree care firm as an ISA Certified Arborist, member of the MAC-ISA and also has 2 years’ experience as a regional manager with a forest management firm. Kens commitment to the community include being a member of the WV Scenic Trails Association and Section III coordinator for the Allegheny Trail, volunteer member at the WVU Core Arboretum, member of the WVU Student Society of Arboriculture and Urban Forestry and leading various group activities including portable sawmill demonstrations and tree walks at local schools. Ken can be reached via email or phone. 304.553.2693 

    The transfer of applied loads is currently being investigated in order to learn how load and resulting strain moves from the stem into the roots. Little information is readily available on how trees manage load and resulting strain across the root-stem transition zone and in turn how current arboricultural practices may influence tree stability. Tissue differentiation within the root system, including vascular transitioning and cell arraignment, occur in preparation for vertical alignment. As fibers are strengthened by decreased cell size in anticipation of supporting vertical loading, the transition zone from multiple roots into the main stem may play a vital role in tree stability. Determining how the root-stem transition zone contributes to overall tree stability will assist in the continued refinement of the responsible care and management of trees.

    Our research will involve non-destructive static pull tests to measure strain across the root-stem transition zone on mature trees during the summer of 2015. Strain will be measured with an ARAMIS 3D optical stereophotogrametry system.  The expected outcomes of this study include: 1) a determination of how sampled trees mange applied load and resulting strain across the root-stem transition zone, 2) how strain is transferred into first order roots in the windward, leeward, & tangential directions in relationship to the pull, and 3) an evaluation of torsional strain occur across the sampled tissue area. Although not all statistical data and results will be completed by the time of the conference, preliminary analysis of a number of trials will be presented.

  • Estimating Current and Future Benefits of Recently Planted Trees with i-Tree Streets: Successes, Challenges, and Lessons Learned
    • Sarah Widney
      Sarah Widney is a master’s student in environmental science (MSES) at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, planning to graduate in May of 2015. Sarah’s passion for studying trees and their place in ecological systems began as a biology student at North Carolina State University, where she studied the effect of native hardwoods on an endangered wetland butterfly and sampled scale insects on urban trees. Her decision to pursue a graduate degree at Indiana University was motivated by a desire to study trees in the context of human interactions, knowing that in many places the human population is the biggest factor affecting tree health and abundance. When Sarah graduates, she hopes to work as an advocate for trees in a public sector or non-profit setting. Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
    Trees provide numerous benefits for urban residents, including reduced energy usage, improved air quality, stormwater management, carbon sequestration, and increased property values. Quantifying these benefits can help justify the costs of planting trees; to that end, the U.S. Forest Service and Davey Resource Group created i-Tree Streets, a program that estimates the benefits provided by trees based on species and diameter at breast height (DBH). This presentation is the result of a 5-city study of trees planted by tree-planting nonprofits with neighborhood groups from 2009 to 2011. Tree size and survival were assessed in summer 2014 using the Planted Tree Re-inventory Protocol. We use this data to examine survival and growth rate of the trees and evaluate the current and projected benefits provided using i-Tree Streets. The re-inventoried trees currently provide almost $50,000 in annual benefits, the majority (75%) of which are increased property values. We also project the benefits of the trees by “growing” them to 40 years after planting and using i-Tree Streets to estimate the benefits of the grown trees. Some investigations into the model reveal that i-Tree Streets calculates benefits very differently between three climate regions and that there is an important distinction between annual benefits and cumulative benefits. i-Tree Streets is a useful tool for assessing the value of the urban forest, but these discoveries should be kept in mind when interpreting the output.
  • Student Awareness and Impressions of Urban Forestry as a Career Choice
    • Keith O'Herrin
      Keith O'Herrin grew up in rural Southwest Wisconsin. Keith had a family friend who was a State forester, so he knew forestry was a potential career option. He graduated from University Wisconsin - Stevens Point with a B.S. Urban Forestry in 2008. While at Stevens Point he served as the President of the Student Society of Arboriculture. Upon graduation, Keith took a position with the City of La Porte, IN as their first budgeted City Forester. In 2010, he took a position with the City of Austin, TX as an Urban Forester, then moved into a position supervising the maintenance crew. While in Austin, Keith also earned a Masters of Public Administration. Keith is currently pursuing a Ph.D. Urban Forestry at Virginia Tech.

    Understanding and managing recruitment is common practice among professions in the U.S. today. Especially important is the impressions held by pre-career choice students, the potential future of a profession. There is currently a gap in understanding how students perceive urban forestry as a career choice, if they are aware of it at all. Improving our understanding of how students come to be aware of urban forestry as a career choice, and their opinion once aware, could have significant importance to urban forestry recruitment efforts.

    After spending a year reviewing literature on recruitment into professions, I have identified an excellent theory to help examine our gap in understanding. This research is grounded in Social Cognitive Career Theory where a student’s impression of a profession as a career choice is influenced by their demographics (e.g. race) and their background such as socioeconomic status during youth. In the next year I will administer a survey to be used to examine the relationship between college freshman and sophomore students’ awareness and opinions of urban forestry as a career choice and their personal backgrounds, values, and demographics. We will determine if students are aware of urban forestry and several allied professions as career choices, and if so how they were exposed to those professions and whether or not they were left with positive impressions. In this presentation I will provide an overview of how I plan to use Social Cognitive Career Theory to investigate student awareness and impressions of urban forestry as a career choice.

  • Citizen Science as a Useful Tool for Urban Tree Inventory
    • Elin Svensson
      Elin Svensson lives in Malmö in southern Sweden and is in her third year of studying at the University of SLU Alnarp. Elin's training for landscape engineer has given her a deeper understanding of the public space and how incredibly important it is to have the green structure around communities. Elin has chosen to broaden her education in tree care and has chosen to write her thesis linked to urban trees. Urban planning/trees is an issue that she is passionate about and she hopes to work within this area of focus after graduation. How we plan, build and care for trees in urban environments is of great importance and we have many development opportunities. 
    Citizen science is a concept that involves the science world are taking the help of the public for a long time volunteer work to record observations about various scientific processes. In this way, large amounts of information about biological values collected, and participants receive in an educational way deeper understanding of the project's meaning. Today there are several active associations linked to citizen science throughout the world. For example, organizations that collect facts about birds, their nests, eggs, chicks and breeding sites and insert this information into a computer system accessible to the public via a website. Nowadays, we see an increasing need to authorities and administrations want to create a better understanding of the biological values that trees bring. A tool in this work is well done and useful inventory. Citizens Research has becoming increasingly used in botany and tree inventories can in this way be a great resource for trees managers in the future.