Forestry and Accounting

By Duane Bristow



"The forest is not merely an expression or representation of sacredness, nor a place to invoke the sacred; the forest is sacredness itself.  Nature is not merely created by God, nature is God.  Whoever moves within the forest can partake directly of sacredness, experience sacredness with 
his entire body, breath sacredness and contain it within himself, drink the sacred water as a living communion, bury his feet in sacredness, open his eyes and witness the burning beauty of sacredness.
-   Richard Nelson

"I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines."
-  Henry David Thoreau,  1817 - 1862  

"When you enter a grove peopled with ancient trees, higher than the ordinary, and shutting out the sky with their thickly inter-twined branches, do not the stately shadows of the wood, the stillness of the place, and the awful gloom of this doomed cavern then strike you with the presence of a deity?"  
-   Seneca  

"A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great or beautiful cathedral."   
- Theodore Roosevelt  

"Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world.  And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.  An I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father.  And I saw that it was holy."
Black Elk Speaks, The Great Vision, 1932, p. 36  

"A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship.  But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves.  No wonder the hills and groves were God's first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself."
-   John Muir   

"I believe in the cosmos.  All of us are linked to the cosmos.  Look at the sun: If there is no sun, then we cannot exist.  So nature is my god.  To me, nature is sacred;  trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals." 
Mikhail Gorbachev, 1990  

"I have always found thick woods a little intimidating, for they are so secret and enclosed.  You may seem alone but you are not, for there are always eyes watching you.  All the wildlife of the woods, the insects, birds, and animals, are well aware of your presence no matter how softly you may tread, and they follow your every move although you cannot see them."
-  Thalassa Cruso  

"When walking through a warm and lush forest setting one's thoughts can easily take flights of fancy. It is not difficult to shed the layers of modern life and find one's more subtle or primitive beginnings.  Somewhere from deep within the spiritand majesty of each single tree steps forth and at once one can find themselves transported to a world of shadow and shade."
-  Morgan La Fey, 
Sacred Trees

"The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings.
-   Buddhist Sutra 

"We are the books in your hands,
the sturdy chairs on your floors,
the upright walls of your houses,
the strong slanted roofs protecting your heads,
the holders of food during your meals,
the coffins for your rotting flesh,
the doors to your worlds,
the tissues cleaning the crap off your arses,
the boats for your fishers of men,
the forests on your Mother Earth,
the heat in your hearth,
the Sacred Rattles of the Winds,
the cooling shade for your summers,
the handles of your tools of life and death.

We are the Ancient Green Ones,
Yggdrasil, Ashvattha, Etz Chaim,
Arbotvitae, Axis Mundi of Many Names;
Ten Thousand Forms yet One of Kind,
the oldest living beings,
the largest and tallest living beings.
Yes, the Givers of the fruits and nuts in your hands.
Yes, the Givers of the air that you breathe.
Yes, the Trees, the Trees, the Trees!"
-  Mike Garofalo, Above the Fog  

"I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees.  The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets.  It has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled thinking of our modern day.  It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful.  Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and benumbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy."   
-   Hamlin Garland, McClure's, February 1899 

"Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise."
-   George Washington Carver  

"Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given.  But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer.  Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, and the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day."   
-  Anton Pavlovich Chekhov 

"The forests are dying, the rivers are dying, and we are called to act.  To return Earth to harmony is to restore the harmonious principles within ourselves and to act as responsible caretakers - to save the forests and the waters for future generations." 
-   Dhyani Ywahoo  

" In earth and water will you grow.
In the air will your leaves speak as you reach towards the fire of the sun.
We respect and honour and admire you, O tree, and all trees, for you represent both
Peace and Power - though you are mighty you hurt no creature.
Though you sustain us with your breath, you will give up your life to house and warm and teach us.
We give thanks for your blessing upon our lives and upon our lands.
May you fare well in this chosen place.

Druid Ceremony for Planting a Tree    

"In towering splendor once I stood
A regal monarch of the wood,
My branches once reached to the sky
See me now but do not cry.
The Creator's work has yet to cease
I've become a shelter for bird and beast,
And when at last I fall to the Earth
The life I leave will inspire new birth;
A seedling springs forth from the ground
Nature's cycle goes round and round."
-   S. Edward Palmer, Spirit Tree

"We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can't speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees."
-  Chief Edward Moody, Qwatsinas, Nuxalk Nation

"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago."
-   Warren Buffett   

"What does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants the friend of sun and sky;
He plants the flag of breezes free;
The shaft of beauty, towering high;
He plants a home to heaven anigh
For song and mother-croon of bird
In hushed and happy twilight heard -
The treble of heaven's harmony
These things he plants who plants a tree."
-   Henry Cuyler Bunner, The Heart of the Tree  

"Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness."
-  Kahlil Gibran  

"Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky, 
How beautiful it is?  
All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness 
There is a poem, there is a song.  
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring.  
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree with 
The music of many leaves, 
Which in due season fall and are blown away.  
And this is the way of life."
-  Krishnamurti  

Not Happy Campers

The U. S. Forest Service received these actual comments from backpackers after wilderness camping trips. quoted by Tom Fitzgerald in San Francisco Chronicle

Forest Management

The Practice of Forestry

in the mountains of Kentucky

To "make sense" of Forestry it is necessary to define the terms used in the discussion and to determine the objectives of forest management.

Forestry is the management of the forest or lands to be converted to forest to most efficiently produce the maximum benefits to the human community from the forest. These benefits are usually defined to include aesthetics and recreation, wildlife, protection of soils and watersheds, wood products, and, in some cases, forage for livestock. They can also include minor forest products such as nuts and berries, greenery, medicinal herbs, etc.

Forestry is usually practiced by planning how to most efficiently utilize existing resources which include soils, climate, topography, and existing vegetation. Forest practices then include seeding, planting, or otherwise reproducing stands; practices to improve forest stands such as release cuttings, pruning, cleanings, thinnings, and sanitation cuts; and harvests which may also be of several types. How these are done will determine species composition and structure of the forest. The resulting forest may be all aged, even aged, or multiple aged. It may be very productive of desirable forest products or not very productive.

The forest products to be emphasized in a forest management plan will vary depending on the objectives of the owner. Depending on whether the forest lands are publicly or privately owned, owned by an absentee or local owner and depending on the economic needs and ownership philosophy of the owner, short term economic benefits may override aesthetic, community, social, or long term benefits.

It should be noted that the overall long term results of various forest management plans will have both environmental and economic consequences. Practices which would result in damage to the environment such as significant pollution of streams and soil quality degradation should never be included in any responsible plan by a professional forester. However, short term economic needs of landowners may sometimes override long term benefits or may cause frequent harvests of wood products to be given precedence over aesthetic and other intangible values or over infrequent harvests of higher value wood products. This means that often the objectives of individual landowners may not be those which will result in the maximum long term benefits to the community as a whole.

Usually public opinion does not make a distinction between environmental and economic consequences of forest management. For instance, heavy cutting is associated with environmental degradation although, if stream pollution and soil erosion is minor, no environmental degradation may, in fact, take place. On the other hand clear cutting is usually not distinguished from "high grading". Clear cutting is an accepted harvest method used in stands in which the objective is to maintain pre-climax stands of usually shade intolerant species or in which the objective is even aged management. Much more common is "High grading", the practice of harvesting the best and most valuable timber leaving cull and low quality timber in the woods. Although fewer trees are cut than in a clear cut, the timber stand is left in far worse condition.

Ideally Appalachian hardwoods would be all aged stands growing on high quality sites and owned by enlightened landowners whose objective is to produce high quality hardwoods in the long term while at the same time protecting the environment and providing productive wildlife habitat. They would be harvested by selective cuts about every 30 to 40 years with a timber rotation age of 60 to 100 years. In practice, due to the topography and to past management including overcutting, erosion and repeated forest fires much of the land is not high quality sites for forest production. Landowner's objectives are more likely to be short term economic gain and the quality of the forest environment is often given little consideration. Low quality, "high graded" stands of young small trees are the rule rather than the exception and they are usually harvested too small too soon.

Existing forest industries as well as forest ownership patterns usually determine the local forest management. There are very few professionally trained foresters available, so little actual forest management takes place. In managing forests it is necessary to have good markets for small wood products (such as pallet mills) so that there will be a market for the trees removed during improvement cuts or intermediate cuts such as cleanings, thinnings, etc. However, in the absence of forest management the presence of these markets usually leads to overcutting and short term rotations. For harvests of larger higher quality wood products, such as furniture quality oak, markets such as grade sawmills and veneer mills are necessary. However, these markets alone in the absence of forest management often lead to "high grading" of the forest. For maximum economic benefit to the community secondary wood products industries such as furniture factories, etc. are also necessary. These not only provide added value to the wood resource but also are an additional labor market for the community and a great stimulant to the local economy.


Reproduction of forests may be:
  1. Artificial
    By planting tree seedlings
    This method is actually only practical in the mountains of eastern Kentucky when converting abandoned farm fields or strip mined or other open areas to forest. It is sometimes also used to convert low quality hardwood stands to pine stands on suitable sites, but is inferior to a seed tree clearcut for this purpose.
    By broadcasting tree seeds
    This method is usually only practical when converting strip mined areas or other areas of bare soil to forest.
  2. Natural
    From seeds
    Seeds of many species are usually present in the soil of a forest and some of these will lay dormant for years only germinating when conditions become right. Usually opening of the forest canopy by harvest, fire, storm or other means will result in germination of thousands of tree seedlings per acre, many more than are needed to reproduce the stand.
    Coppice reproduction from sprouts
    Most hardwoods sprout profusely from roots and stems when the tree is cut or placed under stress. Many also produce epicormic sprouts from the bark of the stems when the stem is exposed to sunlight. In general sprouts from roots and root collars produce good potential crop trees for the succeeding forest while sprouts from stumps and other stems are undesirable. That is why, in harvesting, trees should be cut as close to the ground as is practicable.

Intermediate Cuts

Intermediate cuts are practices in a forest done before final harvest, the purpose of which is to improve the stand. They usually are considered to result in a net expense either because no wood products are sold or because the value of wood products sold is less than the cost of the practice. If value of products sold exceeds the cost of the practice then it can be argued that the cut was actually a harvest rather than an intermediate cut. Selective harvests usually include, at least, some elements of an intermediate cut due to removal of cull or otherwise low value trees during the harvest. This is basically the difference between a selective harvest and a high grading.

Site Preparation - one specialized type of forest operation is site preparation which involves removing from an area all stems of woody brush and trees and, in some cases, weeds and grasses which will compete with regeneration to be established by either artificial or natural means. Site preparation methods may be chemical or mechanical or may sometimes be done by use of controlled burns.

Intermediate cuts may include:

This is cutting off the limbs from the butt log (usually lower 17 feet) of the tree to produce knot free wood commanding premium prices. This practice is most commonly done in Black Walnut and White Pine.
This is removal of undesirable species from the forest to favor those that are of higher value or of more use in reaching goals of management.
This is removal of non-crop trees of the same species as crop trees to allow more room, sunlight, water and nutrients for the better quality crop trees.
Release cuts
This is removal of undesirable overstory trees to benefit crop trees in the understory. The overstory trees may be there as a result of a high grading or perhaps they are the seed trees left in a seed tree harvest.
Sanitation cuts
This is removal of trees broken by storms, damaged by fire, or infested with insects or disease.


Timber harvests are usually the most important factor determining the future of the forest. Whether they are planned and done at the proper time and in the proper way to cause desired regeneration and to improve the structure of the subsequent stand determines whether future harvests will produce optimum wood products and other benefits from the forest.

Types of timber harvests can include:

Clear Cuts
This is a cut in which all trees above 1 or 2 inches in diameter are harvested or otherwise removed to prepare a site for regeneration. This type of harvest results in an even aged stand and a relatively long cutting cycle between harvest cuts. It is a valid forest management tool. It is not the same thing as a "high grading" and if properly conducted does not result in any more environmental damage than any other type of harvest. Actually because of the longer time between harvests from the same area it probably results in less environmental damage. Variations on the clear cut include the "seed tree" cut in which scattered good quality trees are left on the area as a seed source and are harvested within a few years of the main harvest and the "shelterwood" cut in which small areas are cleared in a given year and the remaining areas are cleared within a few years when reproduction has become established.
Selective Cuts
This is a harvest in which selected economically mature trees as well as undesirable trees are harvested or otherwise removed. It usually results in an all aged stand or a two tiered stand or some variation between depending on the criteria for the harvest. Selective cutting usually results in shorter cutting cycles and smaller harvests each cutting cycle than clear cutting. While clear cutting is best adapted to pioneer shade intolerant species, selective cutting is more often used in climax shade tolerant species such as those found in appalachian hardwood forests.
High Grading
This is the usual commercial cut which serves no forest management objective. In this type of cut the best highest quality most valuable trees are harvested and all other trees are left in the woods. It results in forests of low productivity both because many trees are harvested before reaching economic maturity and because the remaining stand contains a large percentage of defective, cull, and otherwise undesirable trees leaving less room for more desirable crop trees.
In each of these harvest scenarios the amount of environmental degradation which occurs is dependent on the extent to which the logger follows Best Management Practices and is not a function of the type of harvest.

Forest Mensuration (Measurements)

An Introduction to Forest Measurements

from a field forester's perspective

as applied in the appalachian hardwoods of Eastern Kentucky

by Duane Bristow

See also:
  1. A description of a timber cruising computer program
  2. A sample timber cruise report.
Meanings of values in terms of average stands
It is necessary to be able to look at a stand of timber and know what typical values to expect or to look at values in a report and visualize the stand from which they came.
  • Timber type - typical stands include:
    • cove hardwoods - yellow poplar, hard maple, beech, hemlock
    • mid slope oak-hickory - red oak, white oak, hickory, hard maple
    • upper slope and ridge hardwoods - scarlet oak, hickory, black gum, chestnut oak, pine
    • old field - virginia pine
    • old field - yellow poplar
  • Stand structure - typical structures include:
    • All aged
    • Even aged - sapling, pole, small sawtimber, large sawtimber
    • Two story - usually sawtimber overstory with sapling or pole understory.
    • High graded - sapling and pole understory with large scattered cull wolf tree overstory
  • Stand density - measured by basal area and crown closure (basal area in sq. ft. per acre)
    • Understocked - less than 40 BA - abundant sunlight
    • Scattered - 40 to 70 BA - open with patches of sunlight
    • Well stocked - 70 to 90 BA - not much sunlight
    • Overstocked - greater than 90 BA - little light
  • Site quality - indicated by growth rate, site index, plant indicators, etc. Trees on better sites will have longer smoother bodies with fewer knots, sweep and defect.
    • Good to excellent - deep moist soil in coves and lower north and east facing slopes as well as benches and some broad flat ridges - diameter may be increasing 2 inches or over in ten years - expect trillium, ferns, yellow trout lily, false solomon's seal, iris, jack-in-the-pulpit, bloodroot, wild ginger, and little brown jug or heartleaf.
    • Medium - Usually mid slopes and upper north and east facing slopes as well as some broad ridges - diameter growth of 1 1/2 inches or more every ten years. Expect bloodroot, wild ginger, and little brown jug or heartleaf.
    • Poor - shallow, dry, rocky soils, steep south and west facing slopes and narrow ridge tops. Diameter growth 1 inch or less every ten years. Lots of mountain laurel thickets, huckleberries, scrubby pines.
  • Stand condition
    • Scars and hollow lower trunks due to fire damage particularly on uphill side of tree.
    • Broken and small tops and short bodies due to wind and ice storm damage.
    • Scars on lower trunks and broken tops due to logging damage.
    • Dead and dying trees or dying limbs due to insect and/or disease damage.
    • Large spreading tops and dying limbs and down trees due to overmaturity.
    • Slow growth due to overstocking
    • Limby short bodied trees due to understocking.
    • Large numbers of trees forked below breast height due to coppice reproduction from stumps rather than from sprouting from roots or root collars. Forking above breast height is usually caused by a top broken by logging or wind or ice damage and, in some cases, by insect damage to terminal buds.
The Numbers
Below is a discussion of the meaning of the numbers obtained by some common forest measurement methods. This applies to typical mid slope oak-hickory stands in Eastern Kentucky. Timber volumes are commonly expressed in terms of board feet (bf) or thousand board feet (mbf) on the doyle log scale. Dbh means diameter breast high or 4 1/2 feet above the ground.
  • Age and dbh - Economic maturity often occurs at 18 to 22 inches dbh and at an average tree age of 60 to 90 years. Harvesting usually occurs long before economic maturity is reached. Stands are typically harvested every 25 to 30 years. Although a light selective harvest on a cutting cycle of this length might be very desirable, stands are usually overcut. Loggers often tell landowners that they will not overcut the timber because they will not cut anything below a 12" diameter stump. They also tell landowners that they will get full value from their timber because they will cut all trees above a 12" diameter stump. As a general rule of thumb trees below 20 to 22 inches at the stump or below 18 inches dbh should not be cut unless they are defective or the stand is overstocked or for some other silvicultural purpose. In the case of yellow poplar and some other fast growing trees on good sites this diameter should be 22 inches dbh.
  • Volume per acre - typical timber harvests average 2,000 to 3,500 board feet per acre with all or most sawtimber size trees being harvested and cull or defective trees left in the woods but harvests from well managed stands should yield 5,000 to 10,000 board feet per acre harvesting only selected mature and defective trees. Typical harvest volumes are usually on a 30 to 40 year cutting cycle while the ideal volumes mentioned are on a 50 to 60 year cutting cycle.
  • Volume per tree - typically averages about 150 board feet at harvest. It should average 200 to 250 board feet.
  • Average annual growth - 50 to 100 board feet per acre per year. Average potential annual growth with good management is probably around 200 board feet.
  • Sawtimber trees per acre - In Kentucky the average tree is about a 13 inch tree with a 12 foot grade 3 butt log. There are the equivalent of about 47 of these per acre.
    We should have an average tree 16 inches in diameter 2, 16' logs in merchantable height with a butt log grade 2. With 46 of these per acre our average volume per acre would be increased to 6,000 - 8,000 board feet and our average value of timber per acre would go from about $150 to between $900 and $1,600 on the stump.
  • Total trees per acre - Seedlings from natural reproduction within two years after a clearcut may number as many as 10,000 per acre. In planting seedlings a goal of 600 to 800 per acre surviving is reasonable. Throughout the life of the stand the number of trees per acre will decrease to a number of perhaps 500 trees of which only 50 may be sawtimber size and 350 to 400 in the sapling size class. This assumes an all aged stand. In an even aged plantation perhaps 80 trees will reach sawtimber size.
Timber Cruising
Timber cruising is done to determine the condition of a stand, its timber volume, and its dollar value in order to plan harvests, make recommendations for future management or for purposes of financial analysis such as obtaining loans or evaluation for land sales or for testimony in court cases involving timber trespass.
  • Planning
    • Be sure to have landowner info and authorization.
    • Get map and determine boundaries, topography and acreage of tract.
    • Plan number of plots needed and plot location scheme.
    • Draw plot grid and locate plots on map.
    • Plan data collection specifications.
    • Plan timing and personnel to be used in cruise. Usually on steep ground plan on 20 to 25 plots per day. In extremely difficult conditions 10 to 15 plots. In easy terrain 30 to 50 plots.
    • Obtain information on markets, access to markets, and logging difficulty.
  • Principles
    • Number of plots needed is based on expected stand variation, acreage, and purpose of cruise.
    • Tracts less than about 25 acres require 100% cruise rather than sampling.
    • Most tracts require at least 40 to 60 plots.
    • Need for stratification of tract and accuracy of data on sub strata or sub tracts will determine total number of plots needed.
    • Plots need not be precisely located in the field but locations must be random, not biased, and must be uniformly located throughout the tract.
    • Since the most expensive part of the cruise is plot location rather than data collection, all data that can possibly be of use should be collected.

  • Field Procedures
    • Sample tree selection
      • Point Sampling, Basal Area Factor, Plot Radius Factor
      • Effect of slope
      • Procedures for handling borderline trees
    • Stand status - strata - silvicultural and statistical significance.
    • Species and species value groups
    • Dbh - methods of measurement and precision
    • Log and total height - effect of defects
    • Tree grade
    • Tree status - leave, harvest, cull
    • Crown Class - D, CD, I, S
    • Age and growth - uses of, methods of measurement, significance
  • Office Procedures
    • Calculations - volume, value, stand & stock
    • Statistics - variability and precision and accuracy
    • Computers - use of my analysis program.
    • Reports - essential elements.
      • Cover letter
        • Purpose of cruise
        • Owner
        • Location
        • Methods
        • Summary of results, recommendations and discussion
      • Report - full
        • Owner, date, location, personnel
        • Description of area, topography, soils, and access
        • Assumptions of cruise
        • Overall timber and area descriptions and sizes
        • Timber volumes and values by species groups and grade
        • Discussion and recommendations
        • Additional data on stocking and sizes such as
          • Number of trees per acre
          • Basal Area per acre
          • Average volume per tree
          • Average volume per acre
          • Discussion of stocking, volumes and values by strata or acres in various classes of stocking and volumes.
          • Stand and stock tables.
      • Report - brief - Same as full but without value information or recommendations.
Below are some sample forms for use in field collection of data.

Instructions for Data Collection

Field Equipment needed:
Prism or angle gauge, D-tape, 100 foot tape, Cruiser stick, Compass, Increment borer, clinometer, topo map, covered metal clipboard, pencils, field data sheets, sounding ax
Office Equipment needed:
Computer with proper software or Volume factor tables, tree factor tables, and calculator.
Field procedures:
Each crew is to take data on at least ten plots.
  • Tally all trees within plot 5 inches dbh and up by species.
  • Measure dbh to the nearest inch (or 1/10 inch) of each tree.
  • Estimate merchantable height in 16 foot logs to the nearest 1/2 log of all trees 12 inches dbh and above.
  • Estimate merchantable height in feet to nearest 4 feet of all trees less than 12 inches dbh.
  • Record tree Grade 1, 2, or 3 (4 for cull, 0 for not applicable) for each tree.
  • Record Leave, Harvest, or Cull for each tree.
  • Record crown class - D, CD, I, S for each tree.
  • Record slope position and stand characteristics for each plot.
    • Slope - 1 bottoms and coves, 2 mid slopes, 3 upper slopes and ridges, 4 broad ridges
    • Stand by size class and type
Office procedures:
In the office calculate:
  • Trees per acre 5" dbh and up
  • Total board foot volume per acre doyle scale
  • Harvest volume per acre
  • Average basal area per acre
  • Average board foot volume per harvest tree
  • Average harvest value per acre
  • Number of trees and basal area per acre by size class
  • Pulpwood volume per acre in trees less than 12" dbh and in sawtimber topwood.
  • Statistical values
    • Mean volume per acre (M)
    • Standard deviation (S)
    • Standard error of the mean (SM)
    • Half confidence Interval (1/2 CI at 95% confidence.)
    • Allowable error (AE)
    • Coefficient of variation (CV)


BAF = Basal Area Factor
A 1:33 angle gauge is BAF 10 meaning that each tree sampled represents a basal area of 10 sq. ft. per acre.
The Plot radius factor is 33 times the tree diameter or the PRF in feet is 2.75 times the tree diameter in inches.
Therefore the PRF for a 20 inch tree is 55 feet (2.75 X 20).
The area of a circle 55 feet in radius is pi or 3.14 X 55 X 55 or 9,498.50 square feet.
43,560 sq. feet per acre divided by 9,498.5 equals 4.586 which is the Ft (tree factor) for a BAF 10 sampled tree 20 inches dbh.
This means that each 20 inch tree sampled represents 4.586 trees per acre.

Expansion Factors

dbh      Ft      dbh*Ft
------  -------  -------
  5      73.34    367
  6      50.93    306
  7      37.42    262
  8      28.65    229
  9      22.64    204
 10      18.34    183
 11      15.15    167
 12      12.74    153
 13      10.85    141
 14       9.35    131
 15       8.15    122
 16       7.16    115
 17       6.34    108
 18       5.66    102
 19       5.08     97
 20       4.59     92
 21       4.16     87
 22       3.79     83
 23       3.47     80
 24       3.18     76
 25       2.93     73
 26       2.71     70
 27       2.52     68
 28       2.34     66
 29       2.18     63
 30       2.04     61
 31       1.91     59
 32       1.79     57
 33       1.68     55
 34       1.586    54
 35       1.496    52
 36       1.414    51
 37       1.339    50
 38       1.269    48
 39       1.205    47
 40       1.145    46

Fv FC 78 doyle scale

dbh      1/2      1     1 1/2   2       2 1/2   3       3 1/2
10       128      257   312     367     385     403
11       167      333   409     485     530     576
12       185      369   459     548     612     675     688
13       206      412   521     640     716     792     825
14       224      449   580     701     785     870     916
15       244      489   636     782     880     986    1043
16       258      516   673     831     945    1067    1146
17       273      545   716     888    1021    1154    1243
18       283      566   747     928    1075    1217    1313
19       300      599   792     986    1143    1300    1402
20       309      618   824    1030    1195    1360    1475
21       320      641   861    1082    1256    1431    1556
22       330      659   887    1118    1304    1486    1618
23       338      677   916    1152    1346    1541    1676
24       343      687   932    1177    1377    1577    1714
25       353      706   961    1213    1424    1635    1784
26       360      721   981    1244    1461    1677    1837
27       368      736  1003    1273    1497    1724    1887
28       371      742  1016    1289    1521    1755    1919
29       377      754  1036    1317    1557    1796    1966
30       384      767  1055    1342    1587    1832    2007

Woodland Preliminary Examination Field Data

Name ________________________________ Address _______________________
County _________________ Forester ______________________ Acres ______
Agent __________________ Location ___________________________________
Accessibility _______________________________________________________
Owner's Interest ____________________________________________________

Plot Data

Plot no. _____ Date _______ slope positon _____ % slope _____ Aspect __
Location ______________________________________________________________
Soil Description ______________________________________________________
Reproduction amount _______________ Species __________________________
D or CD tree of selected species nearest PC Tree no. ______ Age ______
........... Total ht. _________ Growth dbh - last 5 yrs. ___________
Stand Condition and recommendations:
Tree Data:
Tree  Species   dbh  Merc. Ht.  Grade  Vigor  CC  LHC  Trees/   Vol/
No.                   (logs)                           Acre     Acre
1.   ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
2.   ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
3.   ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
4.   ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
5.   ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
6.   ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
7.   ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
8.   ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
9.   ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
10.  ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
11.  ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
12.  ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
13.  ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
14.  ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________
15.  ________  ____   ________   ___    ___  ____ ___ ________  ________

                                 Totals               ________  ________


Dendrology is the science and study of wooded plants (trees, shrubs, and lianas). There is no sharp boundary between plant taxonomy and dendrology. However, woody plants not only belong to many different plant families, but these families may be made up of both woody and non-woody members. Some families include only a few woody species. This severely limits the usefulness of a strictly dendrological approach. Dendrology tends to focus on economically useful woody plants, their identification and horticultural or silvicultural properties.

The best way to identify unknown trees and shrubs is to use a dichotomous key for either leaves or twigs. Just type "dendrology dichotomous key" into an internet search engine and you can find these online.

You may also need to know whether you are identifying an angiosperm or a gymnosperm. Angiosperms are generally broad leaved trees and shrubs, often deciduous while gymnosperms usually have needles or scales and are often evergreens.

Ecology and Environmental Awareness

Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount (biomass), number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems. Ecosystems are hierarchical systems that are organized into a graded series of regularly interacting and semi-independent parts (e.g., species) that aggregate into higher orders of complex integrated wholes (e.g., communities). Ecosystems are sustained by the biodiversity within them. Biodiversity is the full-scale of life and its processes, including genes, species and ecosystems forming lineages that integrate into a complex and regenerative spatial arrangement of types, forms, and interactions. Ecosystems create biophysical feedback mechanisms between living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) components of the planet. These feedback loops regulate and sustain local communities, continental climate systems, and global biogeochemical cycles.

Ecology is a sub-discipline of biology, the study of life. The word "ecology" was coined in 1866 by the German scientist Ernst Haeckel (1834 - 1919). Ancient philosophers of Greece, including Hippocrates and Aristotle, were among the earliest to record notes and observations on the natural history of plants and animals. Modern ecology branched out of natural history and matured into a more rigorous science in the late 19th century. Charles Darwin's evolutionary treatise including the concept of adaptation, as it was introduced in 1859, is a pivotal cornerstone in modern ecological theory. Ecology is not synonymous with environment, environmentalism, natural history or environmental science. It is closely related to physiology, evolutionary biology, genetics and ethology. An understanding of how biodiversity affects ecological function is an important focus area in ecological studies. Ecologists seek to explain:

A Sample Timber Sale

Click here for Bid Information
Click here for Timber Sale Contract
Click here for a photo of the Timber Sale area
Click here for the results of the timber sale

A Letter to the Courier-Journal Newspaper

concerning forestry in Kentucky on the occasion of the legislature considering regulating logging.

A letter to the Courier-Journal newspaper of Louisville, Kentucky, January 28, 1998.

As a consulting forester, I read with interest your recent (Jan. 25-27, 1998) series of articles about Kentucky's forest resource by Andrew Melnykovych and others as well as the editorial in the Sunday Forum section. I found the series very informative and a good introduction to the issues involved.

I did, however, find that, in a few areas, my experiences of eleven years with the Kentucky Division of Forestry as a Service Forester and Assistant District Forester and subsequent nineteen years as a consulting forester in southeastern and south central Kentucky conflict with the prevailing conventional wisdom. Perhaps this experience plus the fact that I come from a family with 200 years history as Kentucky landowners and managing our family farm including 450 acres of forest for the last quarter century gives me a unique perspective.

There is some environmental damage from logging operations. In some cases it is very significant. I certainly support logger training, the Master Logger program, required use of BMPs, and notification of the Division of Forestry when logging occurs. However, I also think that, in the mind of the general public, the aesthetic damage in terms of looks caused by a logging operation is often equated with environmental damage. Cutting a tree does not damage the environment. Dragging it through a stream does. The method of selecting trees to cut may also damage the environment in terms of changing the forest composition. My point is that timber harvest as such is not synonymous with environmental degradation.

A completely separate issue is the economic issue of the need for much better forest management on privately owned woodlands if the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky are to receive maximum benefits in terms of jobs and forest industries from our vast forest resource. A major misconception is that the solution to this problem lies in public education efforts. It makes a good story and people like to believe that more information and education efforts will solve this problem, but it just ain't so. Certainly such efforts are useful and they are needed but they are not the solution. The problem is an economic one and it requires an economic solution.

One of your articles said that Kentucky's landowners have shown little interest in forest management in the past because our forests haven't been recognized as having value. It continued, "well informed landowners will be less likely to sell their timber for quick profits and more likely to manage the woodlands to produce a steady stream of trees and income." This probably does apply with some landowners and increased timber values do make timber management more cost effective. However, ninety percent of the landowners I have known, if told timber values are high, will say, "Then now would be a good time to sell." They do not say, "Now would be a good time to manage my timber."

At present the overwhelming tendency to cut trees before economic maturity is the one thing most counter productive to maximizing forest production of wood products and also to a lesser extent of wildlife, recreation, and watershed protection. This situation is due to ownership patterns, economic needs of land owners and an inability of the financial infrastructure to deal adequately with the long term needs of forest production.

Small areas of forests owned by a great number of landowners changing ownership every few years tend to give forest management a very low priority. On a typical farm with less than 100 acres of forest, timber is seen as a resource to be harvested whenever cash is needed. There is usually no plan for long term forest management, even on ownerships up to several thousands of acres. Many times land is purchased with the idea and the necessity of a timber sale to help pay for the land. Many farmers have to sell timber to offset losses from other farming operations or to cover unexpected expenses. Financial institutions, attorneys, and real estate agents usually have no knowledge of and no way to evaluate long term timber production value and potential so financing is available only for value of present liquidation, not for future production.

Although public education efforts about long term forest management are necessary, the key to encouraging long term production must lie in economic efforts. Public forestry agencies argue that the most returns come from delaying harvest. Although that may be true, it is academic to an investor who can afford to purchase land only if he liquidates the timber or to a farmer who due to a poor crop year or low markets must raise cash to make the mortgage payment. In neither case is the banker likely to listen to pleas about the future value of growing timber.

There are a number of forest industries in Kentucky owned by wise men who have been in business for the better part of a century and have made their living by production of a very scarce commodity, high quality hardwoods. These men have seen a constant decrease in the supply of their raw materials due to this cutting pattern. As a result more wood industries which utilize small wood products are moving into the state. This leads to better markets for smaller timber and increased overcutting of these size classes. Proper timber management requires markets for small wood products to encourage thinning and removal of inferior trees as the stand matures. If the economic situation results in removal of all trees or crop trees in addition to inferior trees then the supply of large high quality sawtimber and veneer logs will continue to decline.

It would seem to me that the traditional Kentucky wood industry, environmental organizations and state government would all have a vested interest in proper forest management. I would also argue that the present strategy of approaching this problem by programs of public education are mostly whistling into the wind. The problem is largely economic.

I therefore propose that if these entities really want to approach this problem realistically they consider financing a non profit forest management organization with the goal of employing professional foresters to purchase timber from these landowners under a contract which would turn management of the timber over to the organization with timber sales determined by the organization and any excess returns over forest management and overhead expenses going back to the landowner.

This is the concept of a non-profit non-government organization underwritten and supported by a combination of government, forest industry, and conservation groups which would buy standing timber which is on the market on a contract which would leave the timber standing until foresters employed by the organization decided it had reached maturity and then sell with the organization recovering its investment plus a small profit and any additional revenues recovered being returned to the landowner.

A third issue concerning timber sales was not specifically stated but implied in your editorial, "Profit from timber" in the Sunday Forum section. You stated that landowners are getting ripped off by the timber industry because they accept payments that are much too low and then their land is damaged by unsound logging practices. I have no quarrel with that statement. You then go on to say that the Governor's bill should ask for "enough money to hire all the foresters who are needed to educate landowners on the value of their timber and the best way to harvest it." I agree with that statement except for the phrase, "the value of their timber".

A timber sale is an economic transaction between two (or more) citizens of the Commonwealth, one a buyer and the other a seller. I would argue that it is none of the state's business who is the winner and who the loser on this transaction any more than it is the state's business how much you charge for your newspaper. The government definitely has a legitimate interest in seeing that the environment is not damaged due to this transaction. The government probably has a legitimate interest in encouraging, not requiring, forest management for the overall economic benefit of the citizens of the commonwealth, but foresters employed by the state have no business trying to set sale values on standing timber. Although it is true that landowners often get ripped off, it is also true that landowners can hire consulting foresters to assist in timber sales to prevent this. Some do not know of this option but, in most cases, landowners resent the idea of paying a consultant his 10% fee or whatever and feel they can make a better deal for themselves. As a result I estimate that they get, on average, 40 to 60 percent of the value of their timber although I know of several cases where they got as low as 15 or 20 percent. In any case, if the buyer makes a higher profit, that's simply more income taxes he has to pay to the state and the state is not hurt at all.

It should be noted that if there is actually any serious effort to improve forest conditions in the state, many more professional foresters, both private consultants and employees of the state and the forest industries, will be needed. Perhaps a program of professional licensing of foresters similar to those in place in other states (like Georgia, for example) should be considered by someone.

Thank you for your extensive and excellent efforts to make more information on the issues available to Kentucky's citizens in what could be a pivotal moment in the history of forestry in Kentucky.

Duane Bristow
Albany, Kentucky 42602

Note: Although the Courier Journal did not publish the above letter, they did mention the URL of this website on their letters page. Contrary to my expectations that did not result in any increased traffic to these forestry pages or any comments to me from anyone in Kentucky about logging. I guess that shows that either:

Logging Regulation Bill

A bill to regulate commercial logging in Kentucky completed a difficult journey through the General Assembly March 31, 1998

Complaints from property-rights activists diluted support for the proposal, which supporters called Kentucky's first effort to regulate logging.

Property-rights advocates feared that the bill would let state inspectors enter private property to regulate timber cutting. The bill was rewritten so it would not apply to anyone cutting timber on their own property.

The bill also would not give the state any additional authority to enter private property to inspect timber-cutting practices. State inspectors could only go onto private property if there was evidence of violations that caused water pollution.

The bill's regulatory powers would be limited to commercial logging. It would require loggers to have a trained master logger on all cutting sites and to correct any damage they do to land or water.

Commercial loggers would have to follow "best management practices" to avoid erosion and other damage that could foul water sources.

In addition, the bill would create statewide inventories of forested land conducted by the Division of Forestry, and it would provide education and advice for private owners of forested land.

War of the Minds - Forestry Questions

In the study of wildlife management what happened at the Kaibab Penisula is often used as an example to illustrate one of the basic principles of population dynamics. Where is the Kaibab Penisula? What happened there? What principle does this illustrate?
The total aggregate of all environmental factors affecting the survival and growth of a given tree species can be expressed in a numeric form foresters call site index. What is the definition of site index and what two tree measurements are necessary to determine it?
John, a forester, while taking a walk with his niece and nephew came upon a large oak tree in a field. He began answering their questions about where trees come from, how they grow, etc. Then they began discussing the uses of wood, the value of trees, and the size of that particular tree. Since John did not have his forestry equipment with him he cut a stick the length of his arm from his eye to his outstretched hand. He held the stick upright in his hand perpendicular to his extended arm and began backing away from the tree until he could sight across the bottom of the stick at the base of the tree and across the top of the stick to the top of the tree. What was John up to? What would he do next?
What is a Biltmore stick? Where did it get that name?
A green tree of forests of the Eastern United States; it has pinnately compound opposite net-veined deciduous leaves 6 to 15 inches long with 3 to 9 leaflets. It has a superior ovary with a 5 parted calyx and 4 to 6 stamens. The flowers are imperfect and the trees are dioecious. The fruit is a double samara each half long winged and one seeded. What is the scientific or latin name of this species?
Kentucky bourbon soaks in solitude for years in quite warehouses built on Kentucky hillsides as it absorbs the flavor of the charred white oak barrels. Bourbon barrels are never made of red oak. Why not?
What is Endothia parasitica?
and What has been its economic effect on the forests of North America?
What is the scientific (latin) name of the tree which has leaves, fruits, and twigs like this?
It is a decidious tree common in the Eastern United States and one of the most valuable timber species.

What is the apical meristem?
In temperate climates the wood of tree stems shows annual rings by which, as most people know, one can tell the age of the tree. These rings can also be used to tell the growth history of the tree and they enable a professional forester to draw some conclusions about the history of the stand as a whole. Why do annual rings occur?
In cross section the tree stem consists of a center of pith, a zone of usually darkly colored wood, a zone of lightly colored wood, a layer of cells between the wood and the bark and, on the outside, the bark of the tree. Give the name of the type of tissue in each of these four zones outside the pith and the function of each.
A measure of the density of tree growth in a timber stand is the per acre cross sectional area of tree stems at breast height (4 1/2 feet above the ground). What is this measure of stand density called?
What is the scientific (latin) name of the tree which has leaves, fruits, and twigs like this?
It is a decidious tree common in the Eastern United States and one of the most valuable timber species.

On the topographic map below the arrow marked 3 points to the text notation "BM 1148" and the circle marked one designates a hilltop. If all distances are in feet and the distance from the BM to the hilltop is 2300 feet horizonally what is the average percent slope within plus or minus 1%? What feature of topography is that area marked 2?

On the topographic map below the arrow marked 3 points to the text notation "BM 1148". What does this mean?

On the topographic map below what type of geographic structure is circled and marked 1 and how far above sea level is it at its highest point.

On a topographic map what is the meaning of the term "contour interval = 20 feet"?
In the United States there are three popular formulas or methods for estimating the number of board feet of lumber which can be produced from a given log. These are called "log rules". Name any two of these.
What is the standard height for measuring the diameter of the trunk of a standing tree and what is this diameter called?
What is the scientific (latin) name of the tree which has leaves, fruits, and twigs like this?
It is an aromatic tree common in the Eastern United States with three types of leaves on the same tree.

What is the scientific (latin) name of the tree which has leaves, flowers, and twigs like this?
It is a decidious tree common in the Eastern United States.

What is a relascope? What is its use?
see Answer
What is the scientific (Latin) name of the tree which has leaves like this?
It is a deciduous tree common in the Eastern United States with bark that is broken into long shaggy plates. It is considered an important mast producer for wildlife.

see Answer
What is the scientific (Latin) name of the tree which has leaves like this?
It is a deciduous tree common in moist soils in the Eastern United States.

see Answer
I have 100 acres of northern red oak trees, Quercus rubra. The average circular spacing between trees is 37 feet. These trees when 50 years old were 70 feet tall. They have an average merchantable height of two 16 foot logs per tree. If these trees are 22 inches dbh and have a form class of 78 and if this grade of red oak is selling at the local sawmill for $600.00 per mbf, International 1/4 inch log scale and if the total cost of felling, skidding, bucking, loading and hauling to the mill is $100.00 per mbf., what is the total dollar value (to the nearest $1,000) on the stump of this tract of timber? Is this a good site for growing Quercus rubra?
According to Mesavage and Girard a Form Class 78, two log tree with a dbh of 22 inches contains 368 board feet International 1/4 inch log rule.
What is likely to happen when Pinus spp. is interplanted with Juglans nigra?
A member of the Ebony family in North America, this forest tree has a fruit that is delicious after frost but if eaten before a good frost the bitter fruit will cause the mouth to pucker. Give the scientific name of this tree and tell the use of its wood in sports.
On the topographic map below the circle marked one designates a hilltop. If a person walks East from one to the place marked four is he walking, in general, uphill or downhill and when he arrives at four how much will his elevation have changed? Answers to the nearest 100 units are fine.

What is the scientific (Latin) name of the tree which has leaves like this?
It is a deciduous tree common in moist soils in the Eastern United States.

What silvicultural tool can be used both to enhance germination of lodgepole pine seeds and to help control brown spot disease in the grass stage of longleaf pine?
What is the term used for the ratio of the diameter of a tree inside bark at the top of the first 16 foot log to its diameter outside bark 4 1/2 feet above the ground?
What is the scientific (Latin) name of the tree which has leaves like this?
It is a deciduous tree from Asia common as an ornamental in the United States.

In point sampling with a wedge prism, Basal Area Factor 10, the plot radius factor is 33. If a tree is 10.8 inches in diameter breast height and it is located 30 feet from the plot center, will the forester measure this tree in his variable plot radius cruise if he is using a BAF 10 prism? Why or why not?
On the same subject:
An alidade is used for triangulation. How and for what purpose?
What are a pulaski, a mcleod, and a council rake used to construct?
Why are we told to "Never undercut with the line"?
All the above questions must be answered completely, specifically and in terms relevant to the subject.
What is the scientific (Latin) name of the tree which has leaves like this?
It is a deciduous tree common in the Eastern United States.
The leaves are palmately compound.
Carrying the fruit of this tree is said to bring good luck and/or prevent arthritis.

What are Naval Stores? They are produced in what area of the United States? What species of trees are mainly involved?
This man is collecting data to radio to the dispatch room. Specifically, what data is he collecting and how will the dispatcher use the data he sends?

see Answer
In wildlife management mast from Carya spp. has been described as ice cream while mast from Quercus spp. has been described as meat and potatoes. Explain?
see Answer
This dioecious tree with doubly pinnately compound leaves grows in the Midwestern United States. The leaves, up to 32 inches long, are some of the largest leaves found on any tree. The fruit contains a large legume seed with a very hard seed coat. Scarification is necessary before germination can occur. The seeds are said to be poisonous but were also said to be used by early settlers to prepare a bitter drink as a substitute for coffee. What is the scientific (Latin) name of this tree pictured below?

see Answer
Late summer travelers along Interstates and other major highways in the Eastern United States, especially in Kentucky and Tennessee, often see a brown discoloration on mountainsides visible from the road. On closer inspection this color is seen to be caused by the fact that the inner tissue of the leaves of black locust trees (Robinia pseudacacia L.) is missing. What has attacked these trees?
see Answer
Born in 1887, a forest ranger and ecologist in the desert southwest, he died in 1948 while fighting a brush fire. He wrote extensive wildlife management texts. Who was this man, considered the father of the modern conservation movement?
see Answer
On a topographic map with a scale of 1:24000 how many inches on the map represents a mile on the ground? How many gunter's chains is this?
see Answer
When using a steel tape to measure horizontal distances on sloping ground it is sometimes necessary to "break tape". What does this mean and why is it done?
see Answer
Joe and Sally met in their freshman year of high school. Young Joe was so smitten with her that he took Sally to a nearby woodland where he carved a heart and their initials into the bark of a young beech tree. Joe and Sally were a couple all through high school and after high school they married and moved North where they raised a son and two daughters and worked at various jobs for 35 years. They then retired and moved back to their old home town.
One day Joe suggested to Sally that they return to the woodland and find "their" beech tree. They went there one beautiful autumn afternoon and searched the sun dappled woodland walking through piles of brightly colored autumn leaves. After a while they found the old beech tree still standing.
Joe and Sally had been gone for 35 years. That plus the four years of high school means that 39 years had elasped since the initials were carved. If the beech tree grew in height 5% of its height for the first ten years, then 3% for the next ten years and then 2% for the last nine years, how high up the tree would Joe and Sally have to look to see their carved heart? Assume that the heart was originally carved at eye level or about five feet above the ground.
see Answer
Black Cherry and other Prunus spp. trees in the eastern United States often appear as in the picture below in the spring of the year. What causes this?

see Answer
Which of the following is not an angiosperm?
  • Salix nigra
  • Carya ovata
  • Abies amabilis
  • Corylus cornuta
  • Quercus rubra
  • Magnolia acuminata
  • Rhus typhina
  • Acer negundo

see Answer
I calibrated my pace and I have 11 paces per gunter's chain. I paced around a tract of forest land as follows:
        Due West 110 paces
        Due South 33 paces
        Due East 154 paces
        in a Northwesterly direction 55 paces to the beginning.
Approximately how many acres are in the tract?
see Answer
Name these tools. Be specific.

see Answer
"Where, oh where, is dear little Susie?"
"Pick 'um up and put 'um in your pocket."
"the largest tree fruit native to the United States."

Scientific name please?

see Answer
A green tree of forests of the Eastern United States; it has pinnately compound opposite net-veined deciduous leaves 8 to 12 inches long with 5 to 9 leaflets whitish beneath. It has a superior ovary with a 4 parted calyx and 2 stamens. The flowers are imperfect and the trees are dioecious. The fruit is a double samara less than 12 mm long each half winged with the wing decurrent less than 1/3 of the body length and one seeded. What is the scientific or latin name of this species? How is its wood important in sports?
see Answer
Where have all the elms gone? (long time passing.) Use scientific names.
see Answer
Before dinner I decide to have an "old fashioned". What tree species is involved in the production of the liquor in this drink? How?
My dinner companion orders a "gin and tonic". What genus of trees or shrubs is involved in the production of the liquor in this drink? How?
see Answer
What is the term for the ratio commonly expressed in the United States as the ratio of the dib at the top of the first 16 foot log to the dob at breast height?
see Answer
What is the name of the instrument below used in measuring slope and height of trees?

see Answer
Location of suspect smokes by triangulation from fire tower alidade readings at a forest fire dispatch station ideally works like this:

However in actual practice it often looks like this:

There are three most probable explanations for this. What are, at least, two of these?
see Answer
What is the scientific name of this understory tree of the southern and mid-western United States? It is a member of the legume family. It often is seen blooming profusely on abandoned fields on hillsides in eastern Kentucky in early spring.

see Answer
What is shiitake production?
see Answer
A moist cove in the Smokey Mountains with an overstory of beech, yellow poplar, hemlock, and white oak; a closed canopy and deep topsoil. Which of the following species are most likely to thrive in the understory?
(The answer may include more than one species. It is expected to include all such species.)
  • Sugar Maple
  • Scarlet Oak
  • Yellow Poplar
  • Dogwood
  • Hemlock
  • White Oak
  • Beech
  • Shortleaf Pine
  • Hickory

see Answer
What is this weird growth on a cedar tree? Although not looking like this, it can also be found on another kind of tree. What kind?

see Answer
This common woody vine is usually avoided by foresters.

What is its common and scientific name?
see Answer
What are the three legs of the fire tripod, removing any one of which will stop the fire? Which one is most commonly removed in fighting forest fires?
see Answer
Which of the following does not belong:
  • Barry Goldwater
  • Bruce Babbitt
  • Morris Udall
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • James G. Watt
  • John Muir
  • Gifford Pinchot
  • Aldo Leopold
  • Dr. Carl A. Schenck

see Answer
The major introduced pest of eastern United States hardwood forests is native to Europe and Asia. It was originally introduced in Massachusetts in 1869 in an effort to begin a commercial silk industry in the United States. Identify this tree defoliator which spreads over long distances when egg masses are unknowingly transported from infested areas on vehicles.
see Answer
Which of the following does not belong?
  • Polyporus pargamenus
  • Fomes pini
  • Pleurotus ostreatus
  • Gnomonia veneta
  • Endothia parasitica
  • Malacosoma disstria
  • Gymnosporangium juniperivirginianae

see Answer
Is the relationship between the position of an animal in the food chain and the carrying capacity for that animal in its environment direct or indirect? Explain.
see Answer

In regard to autumn color sort the following species of trees and shrubs of eastern United States into two groups as to whether the leaves are predominately red or yellow in the fall.
  • Cornus florida
  • Liquidambar styraciflua
  • Carya ovata
  • Populus tremuloides
  • Acer rubrum
  • Nyssa sylvatica
  • Fagus grandifolia
  • Cercis candensis
  • Liriodendron tulipifera
  • Rhus typhina
  • Betula lenta
  • Oxydendrum arboreum

see Answer
Foresters soon learn to evaluate the quality of a site for timber growth by means of the understory vegetation, flowering annuals and perennials and shrubs.
Which of the following would probably not be at home growing in a moist north facing appalachian cove forest which included in the overstory hemlock, beech, sugar maple and yellow poplar? (Hint: 2 out of 8.)
  • Ginseng, Panax quinquefolium
  • Teaberry, Gaultheria procumbens
  • Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis
  • Passion-Flower, Passiflora incarnata
  • Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Arisaema atrorubens
  • Large-Flowered Trillium, Trillium grandiflorum
  • Ramp, Allium tricoccum
  • Wild Ginger, Asarum canadense

see Answer
The parasitic shrub below has been believed to extinguish fires, promote conception and ward off evil spirits.

What is its common name?
see Answer
This evergreen has very white wood.

What are its common and scientific names?
see Answer
Foresters, Joe and Steve, were each sent to cruise two different timber tracts. They each collected data on 40 variable radius plots, returned to the office, analyzed their data and presented the following information to their boss.
                Joe's Data
        Acres - 10
        Plots - 40
        Basal Area - 80 square feet
        Trees/acre - 55
        Bd. ft./acre - 5000
        Coefficient of Variation of volume - .60
                Steve's Data
        Acres - 5000
        Plots - 40
        Basal Area - 55 square feet
        Trees/acre - 32
        Bd. ft./acre - 1500
        Coefficient of Variation of volume - .50
The boss said, "We need to be 95% confident that we are accurate within plus or minus 15% of actual volume on each cruise. You will both have to take additional plots to obtain this accuracy." On approximately how many additional plots should each forester collect data?
see Answer
The distinctive bark pattern of this tree, native to eastern United States, makes it easy to identify at a distance. The mottled brown and white pattern is caused by the exfoliation of the outer bark exposing the lighter creamy-white inner layers.

What species is this? Scientific name, please.
see Answer
Which of the following does not belong and why?
  • Prunus serotina
  • Malus pumila
  • Pyrus communis
  • Sorbus americana
  • Gleditsia triacanthos
  • Amelanchier arborea
  • Crataegus spp.

see Answer
On the map below identify the three circled symbols.

Symbol number 1 is a triangle. The number "1517" is written there. What does this number mean?
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A compass needle points to the north magnetic pole rather than toward the north geographical pole (true north). The angle formed between magnetic north and true north is called declination, and allowance must be made for this factor in converting magnetic bearings and azimuths to true angular readings. Depending on the location of the observer on the earth the correction for declination varies and may be either to the east or west of north. However, if the observer is in a place on earth which is in a straight line with the true and magnetic north poles the declination is zero and no correction is needed. What is the name of this imaginary line around the earth where the declination is zero and what is the general term for all lines connecting points with equal declination?

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In point sampling if the ratio of tree diameter (dbh) to plot radius is 1:19, what is the Basal Area Factor (BAF) and what is the per acre expansion factor for an 18" dbh tree?
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In even aged southern pine plantations a 30,000 acre working circle has an average 60 year rotation length in the management plan. If annual harvests are desired and the compartment size is set to roughly equal an annual logging chance, what is the average compartment size? How would one compute the allowable annual harvest?
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This delicate woodland flower is infrequently found in appalachian hardwood forests but is fairly common in some parts of Canada. Give both its common and scientific names.

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  1. Mensuration
  2. Silviculture
  3. Dendrology

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Which one of the following does not belong and why?
  1. Proteidae
  2. Taxodiaceae
  3. Salicaceae
  4. Betulaceae
  5. Fagaceae
  6. Plantanaceae
  7. Hippocastanaceae
  8. Oleaceae

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A native of Brazil and Argentina, this tree is a widely planted ornamental in Australia and grows best in tropical and semi-tropical areas.
Please give the scientific name and family.

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If a timber stand has an average basal area of 70 square feet per acre and contains an average of 100 trees per acre, what is the average dbh in inches?
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This tree from eastern Asia is a widespread ornamental in the southern United States and elsewhere. What are its common and scientific names and what happens to its leaves at night?

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How is Morus alba related to Bombyx mori?
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All members of this family are achlorophyllous and hence entirely dependent on their mycorrhizal associations with fungi for all nutrients. These fungi in turn also have mycorrhizal associations with forest trees, so that members of the family could be thought of as parasitizing the latter relationship.

What family is this and what is the common name of this plant?
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According to the International 1/4 inch tree scale an 18 inch dbh white oak 2, 16' logs in merchantable height with a form class of 78 will yield 233 board feet of lumber. If I am point sampling using a BAF 15 prism and I count two of these trees on one sample plot, how many square feet of basal area per acre will they represent?
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Suppose I have a timber tract with 1,000,000 board feet of grade 2 trees worth an average of $150 per thousand board feet on the stump. Suppose that grade 1 timber is worth $250 per thousand board feet. Suppose I know that the average annual inflation rate over the next ten years will be 3%. Suppose that I know, due to the site quality of my land, that my timber will grow at an average rate of 5% increase in volume annually for the next ten years. Since my timber is hardwood timber such as oak and maple, suppose I also know that 5% of its volume will change from grade 2 to grade 1 each year as it matures due to the larger log sizes. Suppose I also know that if I invest my money in mutual funds in the stock market, I can expect to get a 10% return on investment annually for the next ten years. Should I sell my timber and invest the money in the stock market now? Explain why or why not.
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Timber stands can be improved by killing unwanted trees. One way to do this is by girdling, cutting a ring around the trunk of the selected tree. Why does this kill the tree and what must the girdle accomplish to be sure to kill the tree?
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        Tricholoma magnivelare
        Cantharellus formosus
        Boletus edulis
        Tuber gibbosum 
        Leucangium carthusiana
        Hydnum repandum
In what two ways are these significant in the forest?
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I went for a walk on my farm yesterday. Since it is fall and frost can be expected soon, I remembered that this is the traditional time in Kentucky to gather wild fruits and nuts. So I returned from my walk with the stuff pictured below.

(click on picture for a clearer picture 227k)
The products from woody plants have been circled and lettered, A-G. Please give the latin name of the genus of, at least, five of these seven items.
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A highly desired plant of deciduous woodlands in eastern North America, this species looks like this in late summer:

Common and scientific name please?
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Quarter sawn oak is more expensive than plain sawn oak. What do these two terms mean and what is the advantage of quarter sawing oak? What causes the "flecks" in quarter sawn oak flooring?
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What is a coppice stand?
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Below is a micro photograph of White Ash, a ring porous wood. The number "1" marks latewood. "2" marks earlywood. If the summer is rainy so that more latewood than usual grows and the ratio of latewood to earlywood increases what effect will this have on the specific gravity of the wood? Explain?

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I have 100 acres of northern red oak trees, Quercus rubra. The average circular spacing between trees is 37 feet. These trees when 50 years old were 70 feet tall. They have an average merchantable height of two 16 foot logs per tree. If these trees are 22 inches dbh and have a form class of 78 and if this grade of red oak is selling at the local sawmill for $600.00 per mbf, International 1/4 inch log scale and if the total cost of felling, skidding, bucking, loading and hauling to the mill is $100.00 per mbf., what is the total dollar value (to the nearest $1,000) on the stump of this tract of timber? Is this a good site for growing Quercus rubra?
According to Mesavage and Girard a Form Class 78, two log tree with a dbh of 22 inches contains 368 board feet International 1/4 inch log rule.
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This tree, native to the Appalachian mountains, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas has very hard strong durable wood and is often used for fence posts. When the nectar of the flowers is harvested by bees it makes delicious light colored honey.

Please give the common and scientific names.
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Which of the following does not belong and why?
  • Bubo
  • Sylvilagus
  • Urocyon
  • Buteo
  • Lynx
  • Haliaeetus
  • Canis

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This disease resulting in a canker or swollen area on the limbs or trunks of pine trees in the southern United States spreads to the pine trees by means of orange spores produced on infected oak leaves. What economically significant disease of southern pines and oaks is this?
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What is the scientific name of a bacteria (widely used as an insecticide) that kills leaf eating caterpillars such as eastern tent caterpillars?
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In the spring people search woodlands for these. What are they (genus name) and what is their attraction?

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In the midwestern United States a hopeless situation is described as "being in the center of a forty acre field and being charged by an enraged bull with only one tree available to climb and it being the one pictured below."

What is the common and scientific name of this member of the legume family?
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A hardwood log is graded based on the third best of four faces of the log. How are the locations of these faces determined?
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What is the difference between a "clear cut" and a "high grade" timber harvest?
Which produces the most short term monetary profits?
In which type are more trees cut?
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I cruise a tract of timber and take sample data at 60 plot locations. In the office later I find that the mean volume per acre is 3,000 board feet. I calculate the standard error of the mean for the 60 plots and find that it is 300. I then state that I can be 95% confident that the actual mean volume per acre is 3,000 board feet plus or minus 588 board feet. I calculated this 1/2 confidence interval of 588 board feet by multiplying 300 by 1.960. Where did I get the factor 1.960 and what is its meaning in terms of a normal distribution?
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What are both the chemical and silvicultural differences between 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T? What impurity caused 2,4,5-T to be banned in the United States?
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Which one of the following does not belong and why?
  • Cornus florida
  • Celastrus scandens
  • Castanea dentata
  • Nyssa sylvatica
  • Juglans cinera
  • Quercus macrocarpa
  • Carya ovata

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Which one of the following does not belong and why?
  • Aesculus glabra
  • Acer negundo
  • Carya tomentosa
  • Acer saccharum
  • Juglans nigra
  • Fraxinus americana
  • Carya ovata

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At Lake Tucurui in far northern Brazil they are cutting Brazilnut wood, mahogany, ipe, angelim, jatoba and massaranduba. Spread over 1,110 square miles the timber, worth at least $100 million, has been dead for fifteen years. The logging operation is unique. Why is the logging operation unique, what killed the timber and why is the timber still valuable after being dead for so long?
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What is Anthracnose?
What is Annosus?
If I have a southern pine plantation which of these two would be of concern to me?
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Peshtigo, Wisconsin was only about 240 miles north of Chicago on October 8, 1871. That night the great Chicago fire was started, it was said, by Mrs. O'Leary's cow. However, the Chicago fire was not the big news in Peshtigo the next day or, for that matter, during the entire month of October. Why not?
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This summer the trees in my southern pine plantation began to die so that the stand looked like that in the photo below on the left. On closer examination I found sawdust at the bottom of the trees and pitch tubes as pictured in the photo on the right below on the trunks of the trees. What forest pest is killing these trees?

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A forester may use the term "stratify" in two ways. If he is operating a nursery and he says he will stratify tree seed to enhance germination, what does he mean? (He might also say he will scarify tree seed to enhance germination. What does that mean?)
He may be involved in a timber cruise and he may say that he will stratify his data. Would the purpose of this be to:
  • Increase the mean?
  • Decrease the mean?
  • Increase the coefficent of variation?
  • Decrease the coefficent of variation?
  • Increase the plot size?
  • Decrease the plot size?
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This forester is looking through an instrument with 3 widths of field of view. They are marked 5, 10 and 20. What is the instrument called? For what is it used? What are the meanings of the numbers: 5, 10 and 20?

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About 3600 pounds of hardwood, 128 cubic feet but actually only 65 to 90 cubic feet, probably around 80. What is it? Why the differing numbers of cubic foot volume?
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What is the term for chemicals responsible for the astringent taste of unripe fruits and used in the process of transforming animal hides into leather. They are extracted with hot water from the bark of chestnut and oak.
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What is the scientific name of the only five needled pine species native to the eastern part of North America? What does the term, "five needled pine", mean? (It doesn't mean that there are only five needles on the tree.)
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IX1 - unanswered
During a particularly dry fire season with a shortage of fire fighting personnel I saw this forest fire from a plane about 30 minutes after it had started at about 2 pm. I knew it would take me about two hours to land, get a fire crew to the fire and walk to the top of the mountain to begin constructing a fire line with hand tools to contain the fire. Which of the colored fire lines did I plan to construct? Discuss the disadvantages of the others.

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Concerning logging tools:
For what do we use a spud and a timbershave?
How is a peavey different than a canthook?
What do we call a canthook with a wooden or steel rocker installed at the lower end of the handle opposite the lip and what is the purpose of this?
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The bird below is a resident of Kentucky woodlands whose population is small and endangered. The insect pictured and enlarged at the right is about the size of a grain of rice. Why is it feared that the activities of this small insect may cause the extinction of the population of this bird in Kentucky? What species is the bird and the insect?

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The largest known living organism on earth lives in the western United States. What and where is it?
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I found this list of species of Virginia forest trees. They were in three groups. I removed the headings of each group. By what silvicultural characteristic where these species divided into these groups and what should be the heading on each group?
    sugar maple           red oak            black walnut                    
       beech             white oak           black cherry                    
     basswood            black oak           chestnut oak                    
     dogwood            white pine            scarlet oak                    
     hornbeam              ash               yellow poplar                   
     red spruce           hickory             sweetgum                       
    rhododendron         red maple           Virginia pine                   
                        sweet birch           pitch pine                     
                         sycamore         Table mountain pine                
                         sourwood             red cedar                      
                         blackgum            black locust                    
                         Fraser fir           sassafras                      

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This fast growing tree is an imported ornamental species in the United States. Escaped trees are sometimes found growing wild in forests in the eastern part of the country. What species is it?

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On a BAF 10 point sampling timber cruise each 20 inch dbh tree measured represents how many such trees per acre?
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What genus of Pinaceae is deciduous?
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This Tree of the mulberry family is unique in its method of growth. From its center, broad branches extend outward sprouting aerial roots that hang down. When they grow long enough to reach the ground, they take root and thicken, becoming wooden pillars. By spreading in this way, a single tree can become a forest.

What tree is this?
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Which one of the following does not belong and why?
  • Robinia pseudoacacia
  • Fagus grandifolia
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Magnolia grandiflora
  • Juglans nigra
  • Morus alba
  • Acer rubrum
  • Larix decidua

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The lines A-B and A-C on the map below are exactly the same length. If I want to exercise to burn the maximum number of calories and I am standing at A, should I walk to B or to C?

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Below are two groups of plants:
        TREES                ANNUALS AND PERENNIALS

        Serviceberry         Red clover
        Red Bud              Vetch
        Apple                Strawberry
        Honey Locust         Rose
        Black Cherry         Soy bean
They are grouped based on form of the plant (tree/non tree). Please put these plants in two groups of five on a different basis and explain your reasoning.
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Why have most of the dogwood trees in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park died in the last few years?
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Which one of the following does not belong and why?
  • Meleagris gallopavo
  • Sciurus carolinensis
  • Procyon lotor
  • Sturnella magna
  • Lynx rufus
  • Dryocopus pileatus
  • Caprimulgus vociferus

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If I tell you that my forest consists mainly of Archaeopteris spp., what do you know about me?
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I was asked to cruise a timber tract in which the client did not have a good deed description. He was able to furnish me deed calls for his land obtained from deeds of adjoining landowners. Unfortunately, these calls were from different surveys done by various surveyors in various time periods. Therefore, I had to do some conversions. Here is the description he furnished me:
Beginning at a white oak beside a spring thence 203 degrees 
azimuth 10 chains to a stake, thence North 67 degrees West 20 
rods to a cedar, thence turning a clockwise 270 degree angle and 
proceeding 80 poles to a rock, thence 113 degrees azimuth 330 
feet to a fence post near where the brown cow stood, thence to 
the beginning. 
It will be noted that the distance and direction of the last deed call are not given. What is this distance and direction and how many acres in area is this tract of land?
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While gathering firewood for a campfire one night I happened upon an old tree stump that glowed in the dark with an eerie pale bluish green light.
I added a piece of it to my load of firewood and when burned on the fire the flames turned a strange color.
What caused this?
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What are sclerenchyma cells and why are they important to trees?
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What tree is this?

Scientific name please.
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What tree, native to forests in the eastern United States, is this?
        Leaves broad - not needle-like or scale-like
        Leaves simple - not compound with several leaflets
        Leaves opposite on the branch not alternately placed
        Leaves entire - not lobed
        Leaves oval shaped - not heart shaped
        Fruit - a shiny oval red drupe.

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As I am walking in a forest in the Appalachian mountains I see around me trees that are mostly scarlet oak, chestnut oak, hickory, and pine. As I continue walking I notice that the forest type has changed and I now see yellow poplar, beech, hemlock and maple. Have I been walking uphill or downhill? How do you know?
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Which one of the following does not belong and why?
  1. Allium tricoccum
  2. Datura stramonium
  3. Polygonatum biflorum
  4. Cypripedium acaule
  5. Viola rostrata
  6. Mitchella repens
  7. Asarum arifolium
  8. Panax quinquefolium

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A recent timber cruise in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky of a forest consisting mostly of oaks, yellow poplar, hard maple and hickory trees showed about 50 trees per acre more than 12 inches in diameter breast high with an average of 200 board feet doyle scale per tree and an average of 92 square feet of basal area per acre. Since the state Division of Forestry recommends planting 800 to 1000 trees per acre and this stand only supported 50 sawlog size trees per acre, a local farmer said that the stand, as I described it to him, didn't seem to be very well stocked with trees. He was wrong. Please put the numbers above into perspective by explaining what numbers would be expected on an average stand and on a well stocked stand of this type and why there is such a discrepancy in number of trees per acre planted and number harvested.
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What tree genus, native to forests in the eastern United States, is this?
        Leaves broad - not needle-like or scale-like
        Leaves compound with several leaflets - not simple
        Leaves opposite on the branch not alternately placed
        Leaves palmately compound not pinnately compound

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A forester from Europe visiting me in the American midwest asked me, as we looked over a forest tract, the size of the tract. I told her it was a section. She was not able to understand this unit of measurement until she had mentally converted it to hectares. How many hectares would this section contain?
It may be helpful for you to know that:
one inch = 2.54 centimeters.
one hectare is one hectometer squared.
a section is 80 gunther's chains squared.
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A common recommendation for planting tree seedings is to plant 1,000 seedlings per acre at a 6 foot by 7 foot spacing (trees 6 feet apart in rows 7 feet apart). If I have a bundle containing exactly 1,000 tree seedings and I measure carefully to space the trees 6 X 7 feet, will I be able to plant my entire acre or will I have tree seedlings left over? I will be short or over by how many seedlings? How many seedlings will I require per acre if I decide to instead plant the trees at an 8' X 8' spacing?
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Where do you think this forest fire originated? Why?

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Which one of the following does not belong and why?
  1. Allegheny
  2. Cherokee
  3. Adirondack
  4. Monongahela
  5. Daniel Boone
  6. Mark Twain
  7. Hiawatha
  8. Jefferson
  9. Black Hills
  10. Klamath
  11. Fishlake
  12. Lewis and Clark

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What tree is this?

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What tree is this?

Imported from:   Eastern Asia, 1907.

Distribution: Eastern United States and Western Australia.

Description: Deciduous.
        3 to 14m high (can reach 20m)
        Freely suckers, deep taproot. Disturbance of roots encourages massive regeneration of new suckers.
        Leaves consist of up to 20 pairs of leaflets (opposite each other).
        Flowers are green-white, fruit red/yellow/green colour.
        Leaf extracts contain allelopathic substances which restrict the growth of other plants. For this reason, the trees are often found in thick stands with no discernible competition.
        Contact with plant at flowering time (late Summer to Autumn) causes dermatits.
        Leaves and flowers have an unpleasant odor.

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I have a stereo pair of aerial photographs of a level wooded area. I understand that the focal length of the lens in the aerial camera is 12 inches. I measure the distance on the ground between two road intersections shown in the photo and find it to be 1600 feet and then I measure the same distance as shown in the aerial photo and find it to be 4.8 inches. I measure the distance on one of the photos between the center of that photo and the image on that photo of the point at the center of the other photo of the stereoscopic pair and find it is 2.550 inches. Using a parallax wedge on the stereo pair I find that the differential between the absolute stereoscopic parallax at ground level and that at the top of a specific tree in the photos is .058 inches. What is the estimated height of the tree?
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You must decide whether to hire a fire lookout for the summer on a National Forest. His salary and per diem allowance will cost $1,000. Your decision will be based on the probability of a severe summer fire on the forest. Set up a two way table of possible outcomes and calculate the mathematical expectation of gains or losses from the following data. Then calculate the combined expectation of loss if he is hired and the expectation of loss if he is not hired.
  1. If no severe fires occur and a lookout is not hired, you will save his salary of $1,000.
  2. If no severe fires occur and a lookout is hired, you will lose $800 (assuming the lookout will do about $200 worth of trail improvement work.)
  3. If a severe fire occurs and a lookout is not hired, you will lose $3,000.
  4. If a severe fire occurs and a lookout is hired, you will lose $1,200.
  5. The probability of a severe fire is 0.60.

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What do these plants have in common?
  • Tillandsia usneoides
  • Tillandsia fasciculata
  • Phoradendron spp.
  • Polypodium polypodiodes
  • Usnea spp.
  • Parmelia spp.
  • Pyrenula spp.

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In a BAF 10 point sampling timber cruise I have measured between 300 and 400 trees on 60 sample plots. Putting these measurements into my forest analysis computer program, I have now created a stand and stock table for the sampled forest which reports number of trees, timber volume and timber value by 1 inch diameter class. If my task is to estimate volumes and values of timber at a time in the past when the trees were two inches smaller in diameter than now, should I simply reduce the diameter of each measured tree by two inches and run the trees through the program again or should I take the number of trees in each diameter class in the stand and stock table and move that number down two inches in the table applying the average volume and value for the new class to the new number of trees now in that diameter class? One of these methods is much more valid than the other. Why? Assume that timber prices are constant during the period.
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What do these products have in common?
  • quinine
  • rosin
  • turpentine
  • paper
  • excelsior
  • rubber
  • alcohol
  • various dyes
  • acetic acid
  • syrup

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What is the significance of each of these trees?
  • The Mendocino tree, a redwood, west of Ukiah, California?
  • Methuselah, a bristlecone pine tree, near the Nevada California state border?
  • General Sherman, a giant sequoia, in Sequoia National Park, California?

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What one word is brought to mind by these trees?
  • Ficus sycomorus
  • Acer pseudoplatanus
  • Platanus occidentalis

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What is a "witches'-broom"? What is a gall? What is cecidology?
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Foresters in surveying a tract of land sometimes use a table listing the position of one or more celestial bodies for each day of the year. The French publication, Connaissance de Temps, founded in 1679, is the oldest of such published tables. What do we call such a table? Why do surveyors sometimes need such information?
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In War of the Minds, battle 3, a long time ago, the answer to a question was Kentucky Coffee Tree. Our web visitor who answered this question included in his answer some discussion of the scientific name of the tree:
Actually, I've seen it listed as G. dioica and G. dioicus -- which makes 
a sort of twisted sense, since the tree is "dioecious" (meaning it has male
and female individuals) and dioeca and dioecus would be the male and female
forms of the same word, in Latin. But I don't think that botanical Linnaean
binomial taxonomy works that way. Either a (contemporary) Somebody screwed
up or a (historic) Somebody couldn't make up their mind. I used 'dioica'
because  the names I've seen for other plants seem to favor the feminine
dioecious name (Urtica dioica = stinging nettle; Silene diocia = red
campion; Bryonia dioica =  white bryony; and many others) 
A recent visitor to our pages emailed us to give the correct scientific name and the reason based on Latin usage that it is correct. Please see if you can also give us this answer.
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I can download from the internet a Digital Elevation Model before cruising a timber stand or mapping a forest area.
What is a DEM? Where would I get it?
How would I use it?
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A forest manager decided to set up a continuous forest inventory system in which permanent plots are resampled on a periodic basis, such as every five years, to give ongoing reports on the status of the forest. He planned 250 permanent plots on a 60,000 acre forest. He said that the plots should be conspicuously marked on the ground so that they could easily be found for each periodic forest inventory. A mensurationist suggested to him that marking the plots in such as way was probably not such a good idea. Why not?
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Carotene (the pigment found in carrots and corn) causes maples, birches, and poplars to turn yellow. The brilliant reds and oranges in this fall landscape are due to anthocyanins. Tannins give the oak a distinctively brown color and is the final persistent color most leaves turn before becoming part of the forest floor. Why do we see these colors in tree leaves only in the autumn?
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This rare tree of the legume family is native to Kentucky, Tennessee and part of Missouri. The heartwood of this tree is a striking yellow color. What tree is it? (Scientific name please.)

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Pycnidia, apothecia, mycelium. To what am I referring?
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Specifically, what are these?
  • Araucariaceae
  • Cephalotaxaceae
  • Cupressaceae
  • Pinaceae
  • Podocarpaceae
  • Taxodiaceae

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Some of the following do not belong here.
Which do not belong and why?
  • Ursidae
  • Canidae
  • Felidae
  • Mustelidae
  • Otariidae
  • Odobenidae
  • Phocidae
  • Procyonidae

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The cambium is between the xylem and the phloem. Further describe these three types of cells and their functional purpose. If I say, "Xylem up and phloem down", of what processes am I reminding myself?
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Which one of the list below does not belong and why?
  • Platanus occidentalis
  • Pinus strobus
  • Pinus sylvestris
  • Pinus virginiana
  • Abies fraseri
  • Picea abies
  • Juniperus virginiana
  • Ilex opaca
  • Phoradendron flavescens

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Of these Appalachian hardwood tree species:
  • American beech
  • eastern hemlock
  • sugar maple
  • black cherry
  • black locust
  • yellow poplar
Which cannot reproduce and survive under a closed forest canopy?
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When hardwood is sliced into veneer sheets for use in furniture and door surfaces, etc. the sheets are carefully kept in the order that they came from the log. Why is this order important?
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What are these?
  • Angeles
  • Cleveland
  • Eldorado
  • Inyo
  • Klamath
  • Lassen
  • Los Padres
  • Mendocino
  • Modoc
  • Plumas
  • San Bernardino
  • Sequoia
  • Shasta-Trinity
  • Sierra
  • Six Rivers
  • Stanislaus
  • Tahoe

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A virginia creeper vine has climbed up and around to the top of a cylindrical pine tree trunk in a helical manner. The tree trunk has a height of 375 inches and a circumference of 40 inches. If the creeper covers a vertical distance of 75 inches in one complete twist around the tree trunk, what is the total length of the creeper?
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I have decided to sell some of the hardwood timber from my woodland. To decide where I can get the best price I decide to check prices at nearby sawmills. Mr. Jones at a sawmill about ten miles from my woodland says, after I have described the timber to him, that he can probably pay me an average of $300 per thousand board feet. I then continue on down the road another five miles to Mr. Smith's sawmill. He says he can pay me $275 per thousand board feet.
"Sorry", I say, "But Mr. Jones is willing to give me $300 per thousand."
"Yes," says Mr. Smith, "but Jones has a 1/4 inch kerf circular saw and buys on doyle log scale. I, however, have a 1/8 inch band saw and buy on international 1/8 inch log scale, so you should sell to me."
What is Mr. Smith talking about? Where will I get the best price for my logs?
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Below are pictures of examples of three species of snakes that might be found in forests on the east coast of North America. Which of these is poisonous? What species is it? How does one distinguish that species from the others?

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I live in the United States.
Five of the following six tree species are native where I live:
  • Quercus palustris - pin oak
  • Pinus palustris - longleaf pine
  • Robinia pseudoacacia - black locust
  • Acer saccharum - sugar maple
  • Liquidambar styraciflua - sweet gum
  • Populus grandidentata - bigtooth aspen
Which one is not?
Do I reside in New York, Kentucky, Georgia, Nebraska, Texas or California?
How do you know?
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Walking in the forest I see mahogany, ipe, angelim, jatoba and massaranduba.
Where am I?
see Answer
I am a broad leaved tree. I do not have needles or scales.
My leaves are simple not compound.
My leaves are serrated not lobed.
My leaves are doubly toothed around the margins of the leaf (doubly serrate) and asymmetrical at the base.
My leaves appear alternately on the stem, not opposite each other.
I have a dry, 1-seeded fruit with a wing.
I appear throughout Eastern North America.
What am I?
see Answer
This is the fruit of what tree?

see Answer
Please list the numbers 1 through 4 on the topographic map fragment below in order from lowest to highest in elevation.

see Answer
What tree is this? Scientific name please.

see Answer
My GPS tells me that my home is North 36 degrees 42.461 minutes and West 85 degrees 05.430 minutes at 951 feet elevation. I am deep in the woods at Jack's Knob. The GPS says it is North 36 degrees 44.271 minutes and West 85 degrees 05.414 minutes at 1580 feet elevation. If the batteries give out on my GPS and I have to navigate my way home by compass, how far will I have to go in what direction?
see Answer
What species, utilized by golfers, is this?
see Answer
What species of forests and fields in eastern United States is this? Common and scientific name please:
see Answer
What is the most obvious missing name from this list:
  • Fagus
  • Nothofagus
  • Lithocarpus
  • Castanopsis
  • Colombobalanus
  • Castanea
  • Chrysolepis
  • Trigonobalanus

see Answer
The trees below are divided into two groups. What is the basis for this division?
 Quercus macrocarpa       Quercus virginiana
 Magnolia soulangiana     Magnolia grandiflora
 Gingko biloba            Pseudotsuga menziesii
 Larix laricina           Pinus ponderosa 
 Ilex verticillatta       Ilex opaca

see Answer
The lamp below was used for years by forest fire fighters fighting fires at night. It does not require batteries and it is useful in setting backfires. What kind of lamp is it and how does it work?

see Answer

Finance - The Arithmetic of Interest

Effective use of compound interest in financial calculations necessitates a thorough knowledge of its mathematical structure and computation. Here are the principal formulas useful in interest calculations.


A Bookkeeping and Accounting Primer

For Small Business Owners & Bookkeepers

Accounting for the Small Business
by Duane Bristow
October 30, 1999

I have been developing accounting systems and training bookkeepers for small businesses in towns of rural Kentucky since about 1980. This is an overview of both principles of such accounting and use of my computer system, PGAS, to do such bookkeeping. It should be useful to anyone who owns a small business or is responsible for accounting for a small business.

Although the examples given use my computer accounting system, the principles apply to any business using any valid accounting system from manual books to generalized off the shelf accounting packages. The main differences between these and the PGAS system is that the PGAS system is completely customizable to handle special needs of particular businesses. For instance it is set up to account for quantities and numbers as well as dollars, to handle multiple profit centers, and to handle sales of products made from raw materials or with specialized taxing requirements. Examples are bulk fertilizer sales and gasoline sales. The profit center accounting and quantity and number accounting are especially useful for farmers.

The purpose of accounting is to keep track of items of value including goods, cash, and financial obligations in their current state and in their flow or change over time so that reports useful in making management decisions are available to the managers of a business or other accounting entity.

Accounting is based on the concept of a financial transaction. A financial transaction occurs whenever the status or ownership of a thing of value changes.

Here are a few examples of financial transactions:

Chart of Accounts:

The first step in accounting is to know a business well enough to understand the types of financial transactions well enough to design an accounting system (chart of accounts) that will be most useful for that particular business.

Since accounting consists of keeping track of financial transactions, this is done by categorizing these transactions. For example some involve cash or bank accounts. Some involve inventory or other asset values. Some involve payroll to employees. Some involve receivables from customers or payables to suppliers.

A chart of accounts is a list of the categories of financial transactions for a particular business. These categories are grouped as:

  1. Asset Accounts - things of value owned by the business.
  2. Liability Accounts - amounts owed to outsiders.
  3. Owner's Equity Accounts - amounts owed by the business to its owners (profit). If the business loses money the owners may owe additional money to the business.
  4. Revenue Accounts - Sources of income.
  5. Expense Accounts - Payments necessary to run the business.

Proper accounting practice requires a double entry accounting system. This means that each value input into the system is a credit (-) to one general ledger account and a debit (+) to another. Since each entry affects two accounts by the same amount, debiting one and crediting another, the accounts are always in balance. Another way to look at accounting is to view the chart of accounts as a row of jars lined up along a wall with a label on each jar. The first jar might be labeled "Bank Account". One further down the line might be labeled "Phone Expenses". If a phone bill is paid the accounting system takes an amount of money out of the "Bank Account" jar and puts it into the "Phone Expenses" jar. Thus it can be seen that the sum of the credits will always be equal to the sum of the debits meaning the books will be in balance or the sum of the debits and credits together will be zero.

One might wonder where the money comes from to be transferred between jars. The point is that the jars (or accounts) start out empty and they stay empty to the extent that the sum of the money in the jars is always zero. A credit to one account is offset by a debit to another so that we have +1-1=0.

In general

General Ledger:

The general ledger is a report showing for each GL account in order for a specified period of time, such as a month or a year, the change in the balance in that account and listing all the transactions which contributed to and made that change.

The two primary reports produced by an accounting system are the Balance Sheet and the Profit and Loss or Earnings report.

The types of accounts in a chart of accounts are actually of two general kinds:

  1. Those that make up the Balance Sheet: Assets, Liabilities, and Owner's Equity.
  2. Those that make up the Profit and Loss report: Revenues and Expenses.

I like to refer to those accounts of type 1, Balance Sheet, as "above the line" accounts and those of type 2, Profit and Loss, as "below the line" accounts.

Any transaction that does not affect below the line accounts does not affect earnings. For example purchase of goods to be sold affects the two asset accounts: Bank Account, and Inventory, both above the line, and has no effect on earnings. If you purchase goods to be sold you have simply converted one type of asset, cash in the bank, to another type of assets, goods in inventory. No profit or loss can be made until those goods are actually sold or otherwise disposed.

Balance Sheet:

The Balance Sheet is a report that shows for a specific point in time such as the end of a month or a year or some other date the financial position or status of the business. Looking at the Balance Sheet another way, it is a statement of the situation if the business were to immediately go out of business. If that were to happen all assets would be sold (hopefully at book value) and converted to a pile of cash. Immediately the size of that pile of cash would be reduced by paying off all creditors eliminating all liabilities. Any cash left in the pile after this would belong to the owners and would represent their equity or profit in the business. If, however, the cash pile produced by sale of the assets was not large enough to pay off all liabilities and the owners were then required to come up with money out of their pockets to finish satisfying the creditors the business would have a loss rather than a profit.

Profit and Loss or Earnings Report:

The P&L report is a report showing total revenues and expenses by account over a specified period of time such as a week, month, or year. Revenues are credits (-) and expenses are debits (+) so that if the business makes a profit (revenues exceed expenses) the total earnings is a credit (-). This total shows on the balance sheet as an earnings amount in an owners' equity account meaning that the business owes that amount to the owners. A P&L report can be thought of as a statement for a specific period of time showing how a profit or loss occurred.

Accounts Receivable:

Besides the primary reports described above an accounting system produces many other reports necessary for management of a business. One of the ledgers subsidiary to the General Ledger is the Accounts Receivable Ledger or subsystem. The purpose of accounts receivable is to keep data on amounts owed to the business by its customers for goods sold on credit.

A cash sale results in a debit (+) or deposit to the bank account and a credit (-) to the proper sales revenue account. A credit sale is posted as a debit (+) or increase in the asset Accounts Receivable account and a credit (-) to the sales revenue account. Since the profit or loss which is the sum of revenues and expenses is carried into the balance sheet as current earnings, such a sale becomes a credit (-) to current earnings because it is an amount owed by the business to its owners or a part of owners equity.

The accounting system, in the case of accounts receivable, will require the identification of a customer or vendor for the transaction. This allows the system to keep a separate ledger for transactions involving each customer with credits or payments made by the customer and debits or charges incurred together with a running receivable balance.

The Accounts Receivable system then allows three primary reports:

  1. A ledger or report for a single customer.
  2. An Aged accounts report which is a listing of total amounts owed by all customers together with aging columns showing how old unpaid amounts are in terms of months usually.
  3. A statement or bill to customers usually printed and mailed on a monthly basis.

The accounting system also allows for carrying charges to a customer or vendors account for amounts not paid on a timely basis.

Accounts Payable:

The Accounts Payable ledger or subsystem is the mirror image of the Accounts Receivable ledger. It keeps data on amounts owed by the business to its suppliers of goods and services. While AR generally carries a debit (+) balance, AP carries a credit (-) balance or a liability balance. AR is an asset account and AP is a liability account. While the AR system produces bills to customers, the AP system produces checks to pay to suppliers. It also includes a detailed ledger for each supplier and an aged accounts report showing amounts owed by number of months elapsed since unpaid purchases.

Payroll System:

The payroll system exists to pay employees, to keep a ledger of payments to each employee, to withhold taxes and other amounts properly from employees pay and to post withheld amounts to the general ledger as liabilities to be paid to government entities and others on behalf of the employee. Gross pay is made up of the net amount paid to each employee plus all withheld amounts. Gross payroll is posted to an expense payroll account while net pay is a credit (-) to the bank payroll account and withholdings are liabilities of the business. Besides payroll ledgers for each employee, the payroll system usually also produces various payroll reports useful in satisfying liabilities for withholdings.

Inventory Control:

Accounts receivable and inventory are the two items most likely to cause financial problems for small businesses. If accounts receivable age without being collected or if inventory grows with large quantities sitting on shelves unsold the business will soon see profits dwindle or disappear.

The purpose of accounting inventory control subsystems is to account for each item or type of item in inventory by enabling the manager to know how much is selling and at what times of the year, how great is the sales margin, how much is in stock, as well as when and how much should be reordered. Maximum profits occur when the proper amounts are ordered at the proper times and prices are set properly to maximize profits. Either not having the item to sell or stocking too many unsold items will decrease profits.

Inventory control is essential for businesses that sell large quantities of retail goods. Inventory control accounting is more difficult and takes more attention to detail than other accounting subsystems. It is also essential that a system of reconciling accounting system inventory figures to real-world information through a periodic physical inventory be in place.


Last revised January 2012.


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All contents copyright (C) 2012, Duane Bristow. All rights reserved.