2.4: Using Topographic Slope to Determine Tree Height - Biology

2.4: Using Topographic Slope to Determine Tree Height - Biology

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For most natural resources management purposes, land areas and distances are measured in English units. Topographic slope (or Tslope) is essentially the same as %slope, except that instead of expressing the ratio of rise over run as a proportion of 1:100, Tslope is expressed in a proportion of 1:66 as follows:

[left(frac{rise}{run} ight)(66)= ext { Tslope }]

The different multiplier (66) is the only difference between Tslope and %slope. To solve the Tslope equation for “rise” we do the following:

  1. Multiply both sides of the equation by “run” to cancel out run on the left side of the equation [frac{(r u n)(r i s e)(66)}{r u n}=(run)( ext { Tslope })]
  2. Divide both sides by “66” to cancel out 66 on the left side of the equation [frac{( ext {rise})(66)}{66}=frac{(r u n)}{66}( ext { Tslope })]

That leaves us with the following equation:

[rise=frac{(run)}{66}( ext { Tslope })]

where (rise =height)

So, just as with %slope, the Tslope multiplier (66) becomes the denominator.

Topographic slope is most commonly used when measuring merchantable height, but is also fine for measuring total height on shorter trees. Here is an example (Figure 2.7):

Example (PageIndex{1})

If Jake walks out a horizontal distance of 66 feet (one chain) from the tree, his run will equal the (Tslope) multiplier. The “66” will cancel out, and he can simply add his top and stump slope readings together.


[rise=frac{(run)}{66}left(T_{ ext {slape }} ight)]


[ ext { rise (height) }=50 ext { feet. }]

How to Measure the Height of a Tree

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At a secret location somewhere in northern California, a tree named Hyperion has been measured at a world record height of 379.3 feet (115.61m)! [1] X Research source Believe it or not, the measurement was made with an extra long tape measure, but there are much easier methods you can try yourself. While you won't be accurate to the exact inch or centimeter, these methods will give you a good approximation, and works on any tall object. Telephone poles, buildings, or magic beanstalks: as long as you can see the top, you can measure it.

Using the Percent Scale (left)

  1. Height can be measured with this scale at 100 feet from the center of the base of the tree. Measure or pace out from the center of the tree base perpendicular to the slope for the best and easiest readings.
  2. Read the right scale directly with both eyes open (Figure 4). The height measurement is in feet.
  3. Height is measured from the base of tree at ground level to top of crown or peak of terminal leader (Figure 5). Read the left scale for measurement of height.
  4. Figure 6 and Figure 7 illustrate the effects of slope on tree height measurement.
  5. Follow the rules as stated
  6. If tree height is greater than 100’, the distance from the base of the tree should be doubled to 200’, read the % scale on the left side of the clinometer and multiply by 2 to get tree height in feet.

Figure 4. View of data collector using clinometer to measure tree height.

Figure 5. Top of Tree Crown. This example is a Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum), a dendritic tree form in middle age.

Figure 6. Example of height measurement with the tree base below eye level. Base of tree reading is -8.5 ft and top of tree reading is 27.8 ft Total height is 35.5 ft.

Figure 7. Example of height measurement with the tree base above eye level. Base of tree reading is 9 ft and top of tree reading is 42 ft. If, as in this example, your eye is below the base of the tree subtract 9 ft from 42 ft to get total height of 33 ft.


The leading author would like to express sincere gratitude for all the guidance, leadership, and support to our colleague, friend, and mentor Niles Hasselquist, who passed away during the review process. We thank the research staff at the Svartberget Research Station and ICOS Sweden for their help in the establishment and collection of data presented in this paper. This research has been supported by the Swedish Research Council (VR, grant no. 2015-04791), the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (grant no. 2015.0047), and the Kempe Foundation. Additionally, this project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement No. 871126 (eLTER PPP) and 871128 (eLTER PLUS). The long-term data record has been funded by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Swedish Research Council (SITES) and other sources including Formas, Future Forests, and SKB. Financial support for Ram Oren was provided by the Erkko Visiting Professor Programme of the Jane and Aatos Erkko 375th Anniversary Fund through the University of Helsinki.

Watch the video: Επαγγελματικό κόψιμο λεύκας απο τον Αντώνη (May 2022).


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