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I remember as a budding naturalist I was unable to gauge the height of trees, one of the steps useful in identification.  There is a simple way to do this with nothing but a stick, a tape measurer and a notebook with a pencil.

 

The procedure is as follows :

 

Step one:

Find a stick; the stick should be large enough so that while you lie prostrated you can see the top of the tree lined up with the top of the stick as it is anchored perpendicular to the ground.

 

Step two:

Mark where your head is on the ground in the spot your vision lines up the top of the stick with the top of the tree.

 

Step three:

Measure the distance from the point at which the stick enters the ground to the point where your head was resting.

 

Step four:

Measure the distance from the point at which the stick enters the ground to the top of the stick.

 

Step five:

measure the distance from the base of the tree to the point where your head was resting.

 

Step six:

 

Write out and solve the following equation:

 

Result of Step Three           Result of Step Four

------------------------------    =   -------------------------------

Result of Step Five                          x

 

Try solving the problem here before you try it in the field:

 

If the measurement from my head to the base of the tree is 100" and the measurement of my head to the stick is 25" and the measurement from ground level to the top of the stick is 45", then in feet how tall is the tree? See reply to post for answer.

 

x is the height of the tree.

 

Here is a drawing to clarify what is happening.

 

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The tree is 15 feet tall
This is great, Keith! Thank you for sharing it.

Back in college when doing a habitat assessment class, I used this equation. It is very useful.

I was pondering a challenge with this, however, while walking through the epic landscape of the Olympic National Park's Hoh temperate rain forest. The trees there are so large, and the ground rather uneven that I think it would be very challenging to use this accurately.

Any thoughts on overcoming this problem?

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