The basic resources for each objective are found on the PA Envirothon web site.
*Correlations with the Academic Standards for Environment and Ecology are provided.
After completing study on this issue, students will:
Identify common species without a key and specific or unusual species of trees or shrubs using a botanical key. (Use of a botanical key is an important skill in many environmental professions. Practice with the Key to Some Common Trees of Pennsylvania provided.)
Pay special attention to shade tolerance and soil moisture requirements of each tree species studied. Understand their timber and wildlife values. *4.3 Natural Resources – 4.3.10.A
Explain typical tree growth and life cycle. Be able to describe the parts and tissues of a tree and their arrangements and functions. Recognize defects that effect a tree’s health, quality and resource potential. *4.3 Natural Resources *3.1 Biological Sciences – 3.1.10.A3
Explain the cause and effect relationships between environmental factors (light, soil and moisture), and tree growth. Be able to interpret these effects in the growth rings of a sample of wood (either a “tree cookie” or core taken with an increment borer). *4.3 Natural Resources *3.1 Biological Sciences – 3.1.10.A3
List products and uses of the 10 important hardwoods grown in Pennsylvania cited in From the Woods Series: Ten Important Hardwoods resource and of the important conifers — White pine and Eastern hemlock — described in The Common Trees of Pennsylvania. *4.3 Natural Resources – 4.3.10.A
Explain general forest typing based on the dominant tree species. Describe the most abundant forest types found in Pennsylvania. Analyze and type a specific forest site. *4.3 Natural Resources – 4.3.10.A, C
Explain typical forest structure (canopy, understory and ground layers) and crown classes.
Explain typical forest succession from open areas to closed canopy and back again. Analyze the successional stage of a specific forest site. *4.1.Ecology – 4.1.10.E *4.3 Natural Resources – 4.3.10.C
Explain how wildlife habitat relates to the forest plant community (i.e. tree species present, age structure, snags and dead-and-down trees, availability of food and riparian zones). *4.1 Ecology – 4.1.10.C, D
Explain what effects a specific species increase or decrease might have on the forest ecosystem. *4.1 Ecology – 4.1.10.E, 4.1.12.E *3.1 Biological Sciences – 3.1.10.A3
Evaluate species diversity and its importance. Explain biological diversity as an indicator of a healthy environment as well as analyze the effects of species extinction on the health of an ecosystem. *4.1 Ecology – 4.1.10.A, 4.1.12.A
Forest Resource Management and Protection
Study Forests of Pennsylvania 2016. This is a summary of the most current data available describing Pennsylvania’s forest resources. Particularly note the patterns of forestland ownership, area of forests, distribution of age and size classes and of tree species, wood volume statistics and regeneration issues.
Describe values and benefits of forests for recreation, wildlife and watershed quality. *4.1 Ecology – 4.1.10.A
Explain the uses of silviculture techniques in even-aged and uneven-aged forest management: thinning, clear-cutting, seed-tree method, shelter wood method, and selection method. Describe the practices of “high grading” and “diameter limit” cutting. *4.3 Natural Resources – 4.3.10.A, C, 4.3.12.C
Summarize State and local regulations and programs pertaining to timber management including PA Code Chapter 102 Erosion & Sedimentation Control regulations, waterways management regulations–PA Code Chapter 105. *4.2 Watersheds and Wetlands – 4.1.12.A *4.3 Natural Resources – 4.3.10.B
Explain how forests grow, describe steps to planning for their management, and understand how to sell and market trees. *4.3 Natural Resources – 4.3.10.A *4.5 Humans and the Environment – 4.5.10.C, 4.5.12.C
Demonstrate the use of common forestry equipment (Biltmore stick, diameter tape, wedge prism, and clinometer) to measure tree diameter and height. Be able to calculate wood volume.
Identify and describe the life cycle and impacts of common forest pests and invasive plants. Research integrated pest management strategies for selected pests. *4.5 Humans and the Environment – 4.5.10.B, 4.5.12.B
Predict how human or natural action can produce change to which an organism cannot adapt (Gypsy Moth, Chestnut blight, invasive species, etc.) *4.1 Ecology – 4.1.10.A, 4.1.12.A
Explain the role of fire in forest ecosystems. Describe the basic principles of wildfire prevention and control. Explain the use of prescribed fire. *4.1 Ecology – 4.1.10.E
Most of these materials are excerpted from publications produced by the Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry, Pennsylvania State University, or the USDA Forest Service. Many topics are covered more than once in different ways. So the volume of material is not as overwhelming as it might appear.
I-Tree – I-Tree is a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools.
leafsnap – Leafsnap is a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. The free mobile apps use visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves.