Research has shined a light on the trees found on Allegheny River islands.
Last Friday, Edward Frank of the Eastern Native Tree Society presented the findings from his organization's report, Trees and Forests of the Allegheny River Islands Wilderness and Nearby Islands. Though the crowd that gathered in Warren to hear him was small, he said those who did attend were quite talkative and discussed trees they had also found.
As a nonprofit scientific organization, Frank said the ENTS is interested in documenting unusual and outstanding trees throughout the region. The research on Allegheny River islands was published earlier this spring, he said, and resulted from a five-day expedition.
"We canoed down the river and stopped at islands," Frank said. "There were a number of interesting specimens."
According to Frank, no other researchers had studied the topic before. Society members found great diversity in tree species, he said, as well as their size.
Island trees can differ from those on the shore, Frank said, due to historical conditions. Prior to the construction of Kinzua Dam, he said the islands flooded regularly.
One sycamore was measured at 148.3 feet tall, Frank said, and the tallest silver maple was found on Thompson's Island at 128.6 feet. King Island also contained dotted hawthorns.
At Crull's Island, Frank said they were able to find the only two white pines on all the islands. Though they are common on the shore, the white pines are rare on islands as they are not tolerant to flooding and and don't transport well over water.
"It's an interesting forest to explore," Frank said. "We'd been trying to work on it for the last several years."
The report could be used by others doing general research, Frank said, and will be a good model for similar projects in other areas. It would not affect management of the islands, he said, since they have a wilderness designation and are not managed.
At 9 p.m. Saturday, July 7, Frank will again present the report findings at Ridge Camp Park Amphitheater in Cooks Forest.