What’s in Rich’s Cruise Vest?
To help assess the age of a tree in the forest without cutting it down, our foresters use an increment borer. People sometimes forget that trees are a renewable resource, as they regenerate and grow naturally. This perception may be because trees appear to grow very slow when compared to our busy lives. A typical sugar maple tree in northern Wisconsin that you may have tapped to make syrup can be 60 to 100 years old, but these trees can grow for 300 to 400 years!
An increment borer has a similar concept of an old hand drill; however, it has a hollow bit. The forester “drills” the borer into the tree, then similar to how you can count the rings on a stump, they can count those growth rings on a core sample extracted from the tree.
In Wisconsin, one growth ring equates to one year of age, so once the forester counts the rings on the core, they know how old the tree is. This age helps inform forest management decisions.
-Rich Congdon, Project Manager