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  1. #1
    Senior Member dejoha's Avatar
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    Tree Coverage in the US

    When Andrew Skurka published Alan Dixon's 3-part series on hammock camping, there were some claims that the West is less accommodating to hammocks due to lack of trees.

    Living in the West and the East, I can attest that the West is more sparse, but I've rarely had a problem finding trees. However, I thought it would be interesting to find an image that showed tree density or coverage across the US to validate some of these claims.

    To my delight, I found this intense study that gives a good indication of tree coverage in the world. Where I live in Arizona, there is a nice slice of high tree density, and several patches throughout that are probably mountain ranges.

    The worst spots: Nevada and the mid-West. Any Nevada hangers here?



    Fig. 11. (a) Per state thresholds at which the area estimate of the 500-m tree cover map matches United States Forest Service estimates. This value is found per state by starting at the highest percent tree cover values in the 500-m map and calculating area totals as the tree cover threshold is lowered. For the 500-m map, the area of tree cover greater than or equal to the threshold value shown yields the same area as estimated by the USFS. (b) Application of weighted mean threshold (35% tree cover) which yields an areal match with the Forest Service data for the lower 48 United States. Gray is tree cover greater than or equal to 35%; black is less than 35%.

  2. #2
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    For East Coasters, this is why the going to ground fear doesn't resonate with us. I think less than 1% of the East Coast is treeless, so we can always find trees. Arizona? Not so good.

  3. #3
    obxh2o's Avatar
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    It would be really interesting if we could compare these maps with data from, say, fifty and one hundred years ago.
    "I go because it irons out the wrinkles in my soul." -- Sigurd Olson

  4. #4
    pgibson's Avatar
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    Hey Dejoha, We do have several Nevada hangers here and while yes there are large areas with very little forested areas there are also some great areas to hang. I did a few days trip down there this past summer and had a great time with 0 trouble finding trees as we were up in the mountains with elevations from 8-10'000 foot.

    I am not in the east and have spent very little time on the other side of the continental divide. So as one of the Western folks I have also never once considered going to ground. And don't plan to. There is a way to hang if your willing to take the time to find it nearly everywhere you could plan to go, trees or not.
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  5. #5
    Dos's Avatar
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    very interesting map.

    Many places to hang in the Mt Charleston area.

    I even hung in the Valley of Fire (my avatar) although I did have to be creative. Some areas are sparse as far as trees are concerned....
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    In some mysterious way woods have never
    seemed to me to be static things.
    In physical terms, I move through them;
    yet in metaphysical ones,
    they seem to move through me. -
    John Fowles


    GA --> ME '12

  6. #6
    Senior Member ringtail-THFKAfood's Avatar
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    morenow

    Quote Originally Posted by obxh2o View Post
    It would be really interesting if we could compare these maps with data from, say, fifty and one hundred years ago.
    A few year ago John Fielder recreated William Henry Jackson photos from 1870. There are more trees in 2000 than 1870.

    http://www.johnfielder.com/shop/Colo...0-2000-II.html
    It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
    - Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Acer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail-THFKAfood View Post
    A few year ago John Fielder recreated William Henry Jackson photos from 1870. There are more trees in 2000 than 1870.

    http://www.johnfielder.com/shop/Colo...0-2000-II.html

    The Indians used to keep the trees and flatlands burned off so the grasslands would grow to keep the buffalo in Indiana, Ohio and even northern Kentucky so they would graze heavily here..now we have more trees than grasslands and the grasslands have been replaced by farming. But,,,we do have more trees now.

  8. #8
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    Nevada has tons of trees, most of these reports are from people who don't leave the interstate. Even in the midst of the Great Basin you will find a few juniper trees around any feature that collects a little more water.

  9. #9
    Acer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caribou Bentspoke View Post
    Nevada has tons of trees, most of these reports are from people who don't leave the interstate. Even in the midst of the Great Basin you will find a few juniper trees around any feature that collects a little more water.
    Lots of Cottonwoods every where yu have a draw or little creek across the Great Plains States.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ninjahamockman's Avatar
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    Yay utah's forest.
    Bacon and Camping makes me happy.

    "When life gives you lemons throw them back"
    Me

    I camp in bear country and I am a bear Burrito.

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