If you were to approach these select plot of trees from the ground, you may not know something was different. Certainly, seeing trees spaced perfectly apart from each other is odd, but from the ground there’s not a whole lot to see. That all changes when you get a birds-eye view, showing a beautifully symmetrical plot of trees shining bright throughout the forest in the Sierra Nevada.
So what’s the deal with these tree plots?
The trees are known as elder plots and are part of study done by the Blodgett Forest Research Station in Georgetown, California that tests the reaction of trees when planted close together. The idea is to closely monitor the reaction of the trees when they are faced with competing against each other for natural resources, such as light and water.
The trees were planted in the 1990’s as part of a larger forestry study called the Blodgett Project done by the University of California, Berkeley and the State of California. The forest is managed with the objectives of facilitating research to improve the understanding and management of forests, protecting and enhancing beneficial resources, and demonstrating responsible forest management. From the research done by the Blodgett Project, more than 400 scientific papers have been published.
The plots of forest are not only for the information of local forestry scientists, but for the public to enjoy as well. The Blodgett Forest includes a 3-mile loop trail named the Trail of Epiphany, which will show you the five main naturally occurring conifers – ponderosa pine, sugar pine, white fir, Douglas-fir, and incense cedar – as well as some non-natural giant sequoias.
Be sure to bring your drone, so you can see the beautifully symmetric plots of the elder plots. Here is where you can find the Blodgett Forest:
And check out some of the overhead views of the elder plots: