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4-H Forestry Project No. 2 Big Tree Contest

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Publication Number: P1228
Updated: April 11, 2016
View as PDF: P1228.pdf

The American Forestry Association (AFA) began a Big Tree program in 1940. The September 1940 issue of American Forests magazine included a headline reading: “WANTED! The Location and Measurement of the Largest Specimen of the Following American Tree Species.” A list followed of 100 trees, from ash to walnut.

Five years later, the AFA published in American Forests a list of 228 champion trees. Of those first champions, only a few still have their titles. The others have died, been destroyed, or, in most cases, been replaced after the discovery of larger specimens.

Over the years, the Big Tree program has enjoyed steady growth in size and scope. The National Register of Big Trees now contains more than 700 trees. But since more than 1,000 species are still eligible to be included, the list is far from complete.

Mississippi now has a similar program called Champion Big Trees of Mississippi. The program’s purpose is to locate, measure, and recognize the largest individual tree of each species in Mississippi.

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