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4-H Forestry Competition Handbook

Filed Under:
Publication Number: P1991
View as PDF: P1991.pdf

Content

General Information 

Goals and Objectives 

General Rules 

Junior Competition 

Tree Identification 

Tree Measurement 

Forest Knowledge 

Senior Competition 

Tree Identification 

Tree Measurement 

Forest Knowledge 

Forest Insect and Disease Identification 

Study References 

Appendix 

Official 4-H Forestry Tree Identification List 

Junior Tree Identification Score Sheet 

Senior Tree Identification Score Sheet 

Measurement of Standing Trees Study Guide 

Junior Tree Measurement Score Sheet 

Senior Tree Measurement Score Sheet 

Sample Volume Table 

Official 4-H Forest Insect and Disease List 

Senior Forest Insect and Disease Identification Score Sheet 

General Information

The Mississippi 4-H Forestry Competition tests forestry knowledge and skills. This competition is held at the district and/or state levels. Some counties have local competitions to select a forestry team to represent the them at the district competition. County competitions are strongly encouraged, because they promote 4-H forestry activity in the county, but they are not required.

The 4-H Forestry Competition is modeled after the National 4-H Forestry Invitational held annually at Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp in West Virginia. This helps Mississippi 4-H’ers to be prepared to advance from their county competitions all the way to the National 4-H Forestry Invitational.

The Forestry Competition is conducted at the junior and senior levels, but only seniors may compete at the state and national levels.

The junior competition is conducted only at the district level and includes three events:

  1. Tree Identification
  2. Tree Measurement
  3. Forest Knowledge

The senior competition is held at the district and/or state level and includes four events:

  1. Tree Identification
  2. Tree Measurement
  3. Forest Knowledge
  4. Forest Insect and Disease Identification

Goals and Objectives

The purpose of the 4-H Forestry Competition is to provide opportunity for 4-H forestry members to:

  • Develop leadership talents, achieve character development, and make new friends.
  • Appreciate the need and importance of conserving forests as a source of products, services, values, and benefits necessary for quality living.
  • Acquire information and understanding of practical skills in forest management, use of forest products, and appreciation of forest ecology.
  • Realize that privately owned forest products provide most of the raw material used by forest products manufacturers in Mississippi.

The competition, while competitive in nature, is intended and managed to provide a well-rounded forestry educational experience. Study references are available from Extension Forestry, unless otherwise noted.

General Rules

  1. The forestry competition will have at least three parts: Tree Identification, Tree Measurement, and Forest Knowledge (seniors will also compete in Forest Insect and Disease Identification).
  2. This competition is a team event. A team will have three or preferably four members. Individuals may compete, but they will not be eligible to advance in district and state competition. Senior teams that place first, second, and third in the district competition, if one is held, will advance to compete in the state competition, with a chance to represent Mississippi at the National 4-H Forestry Invitational.
  3. Each contestant must bring a pencil, clipboard, and tree scale stick. It is also suggested that contestants wear appropriate field clothes (jeans and boots), since part of the contest is held outdoors.
  4. Calculators are permitted.
  5. In scoring, the lowest combined score of a four-member team is dropped and the top three combined scores used as the team total. If a team has only three members, the low score is not dropped.
  6. Ties are broken with the highest scores in (1) Forest Knowledge, (2) Tree Identification, and (3) Tree Measurement. 

Junior Competition

The junior competition is similar, but less demanding, than the senior competition. It is designed to make junior 4-H forestry contestants familiar with the competition, so they will develop into strong competitors at the senior level. 

Tree Identification

  1. Junior participants are required to identify 20 trees from leaf mounts, photos, or specimens in the field. MSU Extension Publication 146 Know Your Trees contains tree species included in this portion of the contest.
  2. The contest is conducted indoors like a “lab practical.” Participants will be given no more than 1 minute per station to identify each leaf mount. The contest will have a time limit of 30 minutes.
  3. The correct answer for each tree is the common name shown on the Official 4-H Forestry Tree Identification List (page 5). This list is derived from the common names given in MSU Extension Publication 146 Know Your Trees.
  4. The answer given must be the complete, correctly spelled common name as given in the Official 4-H Forestry Tree List. One-half credit is given if the name is incomplete or misspelled. Example: If the species is river birch, then birch will receive half credit for an incomplete common name. If birch is also misspelled, no credit is given.
  5. A total of 100 points is possible in this event; each answer is worth 5 points. In the case of a tie, the winner is the participant with the greatest number of correctly identified oaks, then pines, then elms. 

Tree Measurement

  1. Participants will measure three trees using a tree scale stick. For each tree, participants will identify the common name, measure the diameter at breast height (DBH) in inches, measure merchantable height in logs, and figure the total timber volume in the measured trees. The time limit for this event is 45 minutes.
  2. DBH is measured in 2-inch, even-numbered-diameter classes. The correct answers for the DBH on the contest score form are even numbers, such as 10, 16, 22, and so on. A tree in the diameter range 9.1 to 11.0 inches is tallied as DBH 10 inches. In timber cruising for management purposes, it is common to tally trees in 2-inch-diameter classes.
  3. Merchantable height is measured in 16-foot logs and estimated to the nearest full ½ log. For example, if a tree measures 2¼ logs, it should be tallied as 2 logs, because the ¼ log is too short to make another full ½ log. When measuring logs, always round down, not up. Measure merchantable height up to an 8-inch top or a major fork in the trunk. Deciding where to “cut the tree off“ can be a judgment call based on species and log quality. However “controversial” trees will be avoided, and 4-H’ers will be given trees that will challenge their abilities to measure diameter and height only.
  4. DBH and merchantable height are used to determine volume of lumber in each tree by using a volume table. 4-H forestery contestants should know how to find a log volume from a volume table before coming to the contest. A volume table will be given at the contest.
  5. All individual tree volumes are added together to arrive at a “plot volume” that will be entered on the score sheet. Calculators are permitted.
  6. A total of 100 points is possible in this event. The common name, DBH, merchantable height, and volume for each tree will be valued at 5 points each. A possible maximum of 40 points will be given for the “plot volume” estimate. The “plot volume” will be scored as follows:

 

If the contestant’s estimate of plot volume is within:

± 5% of official volume = 40 points

± 10% of official volume = 30 points

± 15% of official volume = 20 points

± 20% of official volume = 10 points

>± 20% of official volume = 0 points

The common name given in the Tree Measurement section is the same as required in Tree Identification. The same scoring rules as Tree Identification apply. 

Forest Knowledge

There is a wealth of information about forestry available through MSU Extension and the Internet. 4-H youth are encouraged to explore these resources. There is a section on Study References at the end of the Senior Competition section.

Participants will answer 20 written, multiple choice, or true-false questions on forestry subject matter taken from the listed references. The time limit for the event is 30 minutes. A total of 100 points is possible in this event, with each question worth 5 points. Forest Knowledge is designed to test the 4-H contestant’s general knowledge of important forestry concepts. 

Senior Competition

The senior competition is designed to challenge participants’ skills and knowledge of forestry, while preparing them for national competition. 

Tree Identification

  1. Senior participants are required to identify 50 trees from leaf mounts, photos, or specimens in the field. All species listed in MSU Extension Publication 146 Know Your Trees may be included in this portion of the contest.
  2. The contest consists of two sections: indoor and outdoor. The indoor portion is a “lab practical,” with the contestants required to identify 25 trees from leaf mounts or photos. The remaining 25 trees must be identified from live specimens in the field. Participants are given no more than 1 minute to identify each leaf mount or live specimen. The time limit for this event is 30 minutes per section.
  3. The correct answer for each tree is the common name shown on the Official 4-H Forestry Tree Identification List (page 53). This list is derived from the common names given in MSU Extension Publication 146 Know Your Trees.
  4. The answer given must be the complete, correctly spelled common name as given in the Official 4-H Forestry Tree List. One-half credit is given if the name is incomplete or misspelled. Example: If the species is river birch, then birch will receive half credit for an incomplete common name. If birch is also misspelled, no credit is given.
  5. A total of 100 points is possible in this event; each answer is worth 2 points. In the case of a tie, the winner is the participant with the greatest number of correctly identified oaks, then pines, then elms. 

Tree Measurement

  1. Senior contestants will measure 10 trees using a tree scale stick. For each tree, participants will identify the common name, measure the diameter at breast height (DBH) in inches, measure merchantable height in logs, and estimate total timber volume per acre. The time limit for this event is 45 minutes.
  2. DBH is measured in 2-inch, even-numbered-diameter classes. For example, the correct answers for the DBH on the contest score form are even numbers, such as 10, 16, 22, etc. A tree in the diameter range 9.1 to 11.0 inches is tallied as DBH 10 inches. In timber cruising for management purposes, it is common to tally trees in 2-inch-diameter classes.
  3. Merchantable height is measured in 16-foot logs and estimated to the nearest full ½ log. For example, if a tree measures 2¼ logs, it should be tallied as 2 logs, because the ¼ log is too short to make another full ½ log. When measuring logs, always round down, not up. Measure merchantable height up to an 8-inch top or a major fork in the trunk. Deciding where to “cut the tree off” can be a judgment call based on species and log quality. However “controversial” trees will be avoided, and 4-H’ers will be given trees that will challenge their abilities to measure diameter and height only.
  4. DBH and merchantable height are used to determine volume of lumber in each tree by using a volume table given at the contest. 4-H forestry contestants should know how to find a log volume from a volume table before coming to the contest.
  5. All individual tree volumes are added together to arrive at a “plot volume.” This “plot volume,” multiplied by a plot size factor, yields the estimated volume per acre. The plot size is given to the contestants at the contest. Participants should come to the contest with the knowledge of how to use a plot factor. For example, if the sample plot size given is ¼ acre, then the sample plot volume must be multiplied by 4 to arrive at an estimated volume per acre. Calculators are permitted.
  6. A total of 100 points is possible in this event. The common name, DBH, merchantable height, and volume for each tree will be valued at 2 points each. A possible maximum of 20 points will be given for the “plot volume” estimate. The “plot volume” will be scored as follows:

 

If the contestant’s estimate of volume per acre is within:

± 5% of official volume = 20 points

± 10% of official volume = 15 points

± 15% of official volume = 10 points

± 20% of official volume = 5 points

>± 20% of official volume = 0 points

The common name given in the Tree Measurement section is the same as required in Tree Identification. The same scoring rules as Tree Identification apply. 

Forest Knowledge

  1. The competition will be a test consisting of 50 multiple choice or true-false questions on forestry subject matter taken from the listed references. The time limit for the event is 45 minutes.
  2. A total of 100 points is possible in this event, with each question worth 2 points.
  3. Forest Knowledge is designed to test the 4-H contestant’s general knowledge of important forestry concepts. 

Forest Insect and Disease Identification

  1. The contestant will be asked to identify the common name of 10 forest insects and 10 forest diseases. All species listed on the Official 4-H Forest Insect and Disease List (page 13) may be used in this event.
  2. The competition consists of two sections, with each section given in a “lab practical” format. Each contestant is required to identify 10 insects or insect-damaged specimens and 10 diseases or disease-damaged specimens. Pictures of the insect or disease specimen may also be used. The contestant is given no more than 1 minute per station to identify each specimen. The time limit for this event is 15 minutes maximum per section.
  3. The correct answer for each specimen is the common name shown on the Official 4-H Forest Insect and Disease List.
  4. The answer given must be the complete, correctly spelled common name as given in the Official 4-H Forest Insect and Disease List. One-half credit will be given if the name is misspelled or incomplete. Example: If the species is Nantucket pine tip moth, then tip moth will receive ½ credit. If it is also misspelled, no credit will be given.
  5. A total of 100 points is possible in this event, with each answer worth 5 points. Ties are broken using the participant with the greatest number of correctly named insects, then correctly named diseases.   

Study References

All MSU Extension Service publications are available online at www.extension.msstate.edu/publications:

Additional reading that can be found online:

USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 2010. A Field Guide to Diseases and Insects of the Rocky Mountain Region. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-241. Available online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/37290

Mississippi Forestry Commission. 2016. Mississippi trees (2nd ed). Online at https://www.mfc.ms.gov/programs/educational-workshops/publications/

National 4-H Forestry Invitational. Training materials and References. Available online at https://4hforestryinvitational.org/training

USDA Forest Service. 2004. The Impact and Control of Major Southern Forest Diseases. Southern Forest Science: Past, Present, and Future. USDA Forest Service, General Technical Report 075. Available online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/9678

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2019. National plants database. Available online at https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov

Measurement of Standing Trees Study Guide

Purpose

Standing trees are measured to obtain an estimate of the amount of various forest products that might be cut from them. This is done to have an idea of what volume is present. Most timber sales are based on volume. All forest properties must have some estimate of total volume, volume per acre, and volume by product, so you can decide the course of your forest’s management.

Products

Forest products that may be measured are poles
and pilings, sawlogs, veneer logs, pulpwood, and fence posts.

Method

Since all trees are basically a part of a cylinder, they have a diameter and height that may be measured. Diameter of standing trees is measured by time-honored custom, at 4½ feet aboveground on the uphill side of the tree. This is abbreviated as DBH (diameter at breast height). The method to measure diameter is explained in detail.

Height of a standing tree can be measured as total (the entire height from ground line to the top of the crown) or merchantable height. Merchantable height varies, depending on the product that is to be cut from the tree. The top stem diameter is fixed by certain specifications. In 4-H Tree Measurement, this is an 8-inch top diameter. If a tree is to be cut into logs, the lengths cut will vary, depending on the demand of the mill to which the logs will go. In the Tree Measurement event, measure the tree to the nearest ½ log, a log being specified as 16 feet long.

Tools

The diameter can be measured using a caliper, diameter tape, or tree scale stick. Since the tree scale stick is to be used in the contest, the method of using it is explained.

Diameter Measurement

An illustration of how to properly measure a tree trunk's diameter.
Figure 1. Using a tree scale stick to obtain tree diameter. Do not move your head, just your eye.

Figure 1 shows how the tree scale stick is used to find tree diameter:

Use the flat side of the stick labeled “Diameter of Tree (in inches).”

Hold the stick level against the tree at a height of 4½ feet above the ground, 25 inches from your eye. Practice to find both the 4½-foot point in relation to your height, and the 25-inch distance to your eye.

When the stick is placed against a tree, close one eye and sight at the left or zero end.

The zero end of the tree scale stick and the tree bark should be in the same line.

Do not move your head. Glance across the stick to the right-hand edge of the tree. Read the tree diameter from the stick to the nearest inch.

Height Measurement

An illustration demonstrating the proper way to measure tree height.
Figure 2. Using a tree scale stick to obtain tree height. Do not move your head, just your eye.

Figure 2 illustrates how to use the tree scale stick to measure height. Height is measured as follows:

Pace out 66 feet as ‘measured from the center-line of the tree in the direction to which you pace. The entire tree must be seen.

Hold the stick so that the “number of 16-foot logs” side faces you. The zero end should point toward the ground.

Plumb the stick, at 25 inches from your eye.

Sight the zero end to appear to rest at the stump height (stump height is 6 inches above the ground). Do not move your head or the stick.

Look up the stick to the point where the top of the last merchantable cut would be made in the tree, an 8-inch top diameter. The merchantable height on the stem is where the tree trunk “disappears’ behind the edge of the tree scale stick. Read sawlogs to the nearest full one-half log off the tree scale stick.

Practice on pacing is needed to find the 66-foot distance. The 25-inch distance from eye to stick is still the same as in measuring tree diameter.

Junior Tree Identification Score Sheet

See PDF for score sheet.

Senior Tree Identification Score Sheet

See PDF for score sheet.

Appendix

Official 4-H Forestry Tree Identification List

Common name

Scientific name

Ash, Green

Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Ash, White

Fraxinus americana

Baldcypress

Taxodium distichum

Basswood*

Tilia spp.

Beech, American

Fagus grandifolia

Birch, River

Betula nigra

Blackgum

Nyssa sylvatica

Boxelder

Acer negundo

Catalpa, Southern

Catalpa bignonioides

Cherry, Black

Prunus serotina

Cottonwood, Eastern

Populus deltoides

Dogwood, Flowering

Cornus florida

Elm, American

Ulmus americana

Elm, Slippery

Ulmus rubra

Elm, Winged

Ulmus alata

Hickory*

Carya spp.

Holly, American

Ilex opaca

Honeylocust

Gleditsia triacanthos

Hophornbeam, Eastern

Ostrya virginiana

Hornbeam, American

Carpinus caroliniana

Locust, Black

Robinia pseudoacacia

Magnolia, Southern

Magnolia grandiflora

Maple, Red

Acer, rubrum

Maple, Silver

Acer saccharinum

Mulberry, Red

Morus rubra

Oak, Black

Quercus velutina

Oak, Blackjack

Quercus marilandica

Oak, Bluejack

Quercus incana

Oak, Cherrybark

Quercus pagoda

Oak, Laurel

Quercus laurifolia

Oak, Live

Quercus virginiana

Oak, Northern Red

Quercus rubra

Oak, Nuttal

Quercus texana

Oak, Overcup

Quercus lyrata

Oak, Post

Quercus stellata

Oak, Scarlet

Quercus coccinea

Oak, Shumard

Quercus shumardii

Oak, Southern Red

Quercus falcata

Oak, Swamp Chestnut

Quercus michauxii

Oak, Water

Quercus nigra

Oak, White

Quercus alba

Oak, Willow

Quercus phellos

Orange, Osage

Maclura pomifera

Pecan

Carya illinoensis

Persimmon, Common

Diospyros virginiana

Pine, Loblolly

Pinus taeda

Pine, Longleaf

Pinus palustris

Pine, Shortleaf

Pinus echinata

Pine, Slash

Pinus elliotii

Pine, Spruce

Pinus glabra

Poplar, Yellow

Liriodendron tulipifera

Redbud, Eastern

Cercis canadensis

Redcedar, Eastern

Juniperus virginiana

Sassafras

Sassafras albidum

Sugarberry

Celtis laevigata

Sweetbay

Magnolia virginiana

Sweetgum

Liquidambar styraciflua

Sycamore, American

Platanus occidentalis

Tupelo, Water

Nyssa aquatica

Walnut, Black

Juglans nigra

Willow, Black

Salix nigra

 

*Contestants are only responsible to identify the genus level for basswood and hickory

Junior Tree Measurement Score Sheet

See PDF for score sheet.

Senior Tree Measurement Score Sheet

See PDF for score sheet.

Sample Volume Table

Doyle Log Rule, Form Class 78

Gross tree volume in board feet, by number of usable 16-foot logs

Tree
diameter
(inches)

Tree height (16-ft logs)

1

2

3

4

5

10

18

22

26

28

30

32

33

 

 

12

33

42

51

57

63

65

68

71

 

14

54

70

85

96

107

113

119

125

 

16

79

98

128

146

165

178

189

198

 

18

109

144

179

207

235

254

272

283

 

20

144

193

242

281

320

348

375

396

417

22

184

249

313

366

418

455

484

525

557

24

228

310

392

459

527

574

645

667

713

26

279

380

482

566

651

713

775

835

894

28

331

454

577

682

787

861

935

1,011

1,087

30

392

539

687

814

940

1,032

1,122

1,216

1,310

32

457

631

805

958

1,110

1,222

1,334

1,441

1,548

34

525

727

929

1,106

1,284

1,416

1,548

1,675

1,803

36

599

834

1,068

1,276

1,484

1,638

1,793

1,945

2,097

38

676

943

1,210

1,450

1,690

1,868

2,046

2,223

2,400

40

740

1,035

1,330

1,594

1,858

2,059

2,260

2,248

2,636

Official 4-H Forest Insect and Disease List

Insects

Common Name

Scientific Name

Nantucket pine tip moth

Rhyacionia frustrana (Comstock)

Locust borer

Meqacyllene robiniae (Forster)

Pine shoot moth

Rhyacionia buoliana (Schiff.)

White pine weevil

Pissodes strobi (Peck)

Common walkingstick

Diapheromera femorata (Say)

Gypsy moth

Lymantria dispar (Linnaeus)

Birch leafminer

Fenusa pusilla (Lepeletier)

Eastern tent caterpillar

Malacosoma americanum (Fabricus)

Pine webworm

Pococera robustella (Zeller)

Fall webworm

Hyphantria cunea (Drury)

Bronze birch borer

Aqrilus anxius (Gory)

Black turpentine beetle

Dendroctonus terebrans (Olivier)

Ips engraver beetles

Ips spp.

Conifer sawflies

Hymenoptera: Diprionidae

Bagworm

Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis (Haworth)

Southern pine beetle

Dendroctonus frontalis (Zimmerman)

Tussock moth

Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae

Eastern spruce budworm

Choristoneura fumiferana (Clemens)

Locust leafminer

Odontota dorsalis (Thunberg)

White oak borer

Goes tiqrinus (DeGeer)

Pales weevil

Hylobius pales (Hbst.)

Variable oakleaf caterpillar

Lochmaeus manteo (Dbldy)

Periodic cicada

Magicicada septendecim

Scarlet oak sawfly

Caliroa quercuscoccineae

Leaf cutting ant

Atta texana (Buckley)

Diseases

Common Name

Scientific Name

White pine blister rust

Cronartuim ribicola

Oak wilt

Ceratocystis faqacearum

Chestnut blight

Chryphonectria parasitica

Black knot on cherry

Apiosporina morbosa

Nectria canker

Neonectria ditissima

Dutch elm disease

Ophiostoma ulmi

Verticillium wilt

Verticillium albo-atrum

Annosus root rot

Heterobasidion annosum

Brown spot needle blight

Mycosphaerella dearnessii

Witches broom

Various agents

Dwarf mistletoe

Arceuthobium pusillum

Fusiform rust

Cronartium quercuum f.sp. fusiforme

Cedar-apple rust

Gymnosporanqium juniperi-virginianae

Needle cast

Hypoderma and Lophodermium

Red ring rot

Phellinus pini

White trunk rot of birch

Inonotus obliquus

Hypoxylon cankers

Hypoxylon spp.

Artist bracket

Ganoderma applanatum

Phomopsis blight

Phomopsis juniperovora

Heart rot

Various agents

Senior Forest Insect and Disease Identification Score Sheet

See PDF for score sheet.


Publication 1991 (POD-04-22)

Revised by Brady Self, PhD, Associate Extension Professor, Forestry, from earlier versions by James Henderson, PhD, Extension Professor and Head, Coastal Research and Extension Center; Robert Daniels, PhD, Extension Professor (retired); and Winston Savelle, former Extension Associate.

Department: 4-H & Family & Consumer Sciences, Ctr 4-H Youth Development
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