MONTGOMERY, AL - The Alabama Forestry Commission has just announced the 2010 winners for Alabama's Champion Tree program as identified and nominated by Alabama residents.
According to Brian Hendricks, Alabama's Champion Tree program coordinator, "Ten of these new champions outscored the 2009 champions, while three trees filled vacancies for species that did not have a current champion.
Of the 13 new champion trees, two are co-champions which means their total scores are within 5 points of each other. In addition to these, another 17 trees were nominated but failed to defeat the current champions. We offer our congratulations to all of the nominators and owners of the new champions!"
Below is a list of the 13 new champion trees for 2010:
For those unfamiliar with Champion Tree, the purpose of the program is to discover, recognize, and preserve the largest tree of each species in Alabama.
Anyone can nominate a tree for Champion Tree designation by completing an on-line nomination form; however, an Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) forester is responsible for collecting the tree's measurements. Once a new champion is identified, both its owner and nominator receive a certificate. The nominator is presented with a permanent tree marker by AFC county personnel, placed in proximity to the base of the tree.
For a tree to be eligible for the Champion Tree program, it must be a species that is recognized as native or naturalized in Alabama. A naturalized tree is an "introduced" species that has established itself in the wild, reproducing naturally and spreading. When determining a champion, three of the tree's components are taken into consideration: circumference, height, and crown spread. The formula used to determine the size of a tree is as follows: one point for each inch of circumference, one point for each foot of height, plus one point for each four feet of the average crown spread.
Due to limited AFC resources, a nominator is encouraged to review the measurements of the current champion to get an idea if his prospective tree has a chance of defeating the current champion's score before sending in a nomination. After all, there are millions of "big" trees in Alabama, but to be a CHAMPION a tree must be the absolute "biggest."