treetops question

Anne Heise aheise at
Thu Mar 20 10:04:16 EST 2003

I was struck this morning that it appears, anyway, that all the trees in
the canopy are about the same height. Why is this? Presumably they are all
growing as tall as they can as fast as they can, and surely growth rates
differ from one species to the next... Maybe the tallest always get
sheared off? But wouldn't you then occasionally see some trees poking way
out above the rest of the canopy, trees that hadn't yet met a shearing

This is how it appears in SE Michigan; from photos it seems true of
tropical forests as well. It's possible that my perception isn't really
true -- that there are plenty of trees that are shorter than the canopy
height, and I just can't see them from afar, but it does not appear that
there are any extra-tall ones.

Anyway, I'd enjoy hearing what people think.

Anne Heise
Washtenaw Community College
Ann Arbor MI


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