Thread: Logging

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Northern Minnesota-zone 3


    I know logging is a huge issue for tree enthusiasts, but I am becoming more keen to logging as a management component to forest health.

    In fall 2005, Potlatch Corporation logged a large portion of forest along the trail that leads back to our family cabin. The trail used to wind through a mixed forests comprising mostly of jack pine and quaking aspen. The forest was fairly new (30 years), but secondary species were beginning to come in, including northern pin oak, red oak, bur oak, red pine, and a few balsam fir trees.

    Potlatch did a selective cut and left the forest floor mostly intact. They cut only the birch, quaking aspen, and jack pine for pulp wood, leaving all of the oak, fir, and red pine. Since the remaining species only made up about 20% of the forest make up, it looks like a clear cut.

    In its wake, thousands of new quaking aspen sprouted up and many are already 6 feet tall with only 1 and a half growing seasons. With summer 2006 being a drought summer, the resilience of these trees has amazed me.

    I was angry about the logging as it really destroyed the character of the winding trail through the woods, but after spending a few hours out there yesterday, I am now thankful that they logged the forest. Since it is state owned land, there are strict rules on what species logging companies can harvest and what they must leave.

    I noticed new oak saplings sprouting up all over the place. The acorns that could have been falling for years may have been sprouting saplings that were dying because of too much shade. Now they have taken off.

    I surveyed a 20' by 20' area and found 6 northern red oak saplings and small established trees, 8 northern pin oak saplings/yearlings and 2 bur oak saplings.

    Also exciting were the high bush cranberry bushes coming up, the large amounts of raspberries, and countless hazelnut bushes coming up everywhere. The new logged area will likely feature dense forest with clearings chocked full of hazelnuts, blueberries, pin cherries, and raspberries for wildlife to eat. Also, since this forest can only be logged of popple and jack pine, oak and red pine will continue to establish itself more and more over time as the forest is cleared frequently and these trees, which benefit from disturbances, will gain ground.

    I finally saw that selective cut logging can be very good for forests if done properly and not too intensively. So kudos to Potlatch and the Minnesota DNR for finding ways to harvest forests in a way that can benefit everyone, including the critters that live in the forests.

  2. #2

    RE: Logging

    Recent research has shown that the lands of North and South America have been managed for thousands of years by the inhabitants who've lived here.

    Fire is a natural component of the forest and we can either supress it until it rages out of control or use it as a management tool or use highly developed methods of selective and careful fuelwood removal so that fire is not necessary. I'm glad you were impressed with thier efforts and you might want to contact the company to let them know your thoughts.

    The state of Oklahoma is declaring an environmental emergency due to the huge numbers of eastern redcedars (Juniperus virginiana) which grow due to absentee landowners and fire supression. These trees are native to the plains and have been controlled by fire in one form or another for centuries. Only now are they becoming a problem. They really need to be harvested or burned to keep the plains from becoming the world's largest stand of cedars.

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