Cloquet Forestry Center: Stand 57

Yes
Action

The prescription devised for CFC staff at an adaptation workshop in 2014 was refined into a final timber sale plan in 2016. The timber sale was purchased by Bell Timber, Inc. and was harvested by Berthiaume Logging, Inc. in the winter 2016-2017. 

Cloquet Forestry Center foresters used the Adaptation Workbook to devise several actions to diversify a 70-90 year-old, 12-acre red pine stand near the northern border of the CFC land base (Stand 57).

Project Area

The Cloquet Forestry Center (CFC) in Cloquet, MN, was established in 1909 as an experimental forest designed to provide a well-managed forest serving the diverse research, teaching, and outreach programs of the College and other organizations. CFC manages roughly 2,700 acres of forest land at the Cloquet campus. This 12-acre stand is typed as Northern Dry-Mesic Red Pine/ White Pine Woodland (FDn33a1), according to the Minnesota DNR Ecological Classification System. The overstory is dense and dominated by 70-year-old red pine, with small amounts of jack and white pine, paper birch, red maple, and spruce. Regeneration is very limited, and hazel dominates the understory.

Management Goals

This stand had relatively uniform stand structure, and a mix of tree regeneration and hazel in the understory./

Staff from CFC are initiating this project to address current and future challenges to forest management including the effects of climate change. The primary goals for managing this stand are to :

  1. reduce competition among the overstory pines,
  2. promote new mixes of native tree species, (red, white, and bur oak, and white pine),
  3. retain large live and dead trees and sensitive plant communities,
  4. decrease woody competition (hazel),
  5. protect against herbivory, and
  6. increase structural diversity (vertical and horizontal).

Climate Change Impacts

Dense stocking and ladder fuels mean that drought and wildfire could be expected climate-related impacts in this stand.
CFC foresters considered broad climate change trends that are expected for northern Minnesota and the site conditions on this particular stand. They identified several risks associated with climate change, as well as several opportunities. Some of these include:
The primary species in this stand aren’t expected to have large declines in suitable habitat (red and white pine).
The desired oak species may be suited to future conditions in this stand (red, white, and bur oak).
Drought stress could cause problems with growth and natural regeneration, particularly because of the sandy soils in this stand and the high stocking level.
Extreme heat and high nighttime temperatures may be more stressful for red pine in particular.
Wildfire risk could increase in the future, particularly in this stand because many ladder fuels are present.

Adaptation Actions

After considering the menu of adaptation strategies and approaches from the Adaptation Workbook, CFC staff generated several possible adaptation actions that could be implemented within Stand 57. The foresters opted for a blend of “resistance” and “transition” adaptation actions, because they’re trying to improve the health of existing mature trees and promote development of a new cohort composed of currently present native species and native species on the edge of their northern range. Their ideas were further refined by CFC staff and faculty at the University of Minnesota. The final harvest prescription included the following adaptation ideas: 

Area/TopicApproachTactics
Red pine stand
1.4. Reduce competition for moisture, nutrients, and light.
2.1. Maintain or improve the ability of forests to resist pests and pathogens.
3.1. Alter forest structure or composition to reduce risk or severity of wildfire.
Thin the stand from 250 to 110 square feet per acre basal area.
5.1. Promote diverse age classes.
9.1. Favor or restore native species that are expected to be adapted to future conditions.
Create six half-acre gaps in the stand to promote regeneration.
Locate gaps near reserved white pine to promote natural regeneration of white pine.
2.3. Manage herbivory to promote regeneration of desired species.
Three of the regeneration gaps will have perimeter fencing to exclude deer.
5.2. Maintain and restore diversity of native species.
9.2. Establish or encourage new mixes of native species.
Plant an experimental mix of oak species native to Minnesota, as well as ponderosa pine in the gaps and in the matrix of the stand.

Project Photos

Click to enlarge photos

Clearcut gap perimeters were flagged with green flagging and all trees to be harvested from the gaps and matrix (cull trees)  were individually marked with yellow paint. Bell Timber, Inc. purchased the sale and cruised the cull trees for potential utility poles and house logs. They marked the trees that met these specifications in a systematic way (i.e. two red circles) that communicates with how they want the operator to process those trees. Photo by Kyle Gill, CFC.
Merchantable trees to be harvested were marked with yellow paint by CFC staff. Bell Timber, Inc. staff followed up by systematically marking trees that met their specifications for utility poles (blue paint) or house logs (red paint). Merchantable trees not marked were reserved. The prescription called for a vast majority of the high-density understory trees, mostly balsam fir, to be cut by the feller-buncher operator to open growing space and reduce ladder fuels. Photo by Kyle Gill, CFC.
This image demonstrates 1) the variable light and growing space conditions that were created by the treatment, clearcut gap in the foreground and background bisected by a portion of the residual matrix, 2) the small crowns and low live-crown ratios (often < 20%) of the residual trees caused by very high pre-treatment tree density, and 3) the ability of red pine to self-prune lower branches and grow with minimal bole taper when grown in high-density communities. Photo by Kyle Gill, CFC.
The half-acre gap on the north side of the stand after it had been cut and before any of the matrix had been treated. When possible, gaps were placed next to canopy white pines, a couple of which are visible on the right-hand side of the image, to encourage natural regeneration. No slash treatments were specified in the prescription, though full-tree skidding was required. Photo by Kyle Gill, CFC.

Project Documents

Next Steps

Harvesting occured in the winter of 2016-2017 in this stand, and forest managers are observing how the site responds to harvest while they develop a follow-up planting plan. Additional planting may occur in two to three years.

Learn More

To learn more about this project, contact Stephen or learn more at: http://cfc.cfans.umn.edu/

Keywords

Plantations, Upland conifers, Assisted migration, Planting

Last Updated

Thursday, June 7, 2018