The greatest impact one can have on their land is harvesting. Logging provides the gift of "new life" to the forest and is critical for wildlife. It creates a opportunity for change and renewal through both natural regeneration and by planting new trees. After a year in planning starting in December 2017 we conducted our first logging operation since buying the property. The process wasn't completed until March of 2019. More about this below. But first a quick outline of what was done just prior to buying the land.
In the winter of 2010-11, two years before we purchased the property, a large logging operation occurred. As part of their management plan, two different types of harvesting were prescribed and utilized over 60 acres.
1. An 18 acre parcel was clear cut in the center of the property. Located between field 2 and field 3, this was a perfect area to cut as it was mature northern hardwoods. Those 18 acres were divided in two areas for reproduction. The northern 9 acres has returned to thick aspen with scattered maples and oaks, that is ideal habitat for many species for both cover and as a food source for about 10 years.
The southern half was professionally treated by spraying and discing with a large forestry machine preparing it for a conifer regeneration site. That site was
scheduled to be planted the year we purchased it, so we proceeded to plant it. All the seedlings we acquired through the MNDNR Badura nursery. It was only through the gracious help of friends we
got so many trees hand planted! 3,500 were large red pine transplants called 3-2's. To plant them we needed to use post holes diggers to get the large root system in the hole. Many of these trees
today are 6 feet tall. The balance were, white pine, balsam fir, white spruce and red oak. In 2014 another 2,500 seedlings were hand planted, filling in were some had died but also adding
more coverage area. The pictures below show planting and also bud capping the trees to prevent deer browsing off the terminal buds. You can also see the growth each year between the bud capping.
This is a lot of work, but the effort is rewarding in quality seedling growth. We have done this for 5 years.
2. In another area scattered over 40 acres, a different type of harvest took place. It was called a "selective cut". This is where certain
trees are left for various purposes. Many of the large oak were left to act as both a seed trees and for a food source for wildlife. The large pines were left to act as a seed source for natural
regeneration and the old maples retained for maple syrup. Also, some old dead hollow trees were left to provide nesting sites for a range of birds as with downed logs for
Our logging operation began late 2017-18 as a winter cut. It served five purposes.
1. Removing some over mature timber.
2. Cutting small areas for wildlife enhancement.
3. Thinning two red pine plantations.
4. Removal of some invasive species.
5. Cleaned-up and utilized some wind damage areas.
About 17-18 acres, in 2-3 acre size parcels, were cut. When tallied, we harvested 350 cords of aspen and miscellaneous hardwood saw bolts. Mixed Firewood was around 60 cords. Also some 20,000 board feet of red Oak saw timber was cut and sold to area sawmills. Some areas were clear cut and some using the "selective" logging method. Both types of cutting will create new wildlife openings and a renewed food source within the maturing hardwoods. We also completed some TSI - timber stand improvement work. In August 2018, two 30 year old red pine plantations were thinned by removing every third row. Two additional acres were also clear-cut due to the invasive "non-native" black locust that were planted around an old homestead many years ago. To further reduce the reproduction of the black locust we used that area, we burned the slash from the logging and thinning operations. That area was chemically treated this spring and will also be sprayed the next couple years killing any root sucking and stump sprouting. Plans are to replanted that two acre area with dogwood, crab apples, choke cherries, plums and apple trees as a targeted food source for varied wildlife.
Other landings were used also to dispose of the excess slash from the logging operation by burning in December 2018.
Additional areas scattered throughout the property were and will continue to be hand thinned to improve the "Sugar Bush" and access to the maples for collecting sap.
Some areas being harvested as outlined above will be replanted, others we will allow for natural regeneration directed at wildlife habitat. These cuts, as per the Management Plan, reduce the threat of forest fires and insect & disease infestations getting rid of some over mature northern hardwoods. These various cuts and reforestation techniques will help ensure a healthy wildlife population on the property well into the future. Our next harvest will be considerably larger and should be within the next 7-9 years.
As a Certified Tree Farm, keeping the property the best if can be through detailed management is very important to us. It is time consuming but very rewarding.
White Lines = Property Boundaries
Orange Lines = 2018 Harvest Areas
Blue Lines = 2018 Timber Stand Improvement Areas
Solid Light Blue = 2013 spruce and Balsam Plantings
Solid Green = 2013 Red Pine Planting
Solid Red = 2013 white Pine Planting