Forestry - Forest Development
Forest development is done to improve the forest resource. The definition of “improve” generally means anything done to help us reach our forestry goals and to enhance the value of the forest in ways that can be measured in dollars, in forest health, in forest diversity, or in aesthetic qualities.
What is done to any given area is often guided by the ecological native plant community (look for more information on the MN DNR's website here: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/npc/index.html). Determining the native plant community allows foresters to know not only what will grow well, but also what has grown in similar areas in the past.
Several examples of forest development done on Fond du Lac Band owned forests exist.
Recently several previously open areas around Deadfish Lake, and south of Hwy 2 near Twin Lakes road have been planted with white pine, red pine, and white spruce. This was done to increase the conifer component of the forest; which, historically, had many more conifers than exist today. Deer love pine trees. Often forestry staff will have to place tree cages around each young tree to keep hungry deer from nipping the buds off these seedlings.
Red oak was planted throughout an area on Tribal land near Whitetail Road. This was done to increase the oak component of that stand providing diversity and food for wildlife.
A few years after a timber sale forestry crews “crown released” young oak trees. This means going in, finding young oak trees, and thinning the trees around them so they have more room to grow.
Some pine plantations have been thinned while still fairly small (called a “pre-commercial thinning”). This was done to favor the growth of the healthiest and best trees within that plantation.
An area near First Bridge on Ditchbank Road will have the soil “scarified” in patches (an acre or less in size) which means the duff layer and leaves will be raked back to expose bare soil. This will be done to help prepare a seedbed for paper birch which ordinarily establishes itself after a fire has burned away the leaf layer. The birch seeds will naturally fall into these areas from nearby birch trees over late summer and Fall. A timber sale will remove most of the overstory trees the following winter. This will allow full sunlight to reach the ground. Exposed to full sunlight, the birch seeds will germinate and new birch trees will grow!
These are just some examples of the forest development projects forestry has done over the years. More information can always be found by contacting Fond du Lac Forestry staff.