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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First time I have ever said that in my life...but, for the sake of argument, let us say there are 1,000,000 acres of aspen in Michigan for the DNR to manage. Let us also say they cut 2% of this a year. If my numbers are correct, that means 20,000 acres get cut each year and they can treat the whole inventory on a 50 year rotation. Not saying it works out like that in reality, but 20k in new habitat a year and roughly a 50 year rotation doesn't seem to shabby. Are my figures correct??
 

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Yes you are "roughly" correct. That is the ideal plan. The snags to the ideal were most of it started close to the same age after the first logging and large fires therefore it was all 50years old at roughly the same time. So the managers have tried to decide what stands could wait until 60,70 or even 80 yr old and still regenerate which depends on how fertile of sites they are on (the poorer the site the shorter it hangs on). The next big snag was complete lack of markets which happened I believe in the 1970's so even when put up for sale nobody would make minimum bid. Managers have used other techniques such as going back in some of the very large cuts and having portions chipped at maybe 30 year old to diversify the age structure, and cut some at say 45 years and wait for others until 60-65 years. Then plan on the same in the next rotation in 45-50 years. You can see this is a long term goal that will take 2-3 rotations to reach.

So yes that is the goal and is getting closer to reality with the 2nd cutting after the first statewide clearcut and burn (late 1800's early 1900's). Even now snags can be had such as the Duck Lake fire. Right now most of the area foresters are there getting salvge sales set up meaning they aren't working out of their normal offices getting that 2% of aspen (along with all the other timber type goals) put up.
 

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Steve,

What you say is what I'm seeing on the ground across our state as I not only scout but travel for work.


They are working hard to diversify the cuts, sometimes I see a cut that they took too young, to the point I'm surprised, sometimes I see a cut and I go "finally? What in the hell took so long." What I'm seeing on the ground is more patch work in an attempt to create a bigger age class diversity across the landscape, this also creates far more divesity in edge habitat.

I'm encouraged by what I'm seeing, including cuts on federal lands that I never thought we would see again.

Also, this 2% number does not include all the other species of timber that are being regenerated that also benefit early successional forest species.

For example, Beech, one of my absolute best spots is a beech cut over, it was select cut, but the beech whips that have come up act essentially like switch grass.
 

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For example, Beech, one of my absolute best spots is a beech cut over, it was select cut, but the beech whips that have come up act essentially like switch grass.
Beech is another story. The beech bark disease is much more advanced up here in the EUP. I am starting to see areas where the beech brush now has the disease and is dying, this is the cycle that has happened in PA. I have come across woodcock broods in these areas though so this may not be marketable timber again, but may help some young forest species.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Steve, while we are talking cutting, what is your take on stem density when a younger stand is cut versus when an older stand is cut. I have been told that the younger the age class of the aspen when treated, the more stem density you get. If that is the case should some stands be treated every 3 to 5 years to delay growth to keep even age class monoculture from occuring and also to create thicker escape cover. Anyone who has ever been to northern Ontario crown land in pulp production knows it is impenetrable.
 

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Matt I think your math is pretty good.
It's my understanding that they want aspen inventory on a 50 year rotation with 20% of the aspen in ten year windows, i.e. 1-9years equals 20% of the inventory, 10-19 years another 20%, and so on.......
This gives them some buffer when things like the Duck lake fire salvage opportunity arise and they give one year hiatus to tree cutters without any penalty. So if they don't get the 2% cut this year maybe they make up for it with 4% next year but in the end they want to have 20% of it cut within the decade.
 

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Steve, while we are talking cutting, what is your take on stem density when a younger stand is cut versus when an older stand is cut. I have been told that the younger the age class of the aspen when treated, the more stem density you get. If that is the case should some stands be treated every 3 to 5 years to delay growth to keep even age class monoculture from occuring and also to create thicker escape cover. Anyone who has ever been to northern Ontario crown land in pulp production knows it is impenetrable.
Yes you are correct. The more vigorous and healthy the stand that is harvested usually the more dense the initial regeneration is. Also winter cuts give a little denser regen since all of the trees energey is in storage. But the weather also plays a role, soil conditions and browse. The end (oldera) stand will have a stem density mostly due to soil conditions though even if it starts out real dense from younger/winter cutting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes you are correct. The more vigorous and healthy the stand that is harvested usually the more dense the initial regeneration is. Also winter cuts give a little denser regen since all of the trees energey is in storage. But the weather also plays a role, soil conditions and browse. The end (oldera) stand will have a stem density mostly due to soil conditions though even if it starts out real dense from younger/winter cutting.
So, in an area like duck lake, would it be advantageous to keep re cutting or even brush hogging frequently? first 80%, then 60%, and so on to keep the age classes spread out. A by product of this would be better, i.e. denser, cover when it is finally left to grow.

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So, in an area like duck lake, would it be advantageous to keep re cutting or even brush hogging frequently? first 80%, then 60%, and so on to keep the age classes spread out. A by product of this would be better, i.e. denser, cover when it is finally left to grow.

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If it was aspen maybe, except brush hogging very large areas cost lots of money and time, but in select areas it might be considered. The Duck Lake fire mostly burned pines and a lot of it is jack pine. The same thing will happen though and they will thik about chipping some early in the rotation.
 
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