Case Study Name (Landowner)

Aspen for Timber in Alder Pond (Itasca County)

Stand Information
State or Province: 
Nearest city or town: 
Grand Rapids
Itasca County
MN ECS Native Plant Community System: 
Plant community or habitat classification and growth stage: 
Tamarack Lowlands – MHn 44, MHn 35, WFn 55
Forest Health Threats: 
Estimated year of stand origin: 
Silviculture System: 
Brief silvicultural objective: 
Aspen timber sale on county land by a private contract with a logger. Enhance wildlife habitat for ruffed grouse.
549 - Greenwood-Greenwood: Characterized by ponds, complex structure. Has a 0-1% slope, which make it very poorly drained. A typical profile includes: Oi - 0-10” peat, Oe - 10-79” mucky peat. 617 B – Goodland Silt Loam: Typically well drained soils, with a slope between 1-10%. A typical profile includes: E – 0-3” silt loam; Bw, 2E/B, 2Bt – 3-28” fine sandy loam; 3BC – 28-34” gravelly loamy coarse sand; 3C – 34-60” gravelly sand. 618 B Itasca Silt Loam: Consist on well-drained soils, with 1-10% slopes. A typical profile includes: E – 0-3” silt loam; Bw, E’ – 3-19” silt loam; 2E/B, 2Bt1 – 19-43” fine sandy loam; 2Bt2, 2C – 43-60” fine sandy loam. 625 Sandwick Loamy Fine Sand: Conformed of poorly drained soils. A typical profile: E – 0-4” loamy fine sand; Bw, E’1 – 4-22” loamy fine sand; 2E’2, 2Btg1-2 – 22-38” loam; 2Cg – 38-60” loam.
Stand area: 
190 acres
Treatment area: 
59 acres

This is the first entry into 190 acres (Sec.29&32) of 43-year-old aspen types in the Alder Pond Ruffed Grouse Management Area.  These stands are divided into 4 management areas; with one being the 59.4 acres in this case study. This management section will be put up for auction in Spring of 2018 with loggers having between 3 and 4 years to harvest the area according to the prescription. Harvests will be separated by a 7-9 year gap to create an uneven-aged stand that would provide a better habitat for ruffed grouse. Adjacent areas have been logged before (see Figure 1 & 2), but not this exact stand. A windstorm nearby (in 2012) blew down an area of 30-year-old aspen, which was cleaned up and managed for timber and ruffed grouse habitat.

Silviculture Objective(s)

The objectives of this stand are to manage a ruffed grouse habitat by creating different age classes of aspen while promoting species diversity within the stands through a clearcut with reserves for aspen and a shelterwood with reserves for ash species.

Pre-treatment stand description and condition
Pre-treatment species composition: 

Northern hardwoods: aspen, ash, pine, bur oak, balsam, cedar, and yellow birch.

Pre-treatment forest health issues: 

Phellinus tremulae is present in the aspen. Emerald ash borer is not a major issue, but enhancing a variety of species would ameliorate its possible effects.

Silviculture Prescription

-Regeneration harvest: For the harvest, a clearcut with reserves is proposed for aspen. Reserve species include pine, bur oak and balsam fir. The logger should maintain or create one drumming log per acre to enhance ruffed grouse habitat, by cutting a 10-14” dbh aspen 6 feet high (preferably a snag), with the top then placed next to the 6 foot high stump.  In addition to this, a shelterwood with reserves will be used for ash species, leaving cedar, balsam fir and yellow birch as reserves (with 50 square feet of basal area in total). The shelterwood will be done in the southwest corner of the property.

The estimated volume to be removed during the harvest can be found in Table 1.

Table 1. Appraisal of merchantable timber in the managed area. Source: Adapted from: RA-FM/COC-1709 Timber report - Appraisal of Itasca County Timber.

Species Volume Unit Appraised Price ($) Value ($)


1100 cords 23 25300
Maple 80 cords 9 720
Ash 60 cords 18 1080
Birch 45 cords 14 630
Balsam 40 cords 17 680
Balm 20 cords 20 400
Basswood 12 cords 9 108
Red oak 8 cords 27 216
Tamarack 5 cords 6 30
Black spruce 2 cords 20 40
White spruce 2 cords 20 40
Total 1374 - 183 29244

*Product: woodsrun. All species except aspen are non-bid species.

Slash (tops and limbs) produced during the harvest will remain evenly scattered along the stands, unless biomass itself is harvested.

The harvest will be done during winter (on frozen ground) between December and March, which will minimize the impact on the ground and water resources. Furthermore, ski trails would be used as a road network to transport the wood out of the forest.

-Regeneration: The system will rely on natural regeneration through seeding and suckering from aspen, ash and northern hardwood species.

What actually happened during the treatment

The harvest will occur within 3 to 4 years of the spring 2018 sale.

Post-treatment assessment

The harvest will occur within 3 to 4 years of the spring 2018 sale.

Plans for future treatments

Future treatments would include adding a conifer component to the stand such as balsam fir or black spruce through artificial regeneration, to provide a thermo-cover for ruffed grouse and other wildlife.

Costs and economic considerations

Other notes

Supplemental content can be found using these links:

Timber Auction GIS map -

Downloadable GIS Shapefiles (UTM) available at the right side of the page -

Summary / lessons learned / additional thoughts

Summary will be completed upon completion of harvest.

Figure 2: Photograph of drumming log habitat created for ruffed grouse after a timber sale in an adjacent area, summer 2017. Source: Robert Rother
Lucia Fitts
University of Minnesota- College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Graduate Research Assistant
Phone Number: 
(651) 410-9513
Robert Rother
Itasca County
District 1 Forester
Monticello 55362 ,
Vanessa Zachman
University of Minnesota
Forest Resources Student Intern