Case Study Name (Landowner)

Pine Island Black Spruce (MNDNR)

Stand Information
State or Province: 
Nearest city or town: 
Big Falls
MN DNR - Trust Land
MN ECS Native Plant Community System: 
Plant community or habitat classification and growth stage: 
FPn71. See plant community fact sheet in supplemental content section.
Forest Health Threats: 
Estimated year of stand origin: 
Site Index: 
for species: 
black spruce
Silviculture System: 
Brief silvicultural objective: 
Reforest a black spruce lowland with a local seed source.
B273A - Waskish peat The Waskish series consists of deep, very poorly drained organic soils that formed mostly in slightly decomposed material from Sphagnum moss on raised bogs on glaciated terrain. These soils have rapid permeability. They have slopes of less than one percent. Mean annual precipitation is about 22 inches. Mean annual temperature is about 40 degrees F. From the USDA Soil Survey
Stand area: 
21 acres
Treatment area: 
21 acres

This lowland harvest shows that reforestation using on-site seed can be accomplished on appropriate sites during good seed years.  The forester supervising the timber sale noticed a healthy cone crop was produced the year of harvest.  The timber sale regulations required limbing slash to be distributed on site.  This clearcut stand contained an excellent sphagnum moss seed bed, which allowed for regeneration success. 

Silviculture Objective(s)

The objective for this site was to reforest the black spruce type for a future timber sale (with estimated 120 year rotation).   The seedling target for 5 years following harvest is a site that is 95% stocked with 1500 trees per acre in lowland black spruce clearcuts.

An overall landscape goal is to balance the age class for the lowland black spruce type. Another goal is to provide timber for market on state trust fund land.

Pre-treatment stand description and condition
Stand establishment and management history: 

Management history prior to timber sale is unknown.

Pre-treatment species composition: 

Site was dominated by black spruce, which had 23.5 cords an acre at time of harvest.

Silviculture Prescription

Timber Sale Regulations:

  • Harvest all merchantable spruce and tamarack.
  • Fell all live black spruce equal to or greater than 5 feet tall.
  • Fell timber progressively away from landings to help site to set up.
  • Distribute slash within sale boundaries.
  • If site damage becomes apparent, alter or cease operations and contact state.
  • The location and construction of all roads and landings must be pre-approved by the state.

What actually happened during the treatment

Stand was logged using conventional equipment in February-March 2012.  Limbs with cones were scattered across the site.  Tops from slashing were piled and burned December 2013.

Post-treatment assessment

Regeneration Check March 11, 2016

100% stocked with black spruce seedlings 0.5-1 foot tall; 1,253 trees per acre

7% stocked with balsam fir 0.5 foot tall; 6 trees per acre

Plans for future treatments

No future treatments are planned.

Costs and economic considerations

No costs were associated with the reforestation of this site.

Summary / lessons learned / additional thoughts

Recognizing sites that can be left alone is as valuable as recognizing what needs intervention.

Supplemental content ("appendices")
Close up of black spruce seedlingsCluster of black spruce seedlings2010 infrared aerial photo of black spruce local seed reforestation site
Angela Yuska
Minnesota DNR
Photo of Angela on a mountain
Program Forester
PO Box 127
Big Falls , MN 56627 ,
Phone Number: 
(218) 276-2237