We have several options:
1. Clear cut and regenerate red pine. This is the simplest and quickest way to handle the stand. This option would not alleviate the armillaria problem, and it would abruptly and dramatically change the appearance of a prominent landscape feature. Armillaria infection might be expected in half of the planted seedlings. Removal of stumps and roots might reduce infection of planted seedlings. (http://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/intropp/lessons/fungi/basidiomycetes/page...)
2. Cut gaps and allow for natural regeneration. Remove unhealthy trees as they become noticeable. Bur oak is the most abundant advance regeneration species at 1,787 stems/acre. The second most abundant is northern red oak at 433 stems/acre. The third most abundant is red maple at 270 stems/acre. This will promote a two-aged stand. Armillaria will likely persist in the stand which will affect the naturally regenerating red pine and oak within the stand along with the possibility of shoot blight diseases in regenerating pines. A percentage of existing oaks may be grubs, small trees with multiple stems. Grubs are conditioned from a long history of being top-killed by fires, so are unlikely to ever develop a merchantable form (conversation with Dr. John Almendinger, MNDNR Ecological Classification System consultant).
3. Cut gaps where armillaria is present and plant a variety of native tree species suited to the site to study armillaria resistance. I suggest this because I could not find any studies on armillaria resistance that had taken place in the Great Lakes region. A paper from the west3 suggests that Scots pine and Norway spruce species may be resistant and a website from the Pacific Northwest4 suggests that larch and birch are resistant. The MNDNR tree suitability table rates the following species as suitable for FDc24: (1) jack pine (2) quaking aspen (3) red pine (4) bur oak (5)paper birch (6) northern red oak.
4. If red pine pocket disease is proven to exist on this site, use this stand to study it and the effect of alternative treatments recommended by Wisconsin DNR.
Leaving the stand intact for a study could result in more tree mortality and financial loss.
I favor options 3 and 4, because studying stands like this now can help improve future management and minimize the damage caused by these diseases.