Forest Type: Aspen-white spruce/balsam fir (with white pine component). DBH: 2", Height: 12 feet; Density: 3,225 TPA
Quaking aspen, moderate density, clumpy distribution, 2” dbh, 14 ft. tall, 30% of composition
White spruce, moderate density, even distribution, 2” dbh, 10 ft. tall, 20% of composition
Balsam fir, moderate density, clumpy distribution, 2” dbh, 10 ft. tall, 20% of composition
White pine, moderate density, clumpy distribution, 2” dbh, 10 ft. tall, 20% of composition
Paper Birch, low density, even distribution, 2” dbh, 14 ft. tall, 10% of composition
Brush – high density (13,785 stems/acre), even distribution, but tree regeneration is above brush height, 3 ft. tall
Ecologically, the management activities that occurred (vs. what was listed in the prescription – clearcut, burn, aerial seed to black spruce and paper birch) could fit this site in some ways, but mostly does not align with natural succession. Clearcutting followed by mechanical site preparation mimics a catastrophic disturbance, which is very rare in MHn45. MHn45 would almost always be uneven-aged, but the management activities on this site created an even-aged stand. Young forests recovering from catastrophic events would be composed primarily of sugar maple. White spruce is listed as a component of this forest type that would dominate in very old stands (195+ years). White pine is not listed in the NPC description for this site, but may have historically been a component prior to European settlement and the white pine logging era. Clearcutting followed by site prep and planting can change a site so much so that the NPC type can be difficult to determine. The clearcut harvest and mechanical site preparation eliminated much of the sugar maple that should have been a large component of this site. If some of the overstory sugar maple had not been retained as legacy trees, I may have mistakenly typed this site out as FDn43.
The original prescription was for clearcutting to be followed by site prep burning and aerial seeding of black spruce and paper birch. The site was bordered by a black spruce/sphagnum moss lowland. Inaccuracies in our stand attribute records are an ongoing problem. Prescriptions will be written based on old or incorrect data. Perhaps this is the case for this site. The activities that did take place fit the site better than the original prescription, but poorly represent natural ecological disturbance in mesic hardwood forests.
According to the Silviculture Interpretation for MHn45, aspen and white pine are only considered fair choices for crop trees, while white spruce is ranked as good, and paper birch is ranked as excellent. Even though sugar maple is also ranked as excellent, the timber value of sugar maple on the North Shore is poor; it is usually sold as firewood, rather than for lumber or veneer.