Pine Island Black Spruce (MN DNR)

State or Province
Nearest city or town
Big Falls
Describe the location
Pine Island District
MN DNR - Trust Land
Cover type
Plant community detail and growth stage
FPn71. See plant community fact sheet in supplemental content section.
Forest health threats
Adaptive silviculture options
Silviculture system
Estimated year of stand origin
Site index
28 feet
for species
black spruce
Brief silvicultural objective
Reforest a black spruce lowland with a local seed source.
Site preparation method
Soil texture
Soil details
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.
Stand area
21 acres
Treatment area
21 acres

48.260273, -94.134583


Figure 1: 2010 infrared aerial photo of black spruce local seed reforestation site

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

Figure 2: Close up of black spruce seedlings

Figure 3: Cluster of black spruce seedlings

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.