Red Oak & Northern Hardwood Thin/Group Selection (Aitkin Cty, MN)

State or Province
Nearest city or town
Malmo, MN
Describe the location
Aitkin County Tax Forfeited Land - Section 4/5 Township 44N Range 24W (Seavey)
Aitkin County
Cover type
Plant community detail and growth stage
MHn35 and MHn47 (Section 4 - was mapped in 2010), Northern Hardwoods and Red Oak (CSA cover type "20" & "30")
Forest health threats
Adaptive silviculture options
Silviculture system
Estimated year of stand origin
Brief silvicultural objective
Create a high quality, structurally diverse (un-even aged) hardwood forest via implementation of a variable density treatment (crop tree release / group selection harvest).
Site preparation method
Treatment area
104 acres

46.275026, -93.388933


Aitkin County manages over 2100 acres in sections 4,5,8,9 of Seavey Township - approximately 6-miles east of Malmo, MN (east side of Lake Mille Lacs). Much of that acreage is in high quality hardwoods 80-100 years of age. The objective in this area is to manage for large blocks of mature, closed-canopy hardwood forest. Traditional un-even age management tends to favor shade tolerant sugar maple at the expense of shade intolerant species such as oak, basswood, or birch. There had been some "selective harvesting" in the area 20+ years ago and canopy gaps created at that time now contain pole sized oak, basswood, and paper birch. 

Pre-treatment stand description and condition

Pre-treatment growth and stocking: 

Pre-harvest basal area
Oak =               53
Maple =           31
Aspen =           20
Birch =             14
Basswood =     10
Other =            3
Total =             131

What actually happened during the treatment

The treatment at this site was an irregular thin via crop tree release to encourage growth on quality trees with approximately 10% of the area in canopy gaps (1/3 to 1-acre gaps) to encourage regeneration of shade-intolerant species. The harvest occurred in the winter of 2010/2011 and, due in large part to timber volume from the canopy gaps,  yielded over 10-cords per acre which made it economically operable for the logging operation.

Post harvest basal area
Oak =               33
Maple =           20
Aspen =           6
Birch =             7
Basswood =     7
Other =            3
Total =            76

Post Harvest
Trees/acre = 83                                  Average DBH = 14"
Quality trees/acre = 21                      Snag Basal area = 5

Post-treatment assessment

A regeneration survey was conducted in the fall of 2013 (3-years post harvest) to monitor regeneration. Five of the canopy gaps were sampled and the initial results are encouraging for shade-intolerant species (maple seedlings were abundant but were not counted). Follow-up regeneration checks will occur at 3-5 year intervals. 

Table 1: Regeneration table 2015

Figure 1: Oak regeneration, pictured October 2016

Figure 2: Oak regeneration, pictured October 2016

Plans for future treatments

It is anticipated that the next harvest entry will be in approximately 15-years.

Issue for the next entry... dispersed vs. expanding canopy (regeneration) gaps.