"Stumphges" is the name of the timber sale, not a misspelling.
Even-aged management to produce successive crops of jack and/or red pine.
Pre-treatment stand description and condition
Stand establishment and management history:
Stand origin is unknown, but it was likely natural regeneration following fire or logging. Jason Johnson (intern) and Harvey Tjader (timber sale program forester) keyed it out to Poor Pine Forest in 1999, using a prototype of the present DNR Ecological Classification System. No management activity had occurred since stand initiation, except for protection from fire.
Figure 1: Stumphges jack pine site map
Pre-treatment species composition:
Jack pine, red pine, balsam fir
Pre-treatment growth and stocking:
The 11.2 acre stand yielded 276 cords of jack pine, 16.25 Mbf of red pine and 1 cord of red pine when harvested in November, 2001.
Pre-treatment forest health issues:
Grow successive crops of jack or red pine by maintaining a young growth stage and reinitiating when reaching transition.
Our standard called for minimum trees/acre of 400 trees/acre of an appropriate species for the site, with a stocking of 75%. Harvey attempted to have the red pine reserved, but the appraiser included it in the permit. Permit regulations required the logger to lop and scatter the slash.
What actually happened during the treatment
We don’t have records of type of equipment used, but it was probably conventional feller-buncher and skidder.
Harvey checked the site in the summer of 2002, planning to set up a prescribed burn for site preparation, but cancelled plans when he found significant jack pine regeneration. Some unmerchantable red pines survived the logging. We had low expectation of getting satisfactory natural regeneration. Poor pine woodlands probably have a lower deer population, hence, lower rates of deer herbivory. Logging under snow-free conditions resulted in some scarification (seedbed preparation). Logging late in the frost-free season prevented early sprouting of seed which would have exposed seedlings to winter kill. Slash distribution allowed for distribution of cones. This community (FDc12) seems to hold the most promise for easy natural regeneration due to less shrub cover, and greater tree longevity.
In 2010, we found 722 jack pines (0-1” dbh) and 166 red pines (3-5” dbh) per acre (total 888 trees/ac) with 50% stocking. Plot size for trees 0-1” dbh was 1/1000 acre and for trees 3-5” dbh was 1/100 acre. (We should have used 1/100 ac plots for everything.) All seedlings were natural origin from the cones of harvested trees or from non-serotinous cones on live trees to the south and east on county lands. Jack pine heights were up to 6’ and the young jack pines were beginning to produce cones. In a species/area plot, we listed 83 species of plants on the site, some of which had invaded after logging.
We examined the county jack pine stand to the south, using the contemporary ECS, and found balsam fir and ground cedar was pushing it toward FDn33. We assume that transition is due to lack of fire or other disturbance. We examined the red pine stand to the north on county land and identified a Native Plant Community of FDc12. That stand had been thinned several times, so it had conditions more closely approximating the frequent ground fire disturbance typical of FDc communities.
Figure 2: Jack pines are becoming sexually mature and will begin to fill in gaps on the site.
Figure 3: Blueberries amid the jack pine saplings make this a popular site with berry pickers.
Plans for future treatments
No plans at this time. A motorized recreation trail runs through the site, introducing invasive species like spotted knapweed, which is abundant to the north. Some effort to control invasives is a conceivable future treatment, if the county were to cooperate in the effort.
Costs and economic considerations
I don’t have exact costs. I suspect it took no more than two days to prepare the timber sale, counting cruising, line running, and write up. The timber was sold on auction. Judging from the excellent access and location, it should have been sold at the going market price. No site preparation, planting, seeding, release or protection costs were incurred.
If conditions become warmer and drier, efforts to sustain forest or woodland could fail, since jack pine has the greatest tolerance of such conditions of any native tree. If the site reverts to prairie or savanna, it would be cool to have appropriate species on the site. Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) and other prairie species would be good. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratense) and spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) could proliferate to create a seriously degraded new ecosystem. We have a mix of those types of vegetation on the site, now.
Summary / lessons learned / additional thoughts
I would have left a more significant live source of jack pine seed. In FDc communities, where a high percentage of cones are non-serotinous, seed dispersal occurs every summer when the ambient air temperature exceeds 81 degrees. Consequently, a less than abundant supply of seed is available on the site at harvest time. If seed trees remain on the site for a few years after harvest, continual seed production and a well-maintained seedbed can mitigate that condition.
Controlling spotted knapweed and Kentucky bluegrass on adjacent lands would have been beneficial prior to the logging, if it had been feasible. That opportunity was not pursued.
Harvey was a staff forester at the MNDNR Northwest Region headquarters in Bemidji, MN. His primary focus was Ecological Land Classification and applications in silviculture. Prior to 2008, he was primarily involved in the timber program. He worked for the Minnesota DNR since he graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1978. Harvey passed away in July of 2022.