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Upper Peninsula ForestryUP-green.jpg (5531 bytes)
Text.h1.jpg (3293 bytes)AUTO TOUR !


This U.P. Forestry Auto Tour is sponsored by the Michigan Society of American Foresters and the Michigan Sustainable Forestry InitiativeSM. Brochures are available at a number of locations in the U.P., including 01-Aspen.jpg (8767 bytes)Michigan Visitor Centers and Michigan State University County Extension offices.  Now, this tour is best done while travelling through the 8.7 million-acre U.P. forest.  However, this page will describe what to expect.  Watch for the sign posts with the numbered SAF shields.  There are 121 sites labeled on the brochure map with more added on a regular basis.  If you would like the brochure mailed to you, try calling MSU Extension at 906-786-1575, any U.P. County Extension office, or email your request.  And, welcome to the U.P.!

MSAF Home Page      
Lower Peninsula Auto Tour

The Sites

Aspen

Jack Pine

Cedar

White Birch

Northern Hardwoods

Grass Openings

Red Pine

Eastern Hemlock

Fire Importance

White Pine

Spruce-Fir

Old Growth

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Sign_Logo.jpg (12329 bytes)From the Society of American Foresters, WELCOME to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.)!  Throughout this self-guided auto tour, we hope to help you enjoy all that the U.P. has to offer.

There are more than 19.3 million forested acres in Michigan, with 8.7 million acres in the U.P.  With that much area covered by trees, it is no wonder that the forest industry is an integral part of the Upper Peninsula economy!  Michigan timber contributes over $8 million and 178,000 jobs statewide, nine percent of which are in the U.P., through forest-based corporations and tourism/recreation.  These numbers will vary with differing analyses, but the main message is that these industries are essential to the economy, forest health, and lifestyles of the U.P.

Private individuals own approximately 30 percent of the timberland in the U.P.  Maple, beech, and birch, the typical hardwood stand, make up the majority of all timberland in the U.P.  Some of the other key forest types are aspen and northern white cedar.  Aspen is vital to paper production and hardwoods are used for a variety of products.  Cedar also has important uses for both humans and animals.

This tour is designed to guide you through this vast land of changing terrain and to assist the traveler in learning about our beautiful and productive forests.  In this brochure you will read about the species types that we, as foresters in the U.P., manage for timber, recreation and ecological values.  With a brief exposure to jack pine, for example, you will find corresponding numbers on the map where you can view a jack pine stand.  As you travel on U.P. road ways, you will see road signs with our distinctive SAF/SFI logo and a number that corresponds to your map.  Take a moment as you drive by that particular site to ponder the wonderful visual, economic, and recreational value of timberland, not only in the U.P. but worldwide.

If you would like more information on the Society of American Foresters, please contact SAF National Headquarters at www.safnet.org or 301-897-8720. Enjoy your tour!

SAF_Logo.jpg (10971 bytes) SOCIETY OF AMERICAN FORESTERS
The mission of the Michigan Society of American Foresters is responsible stewardship of our forests while meeting the vital needs of society.  The Michigan SAF website is http://forestry.msu.edu/msaf, or call 301-897-8720.
SFI_Logo.jpg (10850 bytes) SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY INITIATIVE
The mission of the SFI is to promote a stewardship ethic on all forest lands that ensure conservation and enhancement of water quality, fish, and wildlife habitat, and healthy forests while providing for the forest products needs of society.  

 




 

FOREST INDUSTRY

Michigan has a vast and diverse forest resource that allows for a vital forest industry. Timberland acreage in Michigan is the fifth largest in the United States. We have 18.6 million acres of timberland in this state.

In the Upper Peninsula, 1,513,500 acres, or 8% of timberland are owned by forest industry companies such as Plum Creek and The ForestLand Group.  This vast acreage is well managed by trained forestry professionals, to provide a continuing timber supply to regional mills and buyers.  The forest industry owns various types of forests throughout the Upper Peninsula and most of its activities are visible as you drive along the major highways.

Some of the larger and more visible mills that utilize the forests of the Upper Peninsula are:  Louisiana-Pacific (Sagola and Newberry), Potlatch (Sawyer), NewPage (Escanaba), Timber Products (Munising), Verso Paper(Quinnesec), Manistique Papers (Manistique), and Smurfit-Stone (Ontonagon).  Many other mills can be spotted as you travel throughout the U.P.  Most of these mills are members of the Sustained Forest Initiative.  Almost every town in the U.P., large and small, has a mill or other business that uses raw materials from our forests.

Transporting products to the industrial sites can be costly in this large state and most of the companies heavily utilize the railways and roadways.  Almost every small town in the Upper Peninsula is primarily supported by the forest industry, so it plays a vital role in our economy.




RECREATION

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula forests offer a wide range of recreation opportunities.  State and federal lands are open all year for everyone to enjoy.  Year-round activities attract people from all over the world to the U.P.  The abundance of these open lands in the U.P. allow for endless snowmobile and cross-country ski trails.  We have some of the best groomed snowmobile trails in the Midwest.  Many championship cross-country ski races are held here during the winter, drawing competitors from as far away as Europe.  During the warmer months, fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, bird watching, and ecological studies abound, made possible by our vast forests and their inherent values.

Due to sound forest management, we have an abundance of native animals.  Moose have been re-established in the Upper Peninsula.  Year after year, record numbers of white-tailed deer attract hunters, boosting the economy of many small towns around the U.P.

Some of the key tourist spots in the U.P. are the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Tahquamenon Falls near Paradise, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, Brockway Mountain in the Keweenaw Peninsula, the Porcupine Mountains in Ontonagon County, and the iron and copper mines of Marquette and Houghton.

No matter what your reason to visit the U.P., the forests offer many year-round activities.

WETLANDS

Wetlands are fascinating and complex ecosystems that perform a variety of functions of vital importance to the environment.  They can be classified into 3 broad categories; marshes, shrub wetlands, and forested wetlands.  Wetlands regulate water flow by detaining storm flows for short periods thus reducing flood peaks.  Wetlands protect lake shore and coastal areas by buffering the erosive action of waves and other storm effects.  Wetlands improve water quality by retaining or transforming excess nutrients and by trapping sediment and heavy metals.  Wetlands provide many wildlife habitat components such as breeding grounds, nesting sites, and other critical habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species, as well as the special habitat requirements of many threatened and endangered plants and animals.  Wetlands also provide a bounty of plant and animal products such as blueberries, cranberries, timber, fiber, fin fish, shellfish, waterfowl, furbearers, and game animals.

Sundew Bog Rosemary Marsh Milkweed Labrador Tea Leatherleaf Blueberry

 

 

 

 

 

TREE FARM SYSTEM

TreeFarm.jpg (13937 bytes)The American Tree Farm Systemis a nation-wide community of nearly 60,000 landowners linked by a desire to manage their woodlands effectively.  Effective management includes producing continuous crops of trees to supply our nation’s wood products needs, and simultaneously maintaining the forest to be aesthetically pleasing and beneficial to wildlife.  A Tree Farm might be a plantation. However, most Tree Farms are natural forests managed for a variety of outcomes.

Tree farmers play a critical role in our nation’s economy.  Fully 58 percent of all timber harvested in the United States comes from the non-industrial private woodlands, that is, land owned by individuals, not the government or timber companies.  Tree Farms play a valuable role as well, providing wildlife habitat and watershed protection and often offering recreational opportunities for members of the community.

Tree farmers generally own a minimum of 10 acres of forest land.  To qualify, they must have their land inspected by one of the 10,000 foresters who donate their time to the Tree Farm system.  Lands are re-inspected at least every five years to assure that they are properly managed.

The American Tree Farm System is run on the state level by state Tree Farm committees.  It is a program of the American Forest Foundation, administered by the American Forest Council in Washington, D.C. Funding for the program comes from private donations and contributions from the forest products industry.


ASPEN - 7 Sites

01-Aspen.jpg (8767 bytes)As you drive through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, you will notice an abundance of aspen. The smooth, pale-green barked trees with leaves that tremble in the wind are also commonly referred to as "popple". Aspen provides very important habitat for wildlife like deer, rabbits, ruffed grouse, beavers, porcupines, and a variety of songbirds. The leaves turn brilliant yellow in the fall. An aspen forest is a good place to find morel mushrooms in the spring.

Aspen are opportunists. They commonly take over disturbed areas by sprouting from the roots of mature trees. With full sunlight after a disturbance (logging, fire, wind damage), aspen will aggressively sprout into a thicket of new trees. Because they are nourished by a large, established root system, they can grow three to four feet in just the first season, easily outdoing their competitors. Aspen also reproduces by seed. Of interest is that an aspen tree is either male or female. That is a tree that will produce only male flowers (pollen) or female flowers (for seed).

Aspen grows fast but has a short life span of 60-80 years. Unless a disturbance is created, it dies and the forest changes to other types of trees. That is why you may see clearcut logging in aspen forest. This cutting provides the conditions to regenerate the aspen forest and begin the cycle all over again.

Aspen is a major forest cover type in Michigan. The harvested trees are used for a wide variety of products including paper, pallets, lumber and particleboard.


Aspen Clone

Aspen Poles

WHITE BIRCH - 6 Sites

02-PBirch.jpg (8065 bytes)White Birch is one of the most striking native North American trees. Birch is important for both its aesthetic value and wood products. Birch clumps are often formed from stump sprouts, making it easy to see and adding contrast and variety to the landscape.

Most white birch is harvested for pulpwood because of its small size. However, due to its white sapwood, straight grain and smooth texture, white birch can produce a quality timber product. These include veneer logs, sawlogs, and sawbolts which are made into ice cream sticks, tongue depressors, paint stir sticks, toothpicks, dowels, clothespins, etc.

White birch is a short-lived, fast growing tree. Trees reach maturity as early as 50-60 years. It is an intolerant tree, which means it needs full sunlight to get established. White birch occurs in pure stands and also as individuals in mixed stands along with balsam fir, aspen, and northern hardwoods. It grows in a climate with short, cool summers and long, cold winters with long periods of heavy snow cover.

White birch seeds are small and need mineral soil for best germination. Moderate stump sprouting can occur especially after cutting or a fire. Clearcutting and seed-tree cuts have been used to regenerate white birch. Without harvesting, white birch forests have a tendency to convert to more tolerant species through natural succession.


RED PINE - 18 Sites

03-RPine.jpg (8158 bytes)Largest red pine in United States: 38 inches in diameter, 141 feet tall, located in Porcupine Mt. State Park, Ontonagon Co., MI.

Red pine is a very attractive and distinctive native Michigan tree, with dark reddish bark and a dark green round crown. Mother Nature grows red pine on sandy soils using fire as her management tool. Red pine has thick, fire-resistant bark allowing it to survive in areas that are frequently burned and still survive while other trees, shrubs and grasses are killed. The fire also prepares the bare soil seed bed needed for new red pines to start growing. If you look at the bottom of an old red pine you may see a blackened scar called a catface. Previous fires that have damaged the protective bark cause this scar. Red pine will grow in light shade as a young tree but it requires full sunlight to survive and thrive in the forest. Red pine can live to 400 years, but will usually grow to be 100-150 years old when timber products are the management goal.

Red pine provides many products we use daily. It is used to make paper, lumber, cabin logs and plywood. Red pine lumber, posts and poles can be treated to be rot resistant. Much of the green colored treated wood that you see used for utility poles and decks is made from red pine.

Red pine is easily managed for timber production and grows the most volume of wood per acre of any tree in the Upper Peninsula. It often produces 2-5 times more wood than other trees growing on similar areas. This is one reason why it is the most commonly planted tree in Michigan. Some of the timber management activities you may observe in the red pine stands noted in the brochure are thinnings and plantings. Thinnings usually begin in red pine plantations when the trees reach 25-30 years of age. Thinnings may be possible (on better soils) every 10 years until the stand is mature. 25 to 40 percent of the trees are removed in each thinning. When the stand has its final harvest, it is clear cut, and new trees are planted or established naturally. Sometimes trees are allowed to grow longer than 150 years to provide other forest values such as old growth, aesthetics or wildlife. In addition to wood, red pine provides nesting and cover habitat for birds and animals.


Natural Red Pine

Pine Plantation

Old Red Pine

WHITE PINE - 5 Sites

04-WPine.jpg (7852 bytes)White pine, monarch of the eastern forest and Michigan’s state tree, was the major species of the lumber industry in the late 1800’s, used primarily for shipbuilding and homesteads. Creamy white to red brown, it is soft, straight grained, may be cut with ease, polishes well and when seasoned, warps very little. Almost everything from ships’ masts to matches, including doors, flooring, framing, trim, crating and novelties have been made from this wood. Although not noted for it's strength it compares favorably with ponderosa pine, cottonwood and basswood.

With a little practice, white pine’s silhouette can be identified while driving down the highways. The upper branches often grow irregularly away from the prevailing wind direction, giving the tree a wind swept appearance. The upper trunk of mature trees is light gray, perhaps lending itself the name "white pine".

Abundant in the Upper Peninsula, white pine grows well on a wide variety of sites: from sandy soils to clay soils, on dunes as well as mounds in swamps, and flood plains, on rock ridges and outcrops. White pine grows in nearly pure stands and in mixture with hardwoods, also with hemlock and red pine.

White pine of the original Michigan forests grew to be 200 to 250 years old, with trunks 6 ft. in diameter and a height of 250 feet! Today, trees are harvested at 80-100 years when they measure from 12-20 inches in diameter and are about 100 feet tall. White pine reproduces readily from seed carried as far as 1/4 mile in the wind, when released from the cone. Natural regeneration of white pine seedlings is sometimes limited due to its susceptibility to white pine blister rust fungus, the white pine weevil and over-browsing by deer. Timber harvesting leaves overstory "seed" trees standing throughout an area to protect an adequate seed supply to start a new stand for the next generation. White pine will also be one of the first trees to regenerate following a fire. It is also shade tolerant enough to establish itself in the understory of stands of red pine, jack pine and red, white and black oaks, and will gradually replace them as the overstory.


Emergent Crowns

Mature Trees

Mixed Stand

JACK PINE - 12 Sites

05-JPine.jpg (5597 bytes)Jack pine is a member of the pine species that matures at approximately 55 years of age. Notable features of this species are its rock-like cones and sharp, waxy needles in bundles of two. The bark of the tree is rough and deep brown in color. The tree is often scrubby in appearance.

Jack pine typically grows on sandy, poor soils in the U.P. It also tends to grow in stands of mixed species with quaking aspen, red pine and white pine. Jack pine is classified as a shade intolerant tree, requiring direct sunlight for proper growth. Due to this, it is necessary to perform partial or total clearcuts of a mature stand to regenerate the species to its most productive level. The cones of the jack pine open when exposed to intense heat from fire or direct sun after a heavy cutting. Once open, the cones release their seeds and germinate in the freshly exposed soil.

Jack pine is a very valuable species to the forest products industry. It provides the woody material for products such as paper, chipboard and building materials. Without jack pine stands in the Upper Peninsula, the forest industry would be hard-pressed to meet the demands of the paper producing plants.

The jack pine in the U.P. comes under attack by the jack pine budworm every 15 to 20 years. Along many of the highways you are traveling you may notice that some of the jack pine appears to be dying. This dieback may be due to a jack pine budworm infestation. The budworm chews up the needles of the jack pine and then nests on the branches. Once the tree is defoliated, it is unable to produce food and sustain itself. With a budworm outbreak, the amount of dead trees in the U.P. forest increases, creating a higher risk of fire.


Managed Stands

Unmanaged Stand

NORTHERN HARDWOODS - 29 Sites

06-NHdwds.jpg (8356 bytes)The main tree species found in this typical northern hardwood forest are American beech, red maple, sugar maple and yellow birch. This species group dominates the forests of the whole state of Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula. We have more hardwood forests than any other cover type in the U.P. It is a source for many of our furniture products, paper products and building material. It is also one of our most enjoyable forest types, because it supports the largest variety of wildlife and offers recreational activities for people of all ages, backgrounds and interests.

Northern hardwood forests are usually harvested using a technique called single tree selection. A forester determines the correct amount of timber to be removed; marking the poorest trees with paint and then a logging crew cut the marked timber. Since the trees vary in age in size, they can be thinned every 15-20 years. The poor quality and larger, mature trees are removed, leaving the healthier and higher quality trees to grow for future harvests.

A wide variety of wildlife species use this forest type, including many songbirds, black bear, white-tailed deer and hawks. Northern hardwood forests provide important habitat to a number of different warblers for feeding and nesting in the spring and summer months.

One long time tradition of families throughout the U.P. is the "tapping" of sugar maple trees for maple syrup, both commercially and for family fun.


All-aged Stand

Overview

EASTERN HEMLOCK - 6 Sites

07-Hemlock.jpg (7284 bytes)Eastern hemlock is a slow growing, long-lived conifer tree found throughout the north country. It may live for 600 years or more and reach heights of 160 feet and diameters of 84 inches. A typical mature stand of hemlock may be 400 years old with trees 100 feet tall and 4 feet around.

Hemlock, though not as common as other Upper Peninsula trees, is usually found with white pine and yellow birch growing in cool, moist places.

The wood from eastern hemlock is used for making paper or lumber. At one time, tannin from the bark was used in processing leather. Hemlock stands provide shelter essential for white-tailed deer in the winter. They also provide cover for ruffed grouse, rabbits and other animals.

Management of hemlock for timber products is accomplished by thinning or a shelterwood harvest. Young stands are thinned to improve tree growth and quality. A shelterwood system may be used in older hemlock stands to regenerate new stands. This procedure occurs in two or three stages. The first stage thins the overstory trees to let light reach the forest floor to help young seedlings get started. Ten to twenty years later, the stand is thinned again to help the seedlings grow into saplings. Finally, when the young trees are 3 to 5 feet tall, the remaining overstory is removed.

In the Upper Peninsula, you will see eastern hemlock growing in pure stands or mixed with other northern species. It is often found along streams or near lakes. The purplish brown bark of mature trees gives the hemlock a distinct appearance. These graceful trees with soft, "lacy" foliage can easily be picked out of the forest while driving down the highway.


Mature Hemlock


SPRUCE-FIR - 8 Sites

08-SpruceFir.jpg (8307 bytes)The spruce-fir forest consists mainly of white spruce and balsam fir. These trees grow well despite cold, wet conditions and shallow, acidic soils. Spruce and balsam fir trees are tall and symmetrical. They usually have a rather sharp, pointed crown and many branches surrounding the trunk. These sharp crowns allow them to shed some of the heavy snow and to offer resistance to strong winter winds. The trees can grow 70 to 80 feet tall in the Upper Peninsula but 55 to 60 feet are a more common height.

These forests reseed themselves via lightweight seeds that are dispersed over great distances and reestablish after a fire.

The spruce budworm, an insect that eats the needles of balsam fir and white spruce, is a serious pest in the spruce-fir cover type. After repeated annual defoliation, severe mortality in a forest stand occurs. This natural phenomenon has historically occurred in 20 to 30 year cycles. The death of large areas of trees then makes way for understory spruce and fir seedlings to grow into a new, healthy stand. Some people object to the unsightliness of many dead trees, half-broken and lying in a strewed pile. Yet, this is part of the spruce-fir system.

Many birds, squirrels and other small ground animals use this forest type for food, eating the seeds, insects from the bark and the bark itself. People utilize the wood for pulpwood, lumber, furniture, interior trim and other household items.

Indians once used the pliable roots of spruce for lacing birch bark canoes. Balsam fir is a popular Christmas tree because the needles do not fall off easily and it has a pleasant fragrance.


Spruce-Fir Mix

Edge of Beaver Pond

CEDAR - 14 Sites

09-Cedar.jpg (8290 bytes)Many of the numerous swamp areas are occupied by cedar stands; either pure or mixed with other trees such as black and white spruce, tamarack and balsam fir. Cedar is known for its aromatic smell when cut, like the chips that are used for dog beds. Fence posts, shingles may come to mind as products from cedar trees, which is also known for its ability to resist rotting.

The cedar swamp type often occurs in large areas of very dense trees. This makes it ideal habitat for wintering deer because it gives them shelter from extreme cold and deep snow. The thickness of the tree cover helps keep the snow depths lower compared to other areas where tree cover is more open. It also provides better thermal cover than open upland areas. Cedar browse is a nutritious food for deer in the winter.

Management of this type of forest varies from clear-cuts, where trees are taken in narrow strips or patches to partial overstory removal (shelterwood). The forest products, such as cedar posts, cedar bolts for shingles, cabin logs and lumber, or mixed conifer pulpwood, are taken to the mills for processing. The adjoining or overstory trees left standing will seed in the cut over areas. Sometimes the harvest area is burned so the seeds have good soil contact. Cedar is extremely slow growing as a seedling, taking as much as 25-30 years to become established in the cool, damp swamp soils.

Besides the taking of forest products, cutting helps provide deer browse (grazing food). Cedar can however, be over browsed by deer to the point that the deer (especially young deer) can no longer reach the food they so desperately need. This is what gives a cedar stand the distinct appearance that its been neatly pruned from the ground to about 5 feet up. Young stands will provide vital browse and eventually grow in to the dense thicket deer need for winter survival.


Cedar Stand


GRASS OPENINGS - 7 Sites

10-Openings.jpg (7573 bytes)Large openings (greater than 3 acres) are covered by a layer of permanent sod. Generally, they are the result of the attempts by early settlers to convert forested areas to agricultural uses. The fires that followed the clearing of the forests, fueled by large acres of logging debris, destroyed much of the ground vegetation, seed and root systems. Such intense heat set back the productivity of the soil for both farming and timber. Farmersí plows, livestock grazing and compaction also kept the land open for many years. The forest soils that were less suitable for farm production were soon abandoned. Grass (sod) prevailed.

In the absence of fires and farming, the grass openings began to be slowly reclaimed by tree cover such as aspen, willow, alder, birch and jack pine. This accelerated in the 1930ís and is still taking place. Decades later you can still see treeless and grassy fields, often called savannas, just as they first appeared.

Openings are beneficial to certain wildlife species. In the spring, these openings "green up" first, providing deer and other grazers with succulent grasses. A large opening is very appealing to hawks and many seed-eating birds. Prey species such as mice and voles are abundant. Species that are adapted to a prairie-like environment, sharp-tailed grouse and upland plovers are to be found feeding on insects and seeds. The ritualistic spring mating flight and dance of the American woodcock is dependent upon mixed brush-grass openings. You can find the following species in most northern, large openings: red-tailed hawk, eastern bluebird, American kestrel, meadow vole, smooth green snake, coyote and many more.

Foresters, wildlife biologists and other resource people manage large openings for their historical, scenic, and wildlife benefits. Prescribed (controlled) burning is one way to establish and/or maintain openings and keep this valuable resource.


 

FIRE IMPORTANCE - 3 Sites

11-fire.jpg (6269 bytes)Fire plays a major role in forest health and species composition. Natural fires in early times swept through old and decaying forest, regenerating new, healthy stands of sun-tolerant tree species. Large stands of red, white and jack pine species were created because of their fire resistance in areas of high fire occurrence. By removing the role of fire from the natural forest process, it has increased the growth in the fire-intolerant tree species such as red and sugar maple.

Today, prescribed fire is occasionally used in forest practices, such as forest regeneration, wildlife management, blueberry production and controlling species invasion.

Two recent wildfire sites for you to see are:

U.S. 2, STONINGTON FIRE

The Stockyard Fire burned in 1988 and consumed approximately 1400 acres. The standing dead trees, many of them jack pine (snags) that could not be salvaged, remain standing as a reminder of the damage caused by accidental or purposely set wildfires. Despite the destruction, some species of wildlife have taken up residence. Notice the natural jack pine seedlings. This is one tree species that regenerates well after fires. The fire reduces ground vegetation, exposes mineral soils and causes the tightly bound (serotinous) pine cones in the standing snags to open and scatter their seed.

M-28, SENEY FIRE

This lightning caused wildfire, burned 74,000 acres in the drought year of 1976. It became one of the largest fires in Michigan history. Today it is hard to see where the fire jumped M-28 except for a few remaining dead trees.

On aerial photographs, only a few fire control lines are visible. Despite the amount of land burned, this area shows a variety of trees that have naturally regenerated such as aspen, red, white and jack pine. Abundant wildlife has taken up residence as well.


Prescribed Burn

Stonington-2002

OLD GROWTH - 6 Sites

12-OldGrowth.jpg (8555 bytes)Old growth is typically an older forest area composed of larger trees, layers of tree tops, standing dead trees, native types of plants and animals and dead organic material. These forests have gone untouched by humans since our arrival in the Upper Peninsula. However, agents of change act in all forests, including old growth stands. Insects, disease, fire and weather all work on these areas regardless of human activity. This causes unforested openings and areas of new young trees to grow among older trees. Old growth, then, is the state of a forest during a particular time period in its life.

Like people, trees have no defined life span. In an old growth forest, the trees have reached maturity and have begun to die. From that point on, the large trees decline as the effects of aging set in. In a forest stand, this means that the trees begin to lose their commercial value.

People value old growth forest for a variety of reasons. These can include a source for rare species, both animal and plant, a piece of history, and recreation. Despite personal reasons for preserving or cutting old growth forests, they have been shown to have their place in the forest ecosystem.


Estivant Tract

Yellow Birch

Sylvania Tract

Leaves.jpg (14046 bytes)

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This website is maintained by Bill Cook, Michigan State University Extension Forest in the Upper Peninsula.  Comments, questions, and suggestions are gratefully accepted. 
Last update of this page was 21 September, 2005

 


 

 

 

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