St. Louis County - Bio Dog Timber Sale

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Action

St. Louis County (MN) used the Adaptation Workbook to design site preparation and tree-planting activities on a 208-acre parcel following a 2013 timber sale. 

St. Louis County is Minnesota’s largest county, and their Land and Minerals Department manages more than 900,000 acres of tax forfeit land across the county. Much of this land base is forested and used for timber production and public access for hunting, fishing, camping, and other recreational uses. St. Louis County maintains dual certification under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) standard and the ISO-14001 Environmental Management System standard.

Project Location and Goals

The Bio Dog Timber Sale occurred in 2013 in a 208-acre stand of declining 80 to 85-year-old paper birch and aspen. A trout stream runs through the stand, and there are many small wetlands and vernal pools throughout the stand. Also, this stand is bordered by the Superior Hiking Trail. Along with the goal of creating a healthy stand to produce forest products, St. Louis County also wants to protect water resources by planting long-lived conifers near the stream and creating a mixed-species stand for a more natural visual appearance.

 

Climate Change Risks and Opportunities

A St. Louis County forester considered broad climate change trends that are expected for northern Minnesota and the site conditions on this particular parcel of land. They identified several risks associated with climate change, as well as several opportunities.  Some of these include:

  • The primary target species for this stand may benefit from a longer, warmer growing season (white pine and northern red oak).  Some of the reserved species from the timber harvest may also be suited to future conditions (basswood and yellow birch).
  • Drought stress could cause problems with growth and natural regeneration
  • A spruce budworm outbreak is expected at the site in the future, and these outbreaks could become more damaging in the future if they align with drought.  That might actually be a benefit in this stand, because balsam fir is not desirable for this site. 
  • Future heavy rain events could increase erosion from the stand and add silt to the trout stream. Minnesota has already experienced four 1000-yr rain events in the past decade!



Adaptation Actions

After considering the menu of adaptation strategies and approaches from the Adaptation Workbook, the St. Louis County forester generated several possible adaptation actions that could be implemented at the Bio Dog stand. The timber sale in 2013 already accomplished some of these adaptation actions, and more will be implemented through follow-up site preparation and planting.  Many of the actions that St. Louis County already had planned for this stand also have benefits for climate change adaptation, so it wasn’t necessary to make major changes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Project Status

St. Louis County staff completed the Adaptation Workbook at a Forest Adaptation Planning and Practices workshop in July 2014. The stand will be trenched in August 2015 and planting will occur in spring 2016.  Budcapping will occur the following fall.  Regeneration checks in 2017, 2019, and 2021 will provide valuable information about the success of these planting activities and the overall regeneration of the stand.

Updated 8/5/15.