Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources: Loerch Wildlife Management Area


A Minnesota DNR forester used the Adaptation Workbook at a NIACS workshop in the fall of 2015. The forester prepared a timber sale for the property, and the permit was sold in the winter of 2015-2016. Harvesting will occur on the site within the next couple of years. 

Staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources used the Adaptation Workbook to consider climate change risks and management opportunities for a timber sale within a small Wildlife Management Area.

Project Area

The Loerch Wildlife Management Area was established in 1964 to provide habitat for deer, bear, upland game birds, and waterfowl. The forest in this property is primarily aspen and oak, and the WMA borders other state forest land. The timber sale for this project covers one cutting block of about 9 acres, including aspen and a northern hardwoods stand of elm, basswood, bur oak, paper birch, red maple, red oak, and white ash.

Management Goals

DNR signs at the Loerch WMA.

Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are part of Minnesota's state-owned land system and are designed to protect lands and waters that have a high potential for wildlife production, public hunting, trapping, fishing, and other compatible recreational uses. WMAs are supposed to protect valuable habitat and provide opportunities to hunt, fish, trap, and watch wildlife. On the Loerch WMA, primary game species include bear, deer, ruffed grouse, woodcock, and a variety of waterfowl. For the purposes of this timber sale, Minnesota DNR staff were most interested in the goals of promoting a diverse northern hardwoods stand and creating a young age class of aspen on the property. 

Climate Change Impacts

For this property, the DNR forester decided the most important anticipated climate change impacts include:
Milder winters could increase deer browse, which will make it more challenging to regenerate red oak.
Invasive species could be benefited by climate change and outcompete native regeneration.
Conifers like white pine could be favored under anticipated climate scenarios.

Adaptation Actions

DNR forester Alex Brothen used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project, seneral of which were incorporated into the final timber sale:

5.1. Promote diverse age classes.
Clearcutting the aspen in this small stand will ensure that there is a young age class within the WMA.
There is a large reserve pocket in the center of the sale to provide an older age class of aspen.
Mixed Hardwoods
5.2. Maintain and restore diversity of native species.
9.1. Favor or restore native species that are expected to be adapted to future conditions.
Retain all oak, maple, and birch in the mixed hardwoods stand as a future seed source.
5.3. Retain biological legacies.
Retain all non-hazardous snags for wildlife habitat.
Retain at least 5 sound downed logs greater than 6 inches in diameter.
2.2. Prevent the introduction and establishment of invasive plant species and remove existing invasive species.
Before entering or leaving the permit area, be sure all vehicles, equipment, trailers and personal gear are free of caked mud, dirt clods, plants, plant parts, bark or debris. Using a power washer or air compressor is recommended.

Project Documents

Next Steps

Harvesting will occur on the site within the next couple of years. Following harvest, regeneration surveys will determine whether follow-up planting is necessary to achieve species composition goals.

Learn More

To learn more about this project, contact Stephen or learn more at: http://dnr.state.mn.us/wmas/detail_report.html?id=WMA0065500


Oak, Upland hardwoods, Wildlife habitat

Last Updated

Thursday, December 1, 2016