• Start-up
  • Planning
  • Action
  • Evaluation
Cloquet Forestry Center foresters used the Adaptation Workbook to devise several actions to diversify a 70-90 year-old, 12-acre red pine stand near the northern border of the CFC land base (Stand 57). The prescription devised for CFC staff at an adaptation workshop in 2014 was refined into a final timber sale plan in 2016, and work continues in the stand.

Project Area

The 12-acre red pine stand that was the focus of this adaptation project.
The Cloquet Forestry Center (CFC) in Cloquet, MN, was established in 1909 as an experimental forest designed to provide a well-managed forest serving the diverse research, teaching, and outreach programs of the College and other organizations. CFC manages roughly 2,700 acres of forest land at the Cloquet campus.
This 12-acre stand is typed as Northern Dry-Mesic Red Pine/ White Pine Woodland (FDn33a1), according to the Minnesota DNR Ecological Classification System. Prior to treatment, the overstory was dense and dominated by 70-year-old red pine, with small amounts of jack and white pine, paper birch, red maple, and spruce. Regeneration was very limited, and hazel dominated the understory.

Management Goals

This stand had relatively uniform stand structure, and a mix of tree regeneration and hazel in the understory./

Staff from CFC initiated this project to address current and future challenges to forest management including the effects of climate change.  The primary goals were to: 

  1. reduce competition among the overstory pines,
  2. promote new mixes of native tree species, (red, white, and bur oak, and white pine),
  3. retain large live and dead trees and sensitive plant communities,
  4. decrease woody competition (hazel),
  5. protect against herbivory, and
  6. increase structural diversity (vertical and horizontal).

Climate Change Impacts

CFC foresters considered broad climate change trends that are expected for northern Minnesota and the site conditions on this particular stand. They identified several risks associated with climate change, as well as several opportunities. Some of these included:
The primary species in this stand aren’t expected to have large declines in suitable habitat (red and white pine).
The desired oak species may be suited to future conditions in this stand (red, white, and bur oak).
Drought stress could cause problems with growth and natural regeneration, particularly because of the sandy soils in this stand and the high stocking level.
Extreme heat and high nighttime temperatures may be more stressful for red pine in particular.
Wildfire risk could increase in the future, particularly in this stand because many ladder fuels are present.

Adaptation Actions

After considering the menu of adaptation strategies and approaches from the Adaptation Workbook, CFC staff generated several possible adaptation actions that could be implemented within Stand 57. The foresters opted for a blend of “resistance” and “transition” adaptation actions, because they’re trying to improve the health of existing mature trees and promote development of a new cohort composed of currently present native species and native species on the edge of their northern range. Their ideas were further refined by CFC staff and faculty at the University of Minnesota. The final harvest prescription included the following adaptation ideas: 

Create six half-acre gaps in the stand to promote regeneration.
Locate gaps near reserved white pine to promote natural regeneration of white pine.
Three of the regeneration gaps will have perimeter fencing to exclude deer.
Plant an experimental mix of species in the stand, including white pine, tamarack, jack pine, northern red oak, bur oak, and paper birch.

Project Documents

Next Steps

The timber sale was purchased by Bell Timber, Inc. and was harvested by Berthiaume Logging, Inc. in the winter 2016-2017. Harvesting occurred in the winter of 2016-2017 in this stand, and forest managers took time to observe how the site responded to harvest while developing a follow-up planting plan.
Raspberry, hazel, and blackberry sprouted vigorously in the harvested gaps, and balsam fir was prevalent in the understory of the thinned matrix portion of the stand. CFC staff decided to use a brushmower to reduce this shrub competition prior to planting, and also to cut down the balsam fir. In 2019, CFC staff installed fence posts in the harvested gaps, and polymesh fencing will be installed following planting in 2020.
In the winter of 2019-2020, CFC staff revised the planting plan for the site and ordered seedlings. Planting is expected to occur in 2020. A randomized species mix of six species will be planted at around 400 trees per acre with a target SDI (stand density index) of 175 at 6" DBH. The six species include eastern white pine, jack pine, and tamarack for conifers, and northern red oak, paper birch, and bur oak for deciduous species. Tamarack and bur oak were substituted for ponderosa pine and bitternut hickory because they are already present in local fire-dependent forest types. They will be novel additions to an FDn33 stand, but they will be more conservative than a long-distance migrant species. They were also more readily available from tree nurseries and therefore might present a more useful demonstration for local foresters.


Assisted migration
Upland conifers

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