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State of the Forest… A changing resourcea paradigm shift in resource management! Alan R. Ek Professor and Head Department of Forest Resources University.

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Presentation on theme: "State of the Forest… A changing resourcea paradigm shift in resource management! Alan R. Ek Professor and Head Department of Forest Resources University."— Presentation transcript:

1 State of the Forest… A changing resourcea paradigm shift in resource management! Alan R. Ek Professor and Head Department of Forest Resources University of Minnesota ;

2 2 Abstract Changes in society and the condition of our forest resources suggest needs and opportunities for increasing the level of management. The focus of management will change from treatment of acres to outputs. This focus has evolved from issues of fiscal accountability, responsibility for providing a healthy and productive forest, and ecological and economic needs and opportunities. New approaches and tools in silviculture, forest planning, and communications can facilitate rapid innovation as the new paradigm focused on outputs is implemented. The new paradigm will change planning, communications and on-the-ground priorities.

3 3 Following the signs The changing forest Evolution of tools and practices Need and opportunities Paradigm shift and strategies Summary

4 4 The changing forest

5 Exploitation of the pinery The wall of new wood Industry expansion; environmental issues New capacity and the GEIS Harvest peaks at 4.1 million cords in Regrouping in a globalizing economy Harvest levels stuck at 3.6 million cords Investment, productivity and forest health slowing Reassessment / Governors Task Force Reports New investment and harvest target: 5.5 million cords!

6 6 The chicken or the egg? Which comes first? Investments in manufacturing and expanding markets Increasing the supply Solution (given a complex ownership) Investments to increase the supply Articulate timber availability for achieving the target.

7 7 Area, action and Interests? MN Timberland – 15 million acres Harvest & Regen – 1.2% of timberland per yr Private - 46% Family forests - 41% (150,000+ ownerships) Private Industry - 5% State - 25% County - 15% Federal - 14%

8 8 The Changing Forest All types Timberland Acres Age class ,403,7003,673,0003,589, ,665,4005,175,1004,934, ,663,9004,390,9004,856, ,9001,105,5001,177, ,800425,901430,079 Changing age class structure…what does it mean?

9 9 The Changing Forest Changing age class structure…what does it mean? The forest is aging Health issues are increasing For a 5.5 Million cord target… Increase acres in younger or replacement age classes Harvest older age classes faster Intensify management of younger stands to increase their yield (e.g., weed control, thinning, shorter rotation ages)

10 10 The Changing Forest Aspen Timberland Acres Age class ,672,9001,756,4001,989, ,081,5002,181,7001,813, ,0001,196,800999, ,50053,10041, ,6006,037 Changing age class structure…what about aspen?

11 11 The Changing Forest Changing age class structure…what does it mean for aspen? The forest is aging Health issues are increasing Older stands falling down or converting Partial harvests lead to less aspen acreage For a 5.5 Million cord target… Increase acres in younger or replacement age classes Harvest older age classes faster Shorten rotation ages

12 12 The Changing Forest What about softwood type age class distributions? Red pine: Increase acreage in younger or replacement age classes; intensify management. Balsam fir: Rapid decline in acreage due to Spruce budworm, partial harvest; revisit practices. White pine: Increase acreage in younger age classes; intensify followup. Black spruce: Aging, speed harvesting to increase acreage of young or replacement age classes

13 13 The Changing Forest What about hardwood type age class distributions? Northern hardwoods: A complex type, expanding acreage; intensify management,foster conversion to other types. Paper birch: Increase acreage in younger or replacement age classes, increase harvest rate. Oak: Increase acreage in younger or replacement age classes, increase harvest rate.

14 14 Changing Practices Practices reported from 1996 survey Species/site matching Genetic improvement / improved seed Containerized seedlings Site preparation Weed control & release Commercial thinning Pruning Harvest methods…clearcut, shelterwood, selection, group selection, seed tree, combinations Salvage and slash disposal

15 15 Changing Practices Treatment Opportunity class from 2005 FIA survey

16 16 Changes in productivity… Growing stock*… Volume per acre Growth per acre annual mortality annual harvest * approximate, from USDA Forest Service FIA reports. YearFt 3 ac -1 Ft 3 ac -1 yr

17 17 Additional silvicultural tools for a focus on outputs Improved species/site matching (ECS) Site preparation & weed control options Thinning early, light and often Fertilization Increased utilization Combinations of treatments …the greatest gains!

18 18 Can we achieve the target? What will it take? 1. Shorter rotations. 2. Increased utilization 3. Managed stand yield tables. 4. Intensification of silviculture / combinations of practices 5. Forest scheduling models (FSMs) for determining optimal harvest schedules and plans [If 1-4 and increased harvest dont show up in the plans, there has been no real progress!] 6. Communication of the opportunities to landowners, forest managers, and decision makers / investors.

19 19 Can we achieve the target? Recent and potential allowable harvest calculations…

20 20 Practices… 1996 survey details Regen - 37,760 ac Planting, seeding Site prep - 27,900 ac Chemical, Px burning, mechanical TSI - 30,214 ac Chemical release Mechanical release Precommercial thinning Residual felling Pruning Underburning

21 21 Practices…from 1996 survey Application area 150, ,000 acres annually (area subject to harvesting and/or other treatment) Clear-cutting 85% [with and without residuals] Thinning 11% Patch, strip, seed tree, shelterwood, other 4% acres per sale or block 20 cords per acre harvested 83% natural regen 17% artificial regen Photo by Brian Lockhart, USDA FS, Bugwood.org.

22 22 Can we achieve the target? What are the givens? (social license) Monitoring silvicultural & harvesting practices. Monitoring mgmt guidelines implementation. Assessment of guidelines effectiveness. Continued / enhanced forest inventory (CSA & FIA). Monitoring and synthesis of related outputs.

23 23 The need and opportunities Global competition in forest products industry The evolving bioenergy industry Forest health management Local to global environmental change (I&D, exotic species, windstorms, fire…) Diversifying forest ownership interests Multiple roles/uses of forests

24 24 Roles of forests…intensifying! Multiple roles/uses of forests is a reality and a necessity! Timber, water, wildlife, recreation, aesthetics, biofuels, carbon sequestration… Multiple ownerships and diverse authorities across landscapes Can we get everyone on the same page?

25 25 Paradigm shift and strategies One-the-ground management… Focus on outputs rather than acres treated. Focus first on the low hanging fruit, e.g., Stands that are low risk, high returns. Treatments and combinations of treatments that have low risk, potentially high returns. Focus on tracking and follow up to ensure effective treatments and desired results. Create demonstration sites for research, communications and training.

26 26 Paradigm shift and strategies Planning… Implement Forest Scheduling Models (FSMs) for large and complex forest ownerships. Leave preconceptions at the door (Group Grope not allowed). Bring general ideas for constraints to the planning process; allow the FSM to help decide on the specific constraints. Consider year planning horizons. Track and compare plans and results. Use planning results to make the case for investment.

27 27 Paradigm shift research strategies Research 1. Utilize Monitoring and Forest Scheduling Models (FSMs) to assist / guide research direction. 2. Utilize expert synthesis and 90% solutions (e.g., managed stand yield tables). 3. Use demonstration sites to further improve research results. 4. Use shortcomings from 1-3 to make the case for larger research investments.

28 28 Summary The forest is changing. Continuation of current outputs will require increased management! Increasing the supply will require an even greater increase in level of management!! Given the needs and opportunities, the paradigm for management will need to shift from a focus on acres treated to a focus on outputs!!!

29 29 A big step…any questions?

30 30 References Governors Task Force on the Competitive of Minnesotas Primary Forest Products Industry Final Report to the Governor. St. Paul, MN. Interagency Information Cooperative. Jaakko Pöyry Consulting, Inc Maintaining productivity and the forest resource base. A technical paper for a generic environmental impact statement on timber harvesting and forest management in Minnesota. Prepared for the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board Miles, P. D., G. R. Brand, and M. E. Mielke Minnesotas Forest Resources USDA Forest Service North Central Research Station, Resource Bulletin NC-262. St. Paul, MN. Puettmann, K. J. and A. R. Ek Status and trends of silvicultural practices in Minnesota. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 16(4): USDA Forest Service. FIA Mapmaker.


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