6: Managing Important Forest Types

Activities: Managing Important Forest Types

How these activities help you as a woodland owner:

This chapter describes many of the forest types that occur throughout the Lake States and how to manage them. A forest type is an aggregation of tree species that naturally occur together.  Descriptions for each forest type include common tree species in that type, geographic range where it occurs, products and uses, site conditions where it grows best or worst, regeneration strategies, intermediate stand treatments, pests and diseases.

Step 1: Determine Principle Tree Species

For each stand in your woodland, determine the principal tree species that comprise the overstory. Refer to your woodland inventory (see Chapter 2), consult your management plan, and/or discuss with your forester to determine your woodland’s primary tree species.

Step 2: Determine Forest Type

For each stand, match the principal tree species from your inventory to the forest type descriptions in the manual to determine which forest type most closely matches each stand.

The first paragraph in each forest type description lists the species that comprise that forest type and the range map shows the geographic area where the most common species typically grows. Because species composition varies so much across the Lake States, you may not find an exact match, but one of the forest type descriptions should be close to the composition of your stand.

Step 3: Review the Description for Each Relevant Forest Type

Read the complete description of each forest type on your woodland, including its Products and Uses, Regeneration, Intermediate Treatments, and Pests and Diseases.

  • Products and Uses
    The Products and Uses section will help you assess the potential of each stand and its species to produce products or uses appropriate for your objectives. Your objectives for each stand may vary depending on each stand’s potential.
  • Regeneration
    The Regeneration section is appropriate if:

    • your stand is mature and ready to regenerate or
    • it is stocked with mostly undesirable quality trees or undesirable species or
    • the site quality is poor for the existing forest type, but converting to a different forest type might improve productivity.
  • Intermediate Treatments
    The Intermediate Treatments section is appropriate if your stand is well-established, but:

    • a seedling/sapling stand faces strong competition from weeds, or
    • a pole-sized stand would benefit from culling, weeding, or thinning, or
    • a sawtimber stand would benefit from crop tree release, such as commercial thinning, weeding, or culling.
  • The Pests and Diseases
    The Pests and Diseases section is always appropriate when you notice a pattern of damage on more than a few trees. Inspect your woodland at the beginning and end of each growing season and whenever a fire, windstorm, ice storm, flooding, prolonged drought, or other such event may have caused damage. See Chapter 7 for help in sizing up the potential damage from different types of pests and diseases.

Step 4: Develop Stand Management Recommendations with Your Forester

Information in Chapter 6 will help you understand the options, but you really should work with a forester or other natural resource professionals to develop management recommendations for each stand, especially since the choices you make may affect the species composition and growth of your woodland for decades and possibly a century.


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Woodland Stewardship: A Practical Guide for Midwestern Landowners, 3rd Edition Copyright © 2019 by University of Minnesota Extension is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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