The Outside World, In and Around Duluth

Boulder Lake and Forestry

In Field Interpretation yesterday, we went out to Boulder Lake to learn about managing our local forests.

John Geissler of BLMA and Matt Radzak of St. Louis County led the ‘tour,’ which consisted of us stopping at a few different timber stands to learn about different aspects of forest management.

One of the things I found interesting was that, after an area is harvested, herbicide is applied to inhibit the sun loving hardwoods (birch and aspen) from crowding out the more profitable conifers (white pine and red pine) in the planted tree farm.

That seems a little strange to me (who knows very little about forestry). You’d think there would be a better way.

I also wasn’t totally clear about the negative impact of Smokey the Bear. I completely understand the importance of fire in maintaining healthy forests, but I don’t see how a campaign to prevent accidental fires caused by campers would have any impact on forest management through proscribed burns. It kind of felt like Smoky was just a popular whipping boy, rightly or not.

From smokeybear.com

From smokeybear.com

We also took tree cores from an old (okay, middle aged) white pine.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mingting/126627954/

From flickr: mingting

Ours was about 83 years old.

Lastly, we talked a bit about careers in forestry management. St. Louis County employs 30 to 40 foresters.

It was an interesting visit. I’d really like to get into a deeper conversation about logging and forestry practices, to find a more nuanced understanding of that oft-maligned industry.

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