Ivar the Timber Dog and I made a final inspection of the completed harvest south of Bluebill Pond. This was a combination harvest. On the higher ground point, we harvested quite a few large White Spruce and a few big Red Pine. We left the mature White Pine and a few mature Red Pine as legacy trees and to provide the partial overstory which creates ideal conditions for new White Pine regeneration. We will be supplementing the natural regeneration we will get with some scattered planted trees in May 2018. The planting will be 75% White Pine and 25% mix of Red Pine and White Spruce. In the adjacent lowland hardwood area, we did a significant thinning of the 40 & 80 year old timber. We left most of the older trees to keep getting bigger and to continue to give us some age class diversity. We thinned the 40 year old pole timber to create optimal spacing, species diversity, and future quality. We took out most of the large Black Ash as a precaution due to the immanent arrival of the Emerald Ash borer. We can't risk losing the economic value that we have in these trees today, knowing that we won't be back harvesting in this stand of timber for at least 20 years, and EAB could certainly make the jump from Duluth or Thunder Bay to Itasca County sooner than that (hopefully not).
You'll see from the video that we left components of the forest that retain biological diversity and ecological value. Namely, we left coarse woody debris on the ground, dead standing snags, and we left the biggest and healthiest trees as legacy trees. The Pine that I call out as a legacy tree is roughly 150 years old, and my future plan for this stand calls for retaining it indefinitely. It is big and it is growing vigorously, which means that it should stay healthy for a long time and will continue to absorb and sequester climate changing carbon.
Ivar and I then checked on the planer mill at Rajala Mill Company in Bigfork, where we were planing the very type of Pine lumber that comes from trees like the one that we left. I was more than satisfied. After 40 years of watching and handling lumber like this, I am still thrilled at the beauty of the product and the quality work of our team. This lumber is headed to another northern Minnesota multigenerational family business (one of our oldest and best customers) to be turned into the world's best windows.
I hope you enjoy this as much as Ivar and I did.