Crow Wing County Land Services Supervisor Kirk Titus announced tree planting is under way on several sites located throughout the county.
The county’s tree planting program for 2012 will total nearly 70,000 pine and spruce seedlings. The planting sites are located on about 124 acres in Mission, Timothy and Ideal townships and the city of Crosslake.
“We rely heavily on the natural regeneration for many of our hardwood species like aspen, birch and oak, but we do plant the conifers to maintain and increase species diversity on the county managed public lands,” said Bryan Pike, county natural resource manager said in a news release.
The jack pine seedlings planted this spring came from seed gathered at the county’s second generation jack pine seed orchard. The seed orchard is a joint venture with the Minnesota Tree Improvement Cooperative. Crow Wing County has been a member of the cooperative since the early 1980s.
The purpose of the cooperative is to increase the quality of jack pine by making improvements to growth, form, branching and disease resistance. As a result of the work between the county and the Minnesota Tree Improvement Cooperative, the county has the best possible jack pine seed source available for future forest regeneration projects.
“Growing these trees is a long term commitment,” Pike said. “These sites will be closely monitored for growth and survival over the next five years. We will follow up with protection measures to minimize the effects of deer browse on these trees.”
More than 3.6 million seedlings have been planted on county tax-forfeited timber lands in the last 30 years. Funding for this spring’s tree planting comes from a state of Minnesota Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council grant and from the sale of timber stumpage and platted tax forfeited parcels.
“Trees are a renewable resource and the spring’s tree planting is the start of a new generation of trees for our county,” Titus said. “Over the next rotation of 50-100 years, these trees will provide habitat for wildlife, recreation opportunities for county residents and forest products for local loggers, paper mills and saw mills.”
The county manages 103,000 acres of forest land for timber production and diverse recreational opportunities for multiple users. The sale of timber at public auctions during the year funds the county’s management of these lands, while providing revenues to local communities. County forest lands are managed to strict environmental standards established by both the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council certification standards.