Forests of the Future (Minnesota)
Nature Conservance [Magazine] June/July, 2014, p. 18.
The Nature Conservancy
Arlington, VA
Original Date
This brief note is based on a fact sheet available on The Nature Conservancy Website, titled "Adaptation Forestry in Minnesota’s Northwoods." See separate entry in this bibliography. Charles Forbes wrote the following Letter to the Editor in regard to this article: Re: Forests of the Future, Nature Conservancy, June/July 2014, p. 18. While the beautiful paper birch (commonly thought of as white birch) have been an important part of the North Woods in the lifetimes of those alive today, their abundant presence is not part of the nature landscape, but of two cataclysmic events of the late 19th and early 20 centuries: massive logging followed by extensive fire. If fact there is some evidence that not just open sunny areas, as created by logging, but the heat of fire is necessary for extensive propagation of paper birch. That they are fading from the landscape today is a nature event, as the normal lifetime of these trees is about a century, and most of the paper birch in the North Woods are that old. Yes, they are dying of birch blight, birch borers, and perhaps of drier weather. But most would survive these conditions if they were young, vigorous trees, but they are not. The Forest Service in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has experimented with trying to propagate the paper birch because of its beauty and association with the North Woods by present visitors and residents of the area: with not much success. Efforts to plant seedlings of a variety of species that will thrive in the North Woods with its anticipated climate change are important. But the loss of the paper birch should not be cited as a reason; its loss is a logical result of the events of the last century and a half, unrelated to climate change. Charles Forbes Star Lake, Wisconsin [In the heart of the North Woods]