Trees of the Northwoods
If you can't see the the forest for the trees, neither can you see the trees for the forest. As one looks out at the forest around Star Lake, it tends to look changeless. However, when I try to observe details, I do see a number of changes:
The trees have gotten taller. I have a clear, if informal, measure of this. In front of North Star Lodge is a stand of about ten virgin white pines. If we sat on my cabin porch from which I cannot see those trees, I would likely tell you that they are much taller than the surrounding second growth forest. But that is no longer true. In fact, the second growth is gradually reaching the same heights. My boyhood memories provide me a clear benchmark. As a boy in my early teens, riding around the lake in my little outboard boat, I could see the tall pines of the lodge from the south bay of the lake--looking over the peninsula. Today you cannot. Not even close. The pines have not shrunk, the surrounding second growth has grown.
Open spaces are filling in. Again, boyhood memory helps. I clearly remember fields where we could often count six to a dozen deer as we took evening drives. I remember other fields where we picked blueberries and raspberries. Many of those fields are now woods. Open spaces, that are not maintained open by human activity, are gradually filling it with woods.
The white birch (technically they are paper birch, but everybody calls them white birch) are disappearing. We have long thought of them as the distinctive tree of the northwoods. Summer and winter the white bark adds beauty and contract to the forest. The trouble is, the birch are a result of the fires which following the massive logging in the region. They are reaching the end of their lifespan, and they are not being replaced by nature. Your grandchildren, if not your children, will not think of white tree trunks as distinctive of the northwoods!
Two things are certain: in forests change is slow (except for loggers and forest fire), but certain. It is very difficult to imagine what the Star Lake woods will be like in the mid to late 21st century.
I make those comments just to introduce the subject of Trees of the Northwoods. The intention of this section is to add a subtopic for each tree group or species--as there is something to say about that species. Anyone who would like to contribute information about any tree species local to Vilas County, is welcome to do so. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.Charles P. ForbesFebruary 20, 2010
Comprehensive ReferencesManiwiigwaase--Gather Birch Bark, Mazina'igan, Fall, 2002, Supplement, Tribal Gathering Sites, p. 1., Odanah, 2002. View Full EntryBarnett, Maud, Compiler, Wisconsin Arbor Day Annual, 1907, Madison, 1907. View Full EntryBerlin, Jeremy, Flighty Oaks, National Geographic Magazine, Vol. 216, #5, Nov. 2009, Environment Section, Washington, 2009. View Full EntryCurtin, Carlton, Guide to the Trees, Garden City, NY, 1937. View Full EntryDaniel and Sullivan, North Woods of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Southern Ontario, A Sierra Club Naturalist's Guide, San Francisco, 1981. View Full EntryDavis, Mary, Eastern Old-Growth Forests, Washington, 1996. View Full EntryFrelich and Lorimer, Natural Disturbance Regimes in Hemlock-Hardwood Forest of the Upper Great Lakes Region, Ecological Monographs, Vol. 61, #2, Jun. 1991, pp. 145-64., Washington, 1991. View Full EntryGraham, Samuel, et al., Aspens Phoenix Trees of the Great Lakes Region, Ann Arbor, 1963. View Full EntryGysel, Leslie, Ecology of a Red Pine Plantation in Michigan, Ecology, Vol. 47, #3, Late Spring, 1966, pp. 465-72., Ithaca, NY, . View Full EntryHarrison, R. P., Aspen Management, Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin, 20:2, Feb. 1955, pp. 18-22., Madison, 1955. View Full EntryHeinselman, M. L., Extent of Natural Conversion to Other Species in Lake States Aspen-Birch Type, Journal of Forestry, Vol. 52, #1, October 1954, pp. 737-8., Bethesda, MD, 1954. View Full EntryHollish, Karen, Taking Science to Tradition, Mazina'igan, Winter, 2008, p. 10 ff., Odanah, 2008. View Full EntryHutchens, Alma, Indian Herbalogy of North America, Windsor, Ontario, 1973. View Full EntryLillard, Richard, Great Forest, New York, 1947. View Full EntryMiles and Fuller, Minnesota's Forest Trees, Extension Bulletin 363-1971, St. Paul, 1971. View Full EntryNorthland College, On Campus: Back to Nature, Horizons, Winter 2000, pp. 3-4., Ashland, 2000. View Full EntryRice, O. S., Compiler, Wisconsin Arbor and Bird Day Annual 1909, Madison, 1909. View Full EntrySaltman, David, Paper Basics, New York, . View Full EntryThomas, Matthew, Great Lakes Native American Maple Sugar Production, The Wisconsin Archeologist, 82:1&2, Jan-Dec 2001, pp.139-165., Milwaukee, 2001. View Full EntryWiener, Rob, Ed., Pines of Wisconsin, Northbound, Vol. 26, #4, Winter 2007., Eagle River, 2007. View Full EntryWisconsin, Natural Resources, Deppartment of, Foresty Division, Wisconsin Urban & Community Forests, Quarterly Newsletter, Madison, 2010. View Full EntryWisconsin, Natural Resources, Dept. of, Tree Planting in Wisconsin, PUB. 1-2400(74), Madison, 1974. View Full EntryZim and Martin`, Trees, A Golden Nature Books, New York, 1952. View Full Entry
Major ReferencesCarpenter, Anita, Coneucopia, Wisconsin Natural Resources, Vol. 31, #6, Dec. 2007, p. 2 ff., Madison, 2007. View Full EntryCarpenter, Anita, Standing Out from the Crowd, White Birch, Wisconsin Natural Resources, 27:6, December 2003, pp. 2 & 29., Madison, 2003. View Full EntryCurtis, John, Vegetation of Wisconsin, 1971 Printing, Madison, Milwaukee, London, 1971. View Full EntryEvrard and Spoerl, Versatile Aspen, Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin, 38:5, Sept-Oct 1973, pp. 11-14., Madison, 1973. View Full EntryGrimm, William, Comprehensive Field Guide to More than 250 Trees of Eastern North America, Harrisburg, PA, 1983. View Full EntryKeeler, Harriet, Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them, New York, 1931. View Full EntryKnudsen, George, Eastern Hemlock, Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin, 37:4, July-Aug 1972, p. 31., Madison, 1972. View Full EntryLittle, Charles, Dying of the Trees, New York, 1995. View Full EntryLittle and Honkala, Trees and Shrubs of the United States, A Bibliography for Identification, USDA Forest Service, Misc. Pub. No. 1336, Washington, 1976. View Full EntryOgburn, Charlton, Birch Trees Are the Graces of Our Wild Forests, Smithsonian, V.5 #9 Dec 1977 p.72, Washington, 1977. View Full EntryPanshin and de Zeeuw, Textbook of Wood Technology, McGraw-Hill Series in Forest Resources, New York, 1980. View Full EntrySass, et al., Not Neat, A Case for Leaving Trees in the Water, Lake Tides, Vol. 29, #3, Summer 2004, pp. 3-5., . View Full EntryWilliams, Linda, Oak Wilt Identified near Sayner, DNR Website, Posted June 28, 2017, Madison, 2017. View Full EntryWilson, Fred G., Forest Trees of Wisconsin, 1972 (Pub. 507-72, DO818);1977 (Pub. 2-2400(77); 1990 (PUBL-FR-053 90REV); 2006 (PUB-FR-053 2006) editions, Madison, 2006. View Full EntryWisconsin, Natural Resources, Dept. of, Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area Auto Tour, PUBL-PM-016 12/95, Mercer, WI, 1995. View Full Entry
Minor ReferencesDentice, Dana, Tree City USA Communities, 2011, Wisconsin Urban and Community Forests, Vol. 20, #1, Spring/Summer 2012, Madison, 2012. View Full Entry
- Flighty Oaks
- Forest Trees of Wisconsin: How to Know Them
- Guide to the Trees, A
- Oak Wilt Identified near Sayner in Plum Lake Township, Vilas County
- Standing Out from the Crowd, White Birch grabs your attention in all seasons
- Textbook of Wood Technology: Structure, Identification, Properties and Uses of the Commercial Woods of the United States and Canada
- Tree City USA Communities, 2011
- Trees: A Guide to Familiar American Trees
- Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area Auto Tour
- Wisconsin Urban & Community Forests, Quarterly Newsletter