Effort underway to replant MI Forests

The Department of Natural Resources announced this week that, with support provided by the Arbor Day Foundation, it planted more than 7 million seedlings this spring on state forest land. In all, the DNR reforested about 7,500 acres in April and May. The Arbor Day Foundation supported the planting of 400,000 tree seedlings in both the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.

Many of the seedlings used in the planting efforts came from the DNR-operated Wyman Nursery in Newberry.

“Working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, our members and sponsors will have the chance to support high-need replanting projects that protect wildlife habitat and restore woodland forests for the enjoyment of future generations,” said Brad Brandt, reforestation manager at the Arbor Day Foundation.

The DNR received support for reforestation projects including replanting areas burned last year during the Duck Lake Fire.

The Duck Lake Fire started on May 24, 2012, and over three days consumed 21,069 acres of state, federal and private forest land. Arbor Day Foundation support was used to help initial restoration plantings totaling 1.3 million jack pine seedlings on about 1,400 acres. The 2013 Arbor Day Foundation donation directly supported planting 150,000 seedlings as part of this work. Another 3,000 acres may need to be replanted in the next few years to restore other areas. About 80 percent of the burned area is expected to regenerate naturally from seed cast by surviving trees or from cones that were not consumed by the blaze.

The Arbor Day Foundation also continued support for planting seedlings for Kirtland’s warbler, a federally endangered species. These plantings will also help improve habitat for a variety of wildlife. The warbler’s breeding habitat is almost exclusively confined to young, dense jack pine stands located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Part of the Arbor Day Foundation partnership resulted in planting 150,000 jack pine seedlings on about 560 acres in Montmorency and Crawford counties on the Mackinaw and Au Sable state forests.

With Arbor Day Foundation’s support, the DNR was able to complete the planting of 2.5 million jack pine seedlings this year for Kirtland’s warbler habitat.

“I would like to thank the Arbor Day Foundation for its partnership with us on this important venture that provides essential habitat for the Kirtland’s warbler,” said Keith Fisher, DNR wildlife biologist. “The beauty of this project is that we are not only creating habitat for the endangered Kirtland’s warbler, but for a host of other wildlife species like snowshoe hare and white-tailed deer. Hopefully this terrific partnership can continue long into the future.”

The Arbor Day Foundation also supported ongoing red pine community restoration, helping the DNR plant 100,000 red pine seedlings on about 100 acres.

In addition to the Arbor Day Foundation, the DNR received support from Finkl & Sons Co., a Chicago-based steel company; Treecycler; and contributions to the Michigan State Forest Family donation program.

For more information about state forest planning, visit www.michigan.gov/forestplan.