LaCroix District Oak/Blueberry Habitat Enhancement Projects

OBJECTIVE/PURPOSE OF PROJECT:

The purpose of this project is to improve condition, health and growth of locally rare oak/blueberry habitats on the LaCroix Ranger District of the Superior National Forest. Absence of fire on the landscape has led to the encroachment of other species into these areas which has decreased their value to wildlife. These habitats ocurr in small (1-50 acre) scattered patches but provide valuable habitat for a wide range of wildlife species including small mammals, red squirrel, bear and white-tail deer which in turn provides conditions suitable for predators of those species (wolf, marten, fisher etc.).

This project may also benefit human users of the National Forest by enhancing quality, accessible hunting and blueberry picking opportunities.
 

METHODS OR TECHNIQUES USED:

The project uses hand cutting and/or girdling to remove unwanted species (mainly red maple and aspen) thus allowing oak to once again be the dominate overstory tree. This also opens up the canopy and allows sunlight to reach the forest floor where blueberry is a main component of the herbacious layer.

Subsequent precribed fire in the understory removes slash and invigorates blueberry growth and stimulates oak regeneration.

REALIZED/EXPECTED RESULTS:

The eventual outcome is a healthy multi-age oak stand with abundant blueberry in the understory. This stands would have improved soft and hard mast production thereby enhancing habitat for a variety wildlife species. This will help provide a representation of the full spectrum of habitats and conditions that would have resulted from natural cycles.

CONTACT PERSON AND PHONE #:

Todd Stefanic, Wildlife Biologist, LaCroix Ranger District, Cook, M 218-666-0055. tstefanic@fs.fed.us.

AGREEMENT TYPE(S):

Collection Agreement

PRIMARY PARTNER LIST:

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

PHOTOGRAPHS:

post-burn blueberry response

 

Figure 1: post-burn blueberry response
 

post-burn oak regeneration and blueberry

 

Figure 2: post-burn oak regeneration and blueberry





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/superior/landmanagement/resourcemanagement/?cid=stelprdb5209839