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E-M:/ FW: / Disease forces removal of trees along I-75



 
Folks:  One thing to note about this is that the trees being taken down were red pine plantation trees, planted from all the evidence well before the freeway split the plantation in pieces.  Monocultural, grown as a crop, planted to help reforest areas that had been badly screwed up, but screwing up those areas in a different way.  Red pine is native and important species in Michigan, but it didn't come packaged in rows like corn fields, so the loss of such of stand is not heartbreaking to me.
 
Learn a few things from this area as you drive past: The massive storm that blew through this area a while ago broke the spindly trees like matchsticks -- evidently they had never been thinned, and were planted very closely together to discourage undergrowth, and with the intention of thinning allowing them to grow thicker and be more productive for timber values, but not for biodiversity.  The lack of diversity within these stands make them remarkably vulnerable to insect infestations -- same genes, packed tight as can be -- when one tree has the sniffles the forest has pneumonia in such a situation. 
 
One of the great challenges of plantations like this is that it has been hard to figure out what to do with them -- some of the best ideas have been to try to restore some diversity (age, species, etc) by punching holes in them and allowing other plants to move in.  For others, however, it seems once a red pine plantation, always a red pine plantation -- at some point the "final harvest" comes, removing the trees that remain after a couple of thinnings spaced over the decades.  The final harvest is a clear cut and there are those who then think the only thing to do is plant more red pine plantations.
 
Anne Woiwode
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net]On Behalf Of Kelly Thayer
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2001 2:58 PM
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: E-M:/ Disease forces removal of trees along I-75

July 19, 2001

TO: ENVIRO-MICH
FROM: KELLY THAYER, MICHIGAN LAND USE INSTITUTE


Folks:

Passing along an MDOT press release about trees dying along I-75 in northern Michigan.

-Kelly




For Immediate Release: July 17, 2001

Contact: Ari B. Adler Director of Communications 517-335-3084

E-Mail:  adlera@mdot.state.mi.us
Scott Thayer  Associate Region Engineer 989-731-5090


Disease forces removal of trees along I-75
MDOT laments losing thousands of trees in northern Michigan

An infestation of pine bark beetles is killing red pine trees along I-75 near Gaylord, forcing the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to remove between 3,000 and 6,000 trees.

        "This is very upsetting to have to cut down so many of these trees, but we're told that by doing so we may save thousands more from further infestation," said North Region Engineer Brian Ness. "We also have a safety issue here because when the trees die, they pose a hazard of toppling over onto I-75."

        All of the trees being removed are within MDOT's right of way, but adjacent land owners have been very helpful in dealing with the problem. In addition, Hillman Power Company is cutting and removing the trees for free. The power company is burning the wood chips at its plant.

        "By allowing us access to the trees through their land, our neighbors have prevented the need for shutting down a shoulder or lane on I-75 to do the work. We are very grateful for their cooperation and for the workforce provided by Hillman Power," Ness said.

        The department, which has been working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Forest Management Division, is trying to remove the dead trees without destroying the undergrowth. The small shrubs, berry bushes and young oak and maple trees are expected to mature once the pine tree canopy is removed.

        "We're hoping to see nature take care of this healing process, but we also are investigating plans to plant more trees if needed," said Associate Region Engineer Scott Thayer. "We've recently planted other trees in the area to address storm damage, and we'll watch for other opportunities to help Mother Nature recover from these incidents."




###

For updated information about MDOT and its programs, visit our Web site at www.mdot.state.mi.us.
Superior,North,Bay

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*************************************
Mr. Kelly Thayer
Transportation Project Coordinator
Michigan Land Use Institute
P.O. Box 228
845 Michigan Ave.
Benzonia, MI 49616

Ph: 231-882-4723
Fax: 231-882-7350
E-mail: kelly@mlui.org
Internet:
http://www.mlui.org/