Liberty Tract White Pine Trail Markers Info
MANAGEMENT OF EASTERN WHITE PINE (Pinus strobus)
Eastern white pine is the most common conifer species in the northeast US. It is an important source of wood products, wildlife habitat, clean air, and clean water.
Historically, it was prized by the Royal Navy during colonial times for sailing masts, and restrictions on cutting the “King’s trees” over 24 inches in diameter contributed to the colonist’s anger of British rule.
Forest management practices that increase timber quantity and value while encouraging a new crop of the species are demonstrated in the plots along the trail system. Walk the trail, shown on the map in the center panel and marked with painted blazes, to view these practices. Signs with more information are posted at three stops along the trail.
Harvested in 2010 by Thompson Native Lumber Co., laid out by RI DFE Principal Forester Bruce Payton.
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SINGLE-TREE SELECTION HARVEST
The purpose of conducting this harvest is to achieve several goals.
- Reduction of the “stocking level” provides growing space for the better quality residual trees, known as “crop trees” and “Acceptable Growing Stock”.
- Harvested trees are sold for lumber and wood chips to help support the local economy.
- Increased sunlight provides energy for pine regeneration, food-bearing shrubs, and other plants, including some broadleaf trees like oak, birch, and maple. Increased plant diversity creates a healthier forest as a new generation of trees develops.
- Deposition of woody debris from the logging (slash) is an important wildlife and forest soil enhancement. Their decay over time will enrich the soil and feed insects and fungi. Larger pieces of debris will provide cover for amphibians that breed in the adjacent wetland area.
- Clumps of tree branches lying on the ground also provides protection from hungry wildlife for some of the new seedlings that are trying to get established. Can you identify newly-established plants in the understory??
GROUP SELECTION HARVEST
This harvest method utilizes small patch cuts as well as single-tree selection to create a diversity of crown and understory conditions.
The increased sunlight in the small clearings will encourage development of small groupings of brushy growth for wildlife habitat (coverts), and increases habitat diversity in the stand.
New patches can be cut every 10 to 15 years to develop, over time, an uneven-aged stand of trees with improved wildlife habitat conditions, along with a steady stream of timber harvest revenue.
Can you see signs of wildlife use within the patch cuts??
Natural development of white pine stands can lead to over-stocked conditions and dominance of poor-quality stems over better-quality timber trees.
Note the number of multiple-topped or crooked-topped trees that were caused by pine weevils or by wet snow and ice. Large dead limbs create knots in lumber that lowers timber value.
Note the shaded conditions in the understory that could limit food-bearing shrubs and stifle regeneration.
Which trees would you select for harvest to thin out this portion of our pine forest? Or, would you thin it at all?
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