The MFRC has supported and funded a number of research studies related to guideline effectiveness, effects of forest practices in general, and forest health. These studies and others like them have provided useful information on practices at the site level, but provide little information relevant at broader regional or landscape scales. Effort is underway to initiate studies with inference at larger scales, with focus on water quality, wildlife habitat, and soil.
Impacts to soil, notably compaction and rutting in skid trails and landing areas, has been a focus of numerous studies because it can cause direct reductions in stand productivity and other forest resources such as water. The council has supported a number of studies related to soil disturbance and its effects on vegetation growth which can be viewed here and on the MFRC reports page.
- Berger, A, K.J. Puettman & G. Host. 2004. Harvesting impacts on soil and understory vegetation; the influence of season of harvest and within-site disturbance patterns on clear-cut aspen stands in Minnesota. Can. J. For. Res. 34: 2159-2168
- Zenner, E.K., J.T. Fauskee, A. L. Berger & K.J. Puettman. 2007. Impacts of Skidding Traffic Intensity on Soil Disturbance, Soil Recovery, and Aspen Regeneration in North Central Minnesota. North. J. Appl. For. 24(3): 177 – 183
- Puettman, K.J., A.W. D'Amato, M. Arikian & J.C. Zasada. 2008. Spatial impacts of soil disturbance and residual overstory on density and growth of regenerating aspen. For. Ecol. Manag. 256: 2110-2120
- Slesak, R.A., and T. Kaebisch. 2016. Using LiDAR to assess impacts of forest harvest landings on vegetation height and the potential for recovery over time. Canadian J. Forest Research. 46(6): 869-875.
Riparian areas adjacent and near surface water such as streams and lakes are important components of forest ecosystems given their influence on water quality, aquatic and terrestrial habitat, recreation, and other resources. Because of this importance, Riparian Management Zones (RMZs) have long been a contentious issue with regards to the most appropriate width and residual basal area remaining after harvest. The council has funded and supported a variety of research studies related to all aspects of RMZ’s, and has also conducted several comprehensive reviews on the existing state of knowledge related to riparian function. These studies served as a basis for modification of RMZ recommendations in the most recent guideline revision. Many of the reports can be viewed here and on the MFRC reports page.
- December 1998- Evaluating Riparian Area Dynamics: Management Alternatives and Impacts of Harvest Practices
- January 2001- Wildlife Species: Responses to Forest Harvesting and Management in Riparian Stands and Landscapes
- June 2005 Windfirmness of Residual Riparian Trees Following Upland Clearcutting and Riparian Thinning in Itasca County, Minnesota
- August 2007- Analysis of the Current Science Behind Riparian Issues: Final report of the riparian science technical committee
WOODY BIOMASS HARVESTING
Greater utilization of woody biomass for energy production and other uses (i.e., biomass harvesting) has received increasing interest in recent years, but the ecological effects of increased use are uncertain. Following publication of the first biomass harvesting guidelines in the nation (MFRC 2007), the MFRC funded a large manipulative study at the University of Minnesota to examine the ecological effects of increased biomass utilization in Aspen forests. Ongoing work from this research will be used to guide revision of the biomass guidelines in the future.
- Berger, Alaina L.; Palik, Brian; D'Amato, Anthony W.; Fraver, Shawn; Bradford, John B.; Nislow, Keith; King, David; Brooks, Robert T. 2013. Ecological impacts of energy-wood harvests: lessons from whole-tree harvesting and natural disturbance. Journal of Forestry. 111(2): 139-153.
- Klockow, P.A., D’Amato, A.W., Bradford, J.B., 2013. Impacts of post-harvest slash and live-tree retention on biomass and nutrient stocks in Populus tremuloides Michx.-dominated forests, northern Minnesota, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 291: 278-288.
- Kurth, V.J., J.B. Bradford, R.A. Slesak, and A.W. D’Amato. 2014. Initial soil respiration response to biomass harvesting and green-tree retention in aspen-dominated forests of the Great Lakes region. Forest Ecology and Management 328: 342-352.
- Slesak, R.A. 2013. Soil temperature following logging-debris manipulation and aspen regrowth in Minnesota: implications for sampling depth and alteration of soil processes. Soil Science Society of America Journal 77:1818-1824.
EMERALD ASH BORER IMPACTS ON BLACK ASH WETLANDS
The invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has decimated ash forests in the Lake States region. In Minnesota, black ash wetland forests are seriously threatened by EAB with high potential to have profound effects on a variety of forest resources given its extent in the state. The council is working collaboratively with the University of Minnesota and the USDA Forest Service to evaluate options for management to mitigate the EAB threat with the use of large-scale manipulations that simulate EAB mortality and examine alternative harvest practices and planting strategies.
- Looney, C.E., A.W. D’Amato, B.J. Palik, and R.A. Slesak. 2015. Overstory treatment and planting season affect survival of replacement tree species in emerald ash borer-threatened Fraxinus nigra forests in Minnesota, USA. Canadian Journal forest Research. 45:1728-1738
- Slesak, Robert A.; Lenhart, Christian F.; Brooks, Kenneth N.; D'Amato, Anthony W.; Palik, Brian J. 2014. Water table response to harvesting and simulated emerald ash borer mortality in black ash wetlands in Minnesota, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 44(8): 961-968.
- Telander, A.C., R.A. Slesak, A.W. D'Amato, B.J. Palik, K.N. Brooks, and C.F. Lenhart. 2015. Sap flow of black ash in wetland forests of northern Minnesota, USA: Hydrologic implications of tree mortality due to emerald ash borer. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 206: 4-11.