Field Crop Webinar Series - Woodlot Management

March 16, 2020

This talk will cover the basics of woodlot management to meet a variety of goals, including the production of non-timber forest products.

Video Transcript

- And an outline of today's topics is first we're gonna cover some traditional forest management, and it's true that commercial forest management usually happens on woodlots or forests over 20 acres in size, and that just has to do with the profit, the cost of bringing in commercial size logging machines to a property and then kind of justifying that cost of moving the machinery to a property. However I'm hoping that some of the techniques and some of the background information on those traditional forest management processes can also apply to smaller woodlots, I'm thinking less than 20 acres here tonight, and that could certainly be done, especially if you hired maybe a smaller logger, a person with a chainsaw, or plan to do some of the work yourself. After traditional forest management we'll move into crop tree management and then some agroforestry options that you might consider for your woodlot. One of the basic principles that drives forest management is forest succession, and forest succession is just the gradual replacement of one type of ecological community by another in the same area. So basically one type of vegetation succeeds another over time on the same piece of land. So if we let a field go fallow, we don't do anything to it, usually within about the first five years we'll get some plants and maybe some shrubs that will grow into that field. Eventually there'll be some trees that will sprout out. More trees will come in. Trees will eventually start to regenerate or new trees will grow from underneath that forest canopy. We'll get into a mature forest that will then kinda sustain itself with new trees growing underneath it. As we move through those different stages of succession, we can see that there's different wildlife species that use all of the different stages of succession. This graphic depicts just a handful of the species of wildlife that will use the different stages of succession. Anything from non-game wildlife like songbirds to game wildlife like grouse, deer, bear, cottontails, those types of things. Again, this is just a small sampling of what could be used in the woodlot. We're really looking at the change in vertical as well as horizontal structure of the forest. Vertical structure starts at the ground and goes from shrubs, small trees into the mature trees, and then horizontal structure would be the spacing between trees, either shrubs that are kind of between the mature trees, other places for animals to hide under, habitat to use as wintering ground and/or trees to land on. And I did wanna add that the American Bird Conservancy is working on Forestry for Michigan Birds, and that's gonna outline how habitat can be created using forest management. They're some of our migratory songbirds that nest in Michigan. That's a piece that's gonna be worked on for the next couple of years and should be out in about three years for publication. Succession follows a disturbance. So again, if we had a field that we were using for agriculture and then allowed it to go fallow, that disturbance would've been the agriculture that occurred on that land. Other types of more natural disturbance include drought or insect epidemic where maybe a portion of the trees died, wildfires, straight-line winds, we've seen those around here that can create disturbances that are about one to five acres in size, and anytime those things happen succession follows to replace the forest that was once growing there, but forest management or logging is also a disturbance, but it's more of a planned disturbance and the outcomes are somewhat predictable, and forest management activities are specifically chosen to regenerate a desired species of tree, and I'll explain how that's done in the next couple of slides. Forest succession is also partially driven by tree tolerance to shade. There are some trees that will grow well in shady conditions. On the right hand side you'll see that list of shade tolerant species like sugar maple, beech, basswood, cedar, et cetera. Those trees will readily sprout and grow underneath a full canopy of trees, or when I say canopy I mean the branches and the leaves that create the top of the forest, that actually provide the shade for the rest of the vegetation growing underneath the tops of those trees, that's the tree canopy. Some tree species are intermediate to shade tolerance and so they can grow well with some shade or they could grow well in full sun. Usually they need a little bit of both to do well, and those are oaks and white pine. Shade intolerant species require full sun. Species like jack pine, red pine, and especially aspen require full sun to regenerate. Why is that important? Because forest management activities are chosen to regenerate the species of tree that we like to see on the property, and so if we'd like to regenerate aspen in a forest and we have some mature aspen already growing there, if we clear-cut that forest the aspen will regenerate and will actually regenerate at about 1,500 to 2,000 stems per acre, and that's because when exposed to full sun, the roots of the aspen tree will actually grow sprouts. So there are actually little tiny trees waiting to grow on the roots of those trees. They're just waiting for that sunlight to hit the roots, and when it does aspen will clonal regenerate, which means it sends up clones from the roots. When we clear-cut we also, clearcutting is also a way to regenerate white pine, jack pine, or red pine. Red pine and jack pine are usually planted after a clear-cut but require those full sun conditions, and then spruce is the same way, they would be planted but require those full sun conditions to grow. Oak can be regenerated either from clearcutting or from a shelter wood or a seed tree management. Shelterwood and seed tree refer to leaving a few trees to provide shelter for the trees that are gonna grow up in the next generation of crops, and/or seed tree refers to leaving a couple of trees that might provide some seed to provide the regeneration of the next trees, and oaks are a little bit different in that in the Northern Lower Peninsula in our sandy soils oaks are hard to regenerate from seed from acorns or from planting, and so when we're trying to regenerate oaks we usually do a clear-cut or a shelterwood or seed tree, so we're moving most of the trees from the property, and then allowing those oaks to sprout from the stump, and that just means that the oak stump uses the nutrients that are left in the roots to grow new oak trees directly from that stump. Usually they start out in a bushy configuration and then narrow down, self-select, to be about two to three mature trees that will grow from that stump. So if you've ever seen two or three oak trees kind of growing in a circle, it looks like they have the same base, they were likely stump sprouted about 100 years ago. Shelterwood or seed tree management is also used for white pine, spruce fur, and some northern hardwood species. Another type of forest management is single tree selection, and that involves removing one tree, usually of a high quality hardwood, and then that gap that's left allows some sunlight to reach the forest floor to stimulate maybe the suppressed trees that were growing underneath that forest canopy that just need a little bit of light to take off and grow. Another type of forest management is timber stand improvement, excuse me, and that just involves removing some of the lower quality species of trees, maybe trees that won't grow into timber, or some other vegetation that might be inhibiting or competing with the timber species that we'd like to see growing on that area. Timber stand improvement is not something that would make any money from a timber harvest, even a small one. It's usually something that's done in advance of a timber harvest to prepare the site and the remaining trees to grow into timber. Finally we have gap or group creation, group or gap creation, and we usually use that, that forest management regime in hardwoods, and so if we have a mature maple stand, maple again is shade tolerant, those maples trees can, will create a full forest canopy with shade underneath. There are new maple trees or beech trees that are growing underneath it, but those trees won't grow much bigger unless they're exposed to some sunlight, and so if we create a gap in the forest of about one to five acres, that gap allows enough sunlight to reach the forest floor to not only stimulate the growth of the smaller trees that may already be there, but also maybe create some species diversity by allowing more sunlight to reach the forest floor, to foster the growth of maybe some more intermediate tolerant trees. There's a graphic that just kinda describes the different types of timber management or forest management that I just talked about. So as you can see with clearcutting, all those trees are removed creating that full sun situation for the next crop of trees to grow. With seed tree we leave a few trees behind that can drop seeds. Shelterwood leaves a few trees behind that can then shelter, maybe provide a little bit of shade for that next generation of trees. With group selection you can see that the result is an uneven aged forest, and that's very beneficial to wildlife because again you can see the diversity of vertical as well as horizontal structure that is in that remaining forest. Single tree selection does the same thing just on a little bit of a smaller scale, and so these are all different types of management that you could use to regenerate your desired species of tree for your small woodlot. The income opportunities from a timber harvest include the harvest itself, and that depends on the species and size of the trees that are harvested. It also very much depends on the market availability and/or demand for the species and size of the trees that you harvested. It's best to work with a forester or a forestry professional to know exactly what the market is in your area prior to planning any forest management activities. Sometimes it's best to let things wait on the stump for a few years for a market to rebound or become more available if the market is flooded. Other income opportunities include decorative poles. If you do have aspen regenerating at 1,500 poles per acre or trees per acre you might consider removing some of those and selling those at a market, especially around the holidays. People in more urban areas might pay five to $10 for each of those poles just for decoration. With gap creation, frequently we get again succession repeating itself, and we start off with some of those shrubby raspberry or berry bushes, and that creates an opportunity to not only harvest the berries but also possibly create some products from the berries like jam or things like that that could be sold at farmer's markets. Gap creation also allows enough sunlight to reach the forest floor to grow ramps or violets or wild edible plants that, given the right market, a high end restaurant, you might be able to make some money harvesting and selling to the restaurant. Firewood is always a possible income maker. Tops are usually left behind after a timber harvest, or some of the smaller trees could be used for firewood. Your game wildlife could be increased with timber harvests. If the tops are left on the ground and the branches still have leaves on them, deer will actually come in almost while people are working to actually eat the leaves off of those branches that are on the ground. The increase in sunlight will increase more ground vegetation. So there'll be more vegetation for not only deer but also grouse, turkey, and other game wildlife. The last two options are agroforestry and silvopasturing, and those are definitely income opportunities that we're gonna take a deeper dive into later into this presentation. For the next part of the presentation I'd like to talk a little bit about crop tree management, and this part of the presentation is based directly on the USDA "Crop Tree Field Guide," and it's a field guide that's available in a PDF form at the link that's here, and this presentation will be uploaded and available to everybody watching. So you'll have access to these links to check it out later. PDFs are definitely available for download. If you can find a name on the website, you might be able to email and ask for a hard copy. Occasionally those are available if money was available for printing. With crop tree management it's about choosing a tree that you wanna be sure that you can foster the growth of into the future for whatever your goals are. It's really about reducing the competition, and so you can see in the picture here that there are two large trees, and if you look at their canopy or the tops of the trees where the leaves and the branches are, there canopies are very limited. In fact one, the canopy of the tree on the right seems to be growing in the direction of the right and doesn't really have much area to expand, and so with crop tree management we would remove some of the trees around those canopies, those upper canopies, in order to provide them more space, light to expand that canopy. Reducing the competition also increases the amount of nutrients, carbon dioxide, and oxygen available for those crop trees, the trees we wanna keep, above and below ground, and help stimulate their growth in the long-term. With crop tree management we first identify goals, and the field guide identifies four different goals and has criteria for four different goals of crop trees. One is timber production, and that's exactly what it means. It just means that you would choose trees that have the potential to grow into high quality timber. With wildlife habitat you would choose trees that would produce nuts or food, or the right structure for game or non-game habitat. You can also choose crop trees for recreation and for enhanced view or aesthetics, and we'll talk a little bit more about that in a couple of slides. The next thing to do is to develop a crop tree criteria, and so site quality is important. All soils determine what type of trees that are gonna grow well on a forested site, and so it's best to know the soils that are on your property and what trees would be best suited to meet your goals for a crop tree. This is usually, the guide recommends this to be done on 100 acres or less. I think it's really well-suited for 20 acres or less, especially if somebody has the ability to go out and do the work themselves, and this could be done on pre or non-commercial stands. It could be done before you're ready for a commercial harvest, or not for a commercial harvest at all, and that would be for those recreation or enhanced-view goals. The next thing to do would be to inventory the stand, lay out the proposed treatment, and then decide how many crop trees to release per acre, and usually that would be around 50 to 60 crop trees per acre in order to allow them enough space to grow into large trees. 80 would probably be the max, and then you would decide which trees to cut to release the crop trees, and as we're looking up in the picture below, we're looking up at the canopy, you can see that that larger tree has had its canopy released, and so there's space around the top of that canopy for it to expand, for additional branches to grow, and that'll stimulate the growth of the tree. And this really gets to the meat of it. And so with crop tree management we talk about releasing that single tree on one, two, three, or four sides, and so if we release it on one side you can see that the green trees, the green blobs depicted in this graphic are actually the crop trees, and then the gray blobs are competing trees, and so you can see what it would look like if we released it on one side we would remove the two trees. If we remove that, if we release that crop tree on all four sides, we would remove all six competing trees, allowing that canopy additional space to grow extra branches. Each branch would grow extra leaves that increases the photosynthetic capability of the tree, which means it's going to produce more sugars and grow larger in the long-term. It's just gonna have more nutrients and space, everything available to it to grow faster in the long-term. This is what crop tree management looks like on the ground. So the tree with the green ribbon on it is the crop tree, and the trees with red or orange ribbons are the trees that are going to be removed, and you can see that this is done pretty early on in a forest succession. So the forest is probably only about 20 or 30 years old at this point. It can be done at any stage in the forest, but this is just this example. When you start early the trees that are going to be removed, the competing trees that are gonna be removed, are generally pretty small and can be handled by anybody who has good knowledge of using a chainsaw safely, and so this is something that somebody could certainly do. Another example of a crop tree would be for sugar maple. If you're going to try and grow your sugar maple trees into larger trees so they can be tapped into the future, crop tree management might be the way to go on a small woodlot. This is what crop tree management looks like from above. On the left hand side our five crop trees are identified in the lime green color. In the middle graphic the competing trees are identified in brown, and then those brown trees are removed, releasing our five crop trees on the right. This graph depicts the increase in growth rate, and I apologize if it's a little fuzzy, but on the x-axis of this graph we have the free-to-grow rating, and that would just be the number of sides that the tree was released on. On the y-axis we have inches of diameter, and that would be the 10-year diameter growth of a tree that was released on zero sides to four sides. You can see that a tree that isn't released at all will grow on average about 1.75 inches in diameter in a 10-year period, and when we say diameter, most foresters, all foresters measure diameter at breast height or four and 1/2 feet off the ground. So it's a standard measurement of the width of the tree stem at about four and 1/2 feet off the ground. If we release a tree on two sides you can see that the tree will put on about two and 1/2 inches of diameter in that 10-year period, and then the tree released on four sides will put on as much as four inches of diameter in that same 10-year period. So you can really see the advantages of releasing a tree from competition. Again, the field guide has crop tree criteria for timber wildlife aesthetics and water quality, and again timber is just would be choosing a species that's going to grow well on the site and the soils that you have, a wildlife crop tree would be a tree that produces nuts or food for wildlife, would be oaks, beech, hickory, possibly black cherry, and then I'm gonna switch to the next slide to talk a little bit more about aesthetics. I always like to refer back to Bert Cregg's article, called "Michigan's Fall Color Lineup," because really with a crop tree you can choose to have the fall colors that you'd like in your woodlot by creating crop trees, and so let's say you have a pumpkin patch or you do a corn maize, or something along those lines, you have a fall festival, something or another on your farming property, you can actually enhance the view of the people visiting that attraction by creating a more variety of fall colors in your woodlot. If you have a hay ride, maybe you'd like people to ride underneath all different kinds of colors of fall leaves, and you can actually do that using crop trees. With aesthetics, you can also choose a tree that's maybe special to you that you planted in memory of someone or that just has a really good look to it, and you wanna be sure that it lasts into the future, all kinds of possibilities. Crop tree criteria for water quality includes controlling non-point source pollution, basically anything that's running off of a field or across a parking lot or anything anywhere else. The trees will absorb excess nutrients from the runoff, and the tree root structure can actually slow runoff at the base of the tree, and by slowing that water particle down, it allows the sediment to drop out of suspension and allows the water to actually infiltrate into the ground, recharging our groundwater or our wells. In addition, crop trees for water quality can stabilize soil around waterways, and in Michigan we have an unaffiliated campaign called Forests for Fish, and we just like to point out that because we have so much well-managed forest land in Michigan, we have high quality streams, lakes, and rivers, and even good clean water going into our Great Lakes. So it's something we're pretty proud of here in Michigan. Other criteria for water quality includes thinking about the nutrient uptake that the trees can do, or maybe some nutrients that might be running off again in a field or a parking lot or wherever. Nutrient uptake is most rapid in young deciduous trees, or trees that lose their leaves in the winter time. Red and white oaks as well as red maple and quaking aspen can absorb nitrogen pretty well to a point, and so they can take care of some of that excess nutrients that might be going on and preventing it from reaching our waterways. Other tree species like basswood, yellow poplar, dogwood, and red cedar can easily take up calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Beech, red spruce, pines, and hemlock do the same, but just a little bit of a slower uptake, and so all of this information is listed in that "Crop Tree Field Guide" that's put out by the USDA. Some of the income opportunities from crop tree management, I've mentioned quite a few. Timber trees that are managed for timber will increase in value at maybe a higher rate than if they weren't released. Wildlife, hunting opportunities may increase on the property for you or for somebody that you lease the land to. Recreation value for non-game wildlife, like bird watching, may go up in value, or just that personal value of knowing that you've created someplace where the wildlife like to be. With aesthetics you can increase that personal or commercial view. Trails, kind of the same. If you'd like to create some recreation for snowmobiling in the winter and/or maybe off-roading in the summer time, you can certainly manage for that and include some nice shade trees for people to stop under, some things along those lines. We've talked about water quality, and you can also use the removed trees for firewood, for decorative poles, for signed posts, fence posts, pulpwood, or even chips for hiking trails. Again this is the "Crop Tree Field Guide." It's a publication by the USDA and available at least for download at this address here. For the next part of the presentation I'll be talking about some agroforestry techniques, and agroforestry is just a management system that integrates trees onto farms and into agricultural landscapes to diversify production for increased social, economic, and environmental benefits for land users at all levels. It's actually kind of a win-win across. Different examples of agroforestry include forest farming, silvopasture, alley cropping, riparian forest buffers, and windbreaks. All of the information about each of these agroforestry techniques is available from the USDA National Agroforestry Center, and again that link will be available in the presentation that you'll be able to download after we get done. The first technique I'll talk about is forest forming, and that just means growing food, herbs, or decorative crops under the canopy of the trees. Under the canopy you usually have more shade and higher humidity levels that can foster the growth of those crops, like mushroom logs. These are mushroom logs. They're logs that were fresh cut, possibly from a crop tree release, and they had holes drilled in them and spore plugs inserted into the holes. Spore plugs with different varieties of mushrooms are available pretty readily online. Once the plugs are inserted into those holes, the holes are sealed up with usually beeswax or some sort of paraffin in order to allow them to retain the moisture and work with the tree's moisture to eventually grow mushrooms at the end of the summer. Usually the trees have to, we usually put these logs together in the spring time, soak them about midsummer in water for 24 hours, and then mushrooms should be produced toward the end of summer in like I said those shady, warm, moist conditions, and the mushrooms on the right are shiitake mushrooms. Forest farming can also be used to do something called multistory farming, and so thinking about the story of the trees, just multilayered farming. This is a picture of ginseng farm in the UP, and the ginseng is grown for eight to 12 years under a mature maple canopy. That canopy is providing shade for the ginseng to grow, which is the perfect condition for it to grow in, and also that higher humidity level for that ginseng to grow into a crop in like I said eight to 12 years. Other crops could be planted under a forest canopy like this, goldenseal, wintergreen, berries, especially blueberries or elderberries on a wetter site, could be harvested at a multistory farming situation. You can also use forest farming to sustainably harvest plants that are already grown like ramps or ostrich fern, thistle heads, those are edible, or you could do non-edible things like maybe maidenhair fern or decorative plants from the site. So again, lots of opportunities there, just as far as your imagination can go. Another type of agroforestry technique is riparian forest buffer. I think we've all seen these. Generally we have trees and shrubs growing along our lakes and streams, and the forest buffer does exactly what we talked about for water quality with crop trees. It just slows down the water as it's running across the landscape, allows that water to slow down and the sediment to fall out before it gets to the waterway. These also act as wildlife corridors. So wildlife can move readily across the landscape under this forest canopy, and it could be income opportunities in the form of harvesting the timber from these riparian forest buffers, and I included the link to the "Michigan Forestry Best Management Practices" here, because harvesting trees near a waterway does come with additional suggested restrictions, and so it's best to consult those best management practices before harvesting near a waterway. Usually we ask that you harvest trees when the ground is frozen to avoid rutting or disturbing the ground in any way, and usually machinery is not allowed within a certain distance of the waterway, but it still could be done. Next is something that I think we've all seen in Michigan, and this is agroforestry technique called a windbreak, and with a windbreak we plant conifer trees around livestock areas or houses, barns, to not only shield from the summer winds but also to shield from blowing snow that could come across the landscape and drift and kind of disrupt operations in an area, and like I said these are most commonly planted around Michigan, but if you do have a small woodlot that's in the right space, you could enhance it maybe with some additional conifers to create more of a windbreak opportunity for livestock or for a barn. The last agroforestry technique I'll talk about tonight is called silvopasture, and silvopasture is where trees, forages, and livestock production take place on the same piece of land over a long period of time. So basically none of the resources are managed to the detriment of the others. In this picture we see ducks being pastured in the forest, and it's a forest that's growing mushroom logs. So this is a little bit of an unconventional example, but I think it's a good one. So the ducks are being pastured in the forest that are growing mushroom logs. The ducks eat the pests that would normally disrupt the mushroom production, and in turn the producer has four different crops that could be possibly harvested out of this system, could be duck eggs, the ducks themselves, mushrooms from the mushroom logs, and then eventually timber from the trees. Again, an unconventional example, but one I like to show just because like I said there are so many possibilities, it's just a matter of putting things together in a system that works for you to meet your goals. More traditionally silvopasture is growing quality trees, livestock, and forages together. So usually we're talking about cows or goats or sheep that are being grazed under trees, and it's best to work with a forester in order to create the right conditions for that forage to be growing underneath the canopy of trees. With silvopasture there's two paths to reach a silvopastural system, and one is to plant trees into a pasture, and that requires a lot of protection for those trees. You can see here the trees were planted into a pasture but they're being protected by plastic tubes, and those plastic tubes not only protect them from the livestock that would use the pasture, but would also protect the trees from mice and rabbits that might chew on the bark of those trees in the winter time. You can see the one tree on the left is actually also protected by electric fence. And before I go any further I wanted to say that silvopasture doesn't mean that the livestock is going to be in the wooded area for a long period of time. It's an intensively managed grazing system, and so the livestock would be around the trees two to three days at a time, two to three times a year depending on the density of the livestock in the area that you have arranged for your silvopastural system. The other path to creating silvopasture is actually putting pasture or growing forage under the trees, and again this is where you'd wanna work with a forester to create that right density of the forest canopy to allow enough sunlight to reach the forest floor in order to grow that forage for the livestock over here. Both of the pictures, both of the sites in each of these pictures have the potential to be a good silvopastural system. However, knowing which trees to remove, which trees to keep, and how many to remove and how many to keep, might be best under the advice of a forester, and so we strongly encourage you to work with a forester to again know which trees were best suited for the site, which trees are best suited for the timber market in your area, and then which trees would be best chosen to remain on site if you were to try and convert one of these properties to a silvopastural system. One of the ways foresters determine how many trees should be on a site is by using basal area, and basal area is simply a measure of the amount of area occupied by tree stems, and so again foresters measure tree stems or trunks using diameter at about four and 1/2 feet off the ground, DBH, diameter breast height, and so you can see the DBH or the diameter for each of these trees is listed in inches. If we use that number and convert it to basal area in square feet, so it would be the area of the circle of the tree stem, we would use that number then, that would be the basal area for each tree, and that math has thankfully been done for us in the table provided on the right, and we can see that the six trees in the circle would actually total about 4.193 square feet of basal area. Now the circle that they're all in represents 1/10th of an acre plot. So multiply 4.193 times 10, we have 41.93 or about 42 square feet of basal area per acre in this forested area. So kind of an odd concept, but really once you get it it's pretty easy to imagine. When we're thinking about silvopasture, again we wanna be sure that we have the density of trees that still allows enough sunlight to reach the forest floor, to really foster the growth of that forage, and so an adequately-stocked area for silvopasture would be about 60 square feet of basal area, and we say adequately stocked with AGS, acceptable growing stock. Again, it's those trees that have the potential to grow quality timber in your area. So adequately stocked is about 60 square feet of basal area. Understocked is less than 30 square feet of basal area. That means there's probably a little bit too much sun coming to the area. We might wanna recruit some more trees in there to provide the livestock that's gonna be using the silvopastural system a little bit more protection. If the area is overstocked, it's got over 90 square feet of basal area, and that just means that there's probably not enough sunlight nor enough space to accommodate a silvopastural system, and if it's good quality timber that's on that site, you would have to have a timber harvest before you could start a silvopastural system, which could provide some income to supply the infrastructure for that system. Here in Michigan I've been working with a couple of my colleagues, and their names are coming up in a couple of slides, but we're there working under the mentorship of the Cornell Silvopastural team, and that picture of the ducks was from Steve Gabriel. He's one of the folks mentoring us on our silvopastural systems, and the man who created this slide, Joe Orefice, is also one of our mentors for silvopasture. One of my colleagues discovered these folks doing silvopasture successfully for about the last 10 years out of New York, and we invited them to come here and teach us so that we could learn with you about these systems and how to properly implement that intensively managed grazing system in Michigan, and so to illustrate the basal area I stole Joe's slide, with permission, and I wanted to illustrate sort of the pre-treatment or the before and the post-treatment or the after of a site being prepared for a silvopastural system. In the pre-treatment the species of trees are maple, birch, cherry, elm, and white ash, and you can see after the treatment the birch and the elm have been removed. That's because those two trees don't necessarily grow into trees that can be harvested for timber in the long-term. Before treatment the basal area was 82 square feet per acre. There were about 985 trees per acre and the average diameter was about four inches. After treatment the basal area went down to about 24 square feet per acre, and you can see that in the picture. The picture is the same site, just different time of year, and you can see how much more open it is, really giving the site a chance to establish some of those forages that you would need to support livestock in that forest in the future. We only have about 100 trees per acre in the after picture, and the average diameter jumps to about seven inches, which means a lot of the lower quality smaller trees were removed. Now I'd like to draw your attention to the second, to the bottom reading, that's the PAR or the percent of full sun that's reaching the forest floor. When we have 82 square feet of basal area, we only get about 8% of the sun that reaches the forest floor. When we thin that down to about 24 square feet of basal area, we get 60% of the sun to reach that forest floor, again to support the forage that would then be used for livestock production on that piece of property. I wanted to make a point that silvopasturing is not just letting the cows out or livestock of any kind out into the woods to eat everything including the bark of the trees. Again, none of the resources are managed to the detriment of the others. This involves running livestock in a planned out contained area in a forest for two to three days at a time, two to three times a year depending on the density and the size of the pack that you've created. We don't wanna see the vegetation down to nothing. We don't wanna see the ground trampled to the point where the tree roots are compacted. That's not what proper silvopasturing is about. We were trying to help people create those systems here in Michigan to avoid degrading some of our timber resources. The old paradigm, "Keep the livestock out of the woods," is true if you're going to keep them in there all the time, but with intensively managed grazing systems we can put the livestock in the woods as long as we manage what they're doing, what they're eating, and how long they're in there. And again, silvopasturing is not just creating one tree where all the livestock can kinda be underneath it, it's creating that system where everything can grow together and be enhanced together. I've been proud to be working with my colleagues Kable Thurlow who's a Beef and Grazing Educator, as well as Monica Jean a Field Crops Educator to learn more about silvopasture and bring it to Michigan, and so we've been working on quite a few, we do have an article publication out and then we also have a site evaluation for silvopasturing, but I'd be happy to pass on to anybody here on the presentation if you're interested. And so as I wind up my presentation, I just wanted to let you know that I threw out a lot of information but there is assistance available. There are people to help when you need it, and one of my favorite people to call on to help are the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Everybody knows them as NRCS, field folks, and they are always available to help with advice and possibly some cost share to help get some of the things done that I mentioned in this presentation. There's a list of possible cost share that might be available. That changes from year-to-year depending on the Farm Bill, and so I'm not sure if each of these is actually funded this year, but it's worth an ask and it's also worth meeting with your NRCS representative just to find out more about what you might like to accomplish on your property. The bottom link is a link to all the local service centers and field staff in Michigan and should help you find somebody that's located right in your county. Other assistance that's available is the Forestry Assistance Program, is a program by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, MDARD, working with the conservation districts to put foresters, service foresters, in each of the counties that are colored here. These are the most forested counties in Michigan. Those foresters are available to meet with you at no charge to help you discuss your goals, figure out where you'd like to go, provide guidance, and then possibly refer you to a professional if that's what will help meet your goals best. If you do an Internet search for MDARD F-A-P, Forestry Assistance Program, I might add Michigan to the end of that just to be thorough, you'll come up with this map right here, and again these folks are employed through our local conservation districts. Other resources that could help you meet your goals on your property for your woodlot are consulting foresters. I always recommend working with a consulting forester if you're doing any kind of selling timber, consulting foresters can help you get the most money for your timber, because as I said they know the markets and they know exactly what's kind of going on on the landscape, and they can help you manage your property to meet your goals most efficiently. There's also the Michigan Association of Timbermen. Again, those would be loggers directly, if you'd like to work with those folks. The Michigan Forest Products Council might be able to help you identify what markets are right for your area, and then local conservation districts. Those folks have lists of service providers of all kinds, and I highly recommend checking with them first if you have any questions or you're trying to find assistance. Finally, it could be worth reaching out to the MSU Product Center. The product center is available to help you commercialize your high value products in food and agricultural resource sectors. So if you have an idea for some food that you're already manufacturing and you'd like to sell on a larger scale, or need some help developing a business plan, these folks can help you flush out those ideas. And with that I'd like to show you a picture of one of my favorite trees that I would actually consider a crop tree if it were on my own property, because I would manage for its aesthetic value and reduce the competition around it. If anybody has any questions I'd be happy to answer those. - [Questioner] Thank you very much Julie. We do have a couple of questions in the Q and A. Can you see those or shall I read them? - I think so, yes okay. So from John. We've been losing many of our ash trees and spruce trees. Is there anything that can be done to mitigate this loss? Ash trees, probably not so much, but there is some research going on in how the loss of our ash trees is affecting some of the waterways, and the research actually entails intensive replanting of different wetland-type species where ash trees used to be, and so nothing can be done probably to mitigate the loss of the ash trees except to replant in their place. Spruce trees, it depends on why they're dying. If it's old age then hopefully something will recruit behind it. If it's more of a disease, depending on the area of the state that you're in, it might be spruce budworm, and again that's something that we'll probably just have to wait on forest recruitment. Bill asks how long is it going to take for all the dead ash we have to start disappearing on the ground? Ash, once it dies, becomes pretty punky or degrades in structure pretty fast, and so once it's on the ground it should start disappearing pretty well, but again if you're worried about, I was gonna say if you're worried about the logs that are down, I wouldn't be. That's actually good wildlife habitat and it's returning the nutrients back to the soil. So if it's not inhibiting your activities on the ground, on the property, then I would probably just let 'em lay, or if you wanted to you could cut 'em into smaller links that would probably disintegrate faster. - [Questioner] What are good ways to harvest and remove single trees from a woodlot that is otherwise too dense for larger equipment? - There are still people in the landscape that use horses for single tree selection, and then there are some smaller pieces of equipment, like you could use a side-by-side or something along those lines to drag out a single tree if you could drive that through there, or if it's very tight horses might be your best bet, and there are some people in the landscape that are probably still doing that. If you'd like to contact me directly I'd be happy to start poking around to see where you are and if that resource is available to you. - [Questioner] What type of market is available for Scotch pine? - One of the things we've been very happy about in the Roscommon-Grayling area is the opening of a new pulp mill, the ARAUCO mill, that makes particle board, and so it's usually a particle board market. Scotch pine is being taken by that mill if you're within 100 miles of the Grayling area. That would be a good venue for Scotch pine. Otherwise it doesn't have a great market and you may end up having to take it out and just burn it unfortunately. That's a tough one. - [Questioner] I suppose it might depend on the volume of wood that's there too. - It does depend on the volume, but Scotch pine isn't very good to use for much of the pulp markets that make paper and things like that. It's not a good candidate. - [Questioner] Any thoughts about managing to minimize wildlife impact on crops from species such as deer, turkey, raccoons, et cetera? - That could be a double-edged sword because if you, I would say creating more of that vertical and horizontal structure, so taking out trees to create more habitat in a woodlot, but will that bring more wildlife? And so I think that's a tough question that farmers have been wrestling with in the Midwest for years and years and years, and I wish I had the golden egg for you. - [Questioner] That is a tough question. Another question in the Q and A, is walnut still in demand? - Yes, absolutely in big demand. And so walnut is typically grown in plantation style along usually the first flood plain, really rich sort of moist soils, and one of the agroforestry techniques that I didn't mention was row cropping, alley cropping, and that's typically something that goes along with walnut production, and so if you planted walnut you could always. They do have an allelopathy that they release that inhibits the growth of some plants around them, but some other plants like corn or hay or some of the forages do just fine around walnut trees, and you'd be able to harvest that from underneath the walnut trees while the walnuts are growing into a timber-sized tree.