DNR: Nearly 2,000 acres of trees to be harvested - WNEM TV 5

DNR: Nearly 2,000 acres of trees to be harvested

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KALKASKA COUNTY, (WNEM) -

Gypsy moth infestation, drought and old age are being blamed for tree deterioration, and a need to harvest oak trees on nearly 2,000 acres of state-managed land.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is preparing to cut down the trees in Kalkaska County.

Most of the older, oak-dominated areas are the result of wide-scale timbering and uncontrolled wildfires that rages through the area in the late 1800s and early 1900s, according to the DNR.

Oaks were one of the few species that benefited from the fires, but are no susceptible to disease outbreaks, like gypsy moths, because of their age.

“We need to remove the current trees in order to stimulate new growth and remove highly hazardous trees that are susceptible to disease and windfall – making them a risk to those who are out enjoying our natural resources,” said Bill Sterrett, DNR district forest supervisor. “The DNR also wants to move quickly to salvage the wood while it is still economically valuable. We feel a closely supervised timber harvest is the best way to accomplish that.

The revenue generated from the sales will be reinvested into replanting some sites, fire protection and other forest management activities.

Red pine will be planted on at least 700 acres to give the land a jump-start.

“Oak is a valuable tree for wildlife, and every effort will be made to allow healthy oak to remain a part of the future forest composition,” said Steve Griffith, a DNR wildlife biologist. “Oak provides mast for white-tailed deer, grouse and turkeys, and young red pine plantations provide excellent cover for deer and small game. We are keeping the needs of Michigan hunters and wildlife viewers in mind when we are replanting these areas.”

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