Itasca State Park was selected as a model area in which the consequences of past use and protectionistic management were studied. A fire chronology was traced to 1650 and its role in the establishment of pine stands documented. The logging history of the park area was reviewed. Secondary successions to aspen and other seral hardwoods and shrubs have replaced most former pine stands. Such pine stands are a major scenic resource the park was created to protect. Present old-growth pine stands are largely overmature or decadent and are not being reproduced. Seed sources from old pine stands are absent or inadequate on much of the park area. Assuming a goal of reconstructing the park forest to its presettlement condition, a program of active management must replace past protectionistic management. Silvicultural measures are being tested and compared to convert present second-growth aspen stands to pine on sites formerly supporting pine types. Early results indicate that competition from aspen suckers and shrubs and heavy mortality from concentrated deer browsing are major obstacles in such conversions.
Hansen, Henry L.; Kurmis, Vilis; Ness, Darwin.
The Ecology of Upland Forest Communities and Implications for Management in Itasca State Park, Minnesota.
Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.
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