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Categorized | Outdoors

Timber harvests underway at four state game areas in Michigan’s thumb

A young aspen stand is shown that has regenerated after a timber harvest.

Commercial timber harvests designed to improve wildlife habitat are currently underway at Vassar, Tuscola and Deford state game areas in Tuscola County and the Verona State Game Area in Huron County.

Though things may look very different at these areas for a while, the timber harvests will provide or improve habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock, white-tailed deer and a host of nongame species, particularly migratory songbirds. Each of these species finds the young forests that quickly develop post-harvest attractive sites for breeding, nesting, raising their young, feeding and avoiding predators.

Visitors to these state game areas will notice the presence of commercial logging equipment entering game area lands along Wilder Road at Vassar; at the east end of Bliss Road at Tuscola; along Froede Road at Deford and east of Scott Road at Verona.

The timber harvests were planned based upon wildlife habitat management objectives spelled out in Michigan Department of Natural Resources state game area master plans, which are informed by a detailed forest inventory for each game area.

“Each of the stands involved in the harvests currently underway is dominated by aspen trees, a native species that is especially attractive for game and nongame wildlife and is found in abundance across state game areas in the Thumb region,” said area DNR wildlife biologist Tammy Giroux.

DNR southeast region forester Don Bonnette said aspen stands are managed on a 40-year rotation.

“When those trees reach 40 years of age or more, we prescribe a commercial timber harvest to regenerate the stand, which produces a young aspen stand in its place,” Bonnette said. “With this method, we strive to produce stands of trees of multiple age classes across a game area, which provides a variety of habitat types to meet the needs of many wildlife species.”

Each of the timber harvests is expected to be completed by early fall, but some individual stands may take longer to complete based on weather and other conditions.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union

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