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Project ID: 00-2-23

Year: 2001

Date Started: 09/19/2001

Date Completed: 05/17/2004

Title: Managing Fuels and Forest Structure in the Southern Boreal Forest on Minnesota's National Forests

Project Proposal Abstract: The national forests of Minnesota occur in the transition between several major North American biomes. To the west, they grade into the Great Plains, to the south and east the central and northern hardwoods and to the north the boreal forest. In economic and social terms, these forests are in transition as well. While timber production has been a dominant use in the past, recreation of all kinds and in all seasons is a major use of the forests today and rivals timber production in returns to the local economy. Maintaining these and other values requires an understanding of the role of past and present natural and human disturbance in sustaining forest health and productivity. Fire played a significant role in the dynamics of these forests in the past. However, human activities, other natural large and small scale disturbance (e.g., wind, insects, ice and snow damage, disease) alone or acting together have been important causes of rapid forest change. They can also affect timing and severity of fire. The objective of this proposal is to establish sites that demonstrate silvicultural options for managing fuels and in the process creating alternative forest structures. This demonstration will take place in the southern boreal forest in the Gunflint Corridor and the Little East Creek project areas which are adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). It is a fire-derived landscape with a fire return interval of 60-100 years. Within an hours time on July 4, 1999, the character of about 400,000 acres of the BWCAW and surrounding area was changed "forever" by a severe and unprecedented wind storm. In the Gunflint Corridor and Little East Creek areas prescribed burning, salvage logging, and piling and burning are being used to alter the quantity and structure of living and dead materials (entire stands were blown down in many areas creating huge concentrations of fuels) resulting from the storm with the goal of reducing fire hazard. Monitoring the results of these treatments will provide excellent demonstrations of options for managing similar future disturbance on public and private lands.

Principal Investigator: Daniel Nightingale

Agency/Organization: University of Minnesota

Branch or Dept: Water Resource Center

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Terry Daniel

University of Arizona-Tucson

Psychology Department

Co-Principal Investigator

Kamal Gandhi

Ohio State University

Department of Entomology

Co-Principal Investigator

Dan Gilmore

University of Minnesota

Department of Forest Resources

Co-Principal Investigator

William Mattson

Forest Service

NRS-Northern Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

Brian Orland

Pennsylvania State University

Department of Landscape Architecture

Co-Principal Investigator

Steve Seybold

Forest Service

PSW-Institute of Forest Genetics-Davis


Rob Bryers

Forest Service

Superior NF-LaCroix Ranger District


Myra Theimer

Forest Service

Superior NF-Gunflint Ranger District

Federal Cooperator

John Zasada

Forest Service

NRS-Northern Research Station

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Lake States

There are no project locations identified for this project.

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
view or print   912 Government Publication Alternative Fuel Reduction Treatments in the Gunflint Corridor of the Superior National Forest: Second-Year Results and Sampling
view or print   141 Poster Use of Prescribed Fire as a Management Tool for Enhancing Pyrophilous Beetle Populations in the Sub-boreal Coniferous Forests of Minnesota
  go to website 242 Website Website was constructed to provide a visualization of fuel loadings in various forest types in North America.
    243 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Workshop for forest land managers, NIPF and the interested public.
    244 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Funding from the project partially supported 5 presentations and travel to present 11 posters.

Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents are available for this project.

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