DNR ERF Overview By: ERF Policy Review Team To: Stakeholders April 18, 2012
DNR Mission • Work with citizens to conserve/manage state’s natural resources • Provide outdoor recreation opportunities • Provide for commercial uses of natural resources to create sustainable quality of life
Forest Sustainability: Managing for Diversity • A Diversity of Sustainable Benefits • (“timber; water; fish and wildlife habitat; biodiversity; recreation; soil; climate; rare and distinctive flora and fauna…” defined in MS 89A) • A Diversity of Forest Types and Ages • (e.g., pine, aspen, oak and others; young, mature, and old…..) • A Diversity of Silviculture Practices • (e.g., even-aged management with short and long rotations; all-aged management with selective harvest; natural and artificial regeneration……..etc.)
Integrated Resource Management Fulfilling a Mutual Responsibility While each division has different mandates and functions, they have mutual responsibility for sustainable forest management. 1995 SFRA Policy (M.S. 89A.02) It is the policy of the state to pursue the sustainable management, use, and protection of the state's forest resources to achieve the state's economic, environmental, and social goals;
What is ERF? • AKA Older Forest • The amount of certain forest types that are beyond their “normal rotation age” at a specific point in time • Forest types with ERF goals include Aspen, Birch, Jack Pine, Red Pine, Balsam Fir, Lowland Black Spruce, Tamarack. • These “even-aged” types require substantial disturbance (i.e., opening up the canopy) to regenerate. • Normal rotation age is generally the age where growth peaks and is generally the point when harvest would occur IF maximizing timber volumes were your primary objective.
ERF ≠ Old Growth • DNR Old Growth is not harvested • DNR Old Growth is more than just old trees • ERF is harvested, but the final regeneration harvest is delayed until an older age. • ERF is applied to forest types that generally aren’t regarded as “old growth.”
Brief History of ERF • 1988 – DNR begins develop of Old-Growth Forests Guidelines. • Staff identifies the need to maintain older forest conditions on forest types not identified as old-growth types • 1990 – OG & ERF Guidelines required by out-of-court settlement • 1992 – DNR Draft ERF Guidelines reviewed by stakeholders at the first of a series of Stakeholder Roundtables. • 1994 — DNR Commissioner approves ERF Guideline • 1994 — GEIS modeling assumes a certain level of application of ERF on state and federal lands. • 1996-97 – Additional stakeholder roundtables on NE application of ERF. • 1999— DNR clarifies direction for ERF implementation. • 2000 – DNR begins SFRMP and SFRMP becomes the vehicle for ERF implementation.
Why the concern for Older Forest? • When the ERF Guideline was developed: • Industry was expanding • Timber harvests were rising & projected to continue increasing. • Concern that older forests would disappear from DNR and other lands. • Mechanism needed to help assure some amount of older forest would be sustained on DNR lands.
What has changed? • Statewide harvest levels from all ownerships have declined substantially. • Harvest levels on DNR lands have remained stable/slightly increased. • Across all ownerships, MN forest lands in general have continued to grow older. • On DNR lands, the amount of older forest in some forest types has been reduced towards long-term goals. • Greater need to consider revenue implications in managing for older forests (e.g., Trust Fund).
Hunting Economics on State Forestry and Wildlife Lands White-tailed Deer Ruffed Grouse & Squirrels ~33,000 & 13,000 hunters annually >$2 million in license revenue and P-R $17.5 million in direct expenditures by these small game hunters • ~56,000 hunters annually • $3.1 million in license revenue and from P-R grant reimbursement • Nearly $27 million in direct expenditures by deer hunters
Older Forest Habitat Elements Compositional Diversity Structural Complexity Large old trees Hard and soft snags Tree cavities Less canopy closure, canopy gaps Coarse woody debris Large down logs, tip-ups Winter and security cover • Additional tree species • Hard and soft mast production • Multiple layers • Advanced regeneration • Well-developed shrub layer
Effects of Stand Age on Forest Bird Communities in Aspen-dominated Forests (Central Saskatchewan) Young - 15-25 years Mature - 50-60 years Old – 80-100 years Number of breeding bird species increases with forest age: @ point count level: O & M > Y @ site level: O & M > Y *NS @ landscape level: O > M & Y Increase in conifers in older stands: presence of conifer associated species: Bay-breasted Warbler Ruby-crowned Kinglet Magnolia Warbler
Fisher - Case Study • Natal and maternal dens in tree cavities of mostly aspen & some oak >21” dbh. • Mature, dense, and structurally diverse forests that include large downed woody debris support an adequate prey base and provide good winter cover for fisher. (overstory tree avgdbh 15+” optimal) Given the continuing pressure to maximize fiber production from forests (i.e., short forest rotation, biomass harvesting), the forest structural attributes critical to fisher and marten could become limiting in the future, if not already. (Erb et al. 2010)
Cavity-nesting Waterfowl • Cavity use distance from wetland/water edge: Wood duck ≤ 1.25 mile, Common goldeneye ≤ 1.0 mile, Hooded merganser ≤ 0.3 mile. • MN aspen needs to be >50 years old to develop suitable cavities. • Minimum tree size for nesting cavity (11” dbh). • Aspen >20” dbh produce cavities at 5 times the rate as aspen 11-20” dbh.
ERF – Natural Resource Sustainability Scale Spatial and Temporal • Spatial • Landscape(ECS Subsections) (age classes) • Site(selected for each SFRMP) (successional stages) • Stand • Groups of Stands • Temporal • Long Term • Short Term
Ecosystem Functions ERF – Natural Resource Sustainability The interactions between biotic and abiotic components in an ecosystem results in complex exchanges of energy, nutrients and waste. Ecosystem Services The wide array of resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems.
ERF – Natural Resource Sustainability The more complex a system is the more functions it will support. The more functions the more ecosystem services provided.
ERF – Natural Resource Sustainability Ecosystem Services Provided by Older Forests • Habitat--Niche • Carbon Storage • Hydrologic processes
Resiliency ERF – Natural Resource Sustainability Refers to the ability of an ecosystem to adjust to disturbance or change without greatly altering its functioning. Disease Invasive Species Climate Change Insects Fire Harvesting Wind
ERF – Natural Resource Sustainability Resiliency Ecosystems are not static but cycle through multiple stages depending on the form and magnitude of disturbance. The biological diversity of the ecosystem provides a level of resilience to the system.
General Observations: • Overall, Minnesota forestlands are older than they were in 1994. • Our ERF policy has been very successful! • Harvesting is significantly reduced on all ownerships. • Harvesting on DNR managed lands has been stable, or increased.
General Observations: • We need young forest. We need older forest too. • Ecosystem functions and certain habitats benefit from older forests. • Trust lands are different! They need to be considered in a different context from other DNR managed lands.
Identified DNR ERF Policy Questions • How should we account for all older forest on state land? • How do we better locate ERF on the landscape? • Should Site Index be considered? • How will School Trust lands be treated differently? • Should we focus on plant community growth stage? • Should uneven aged covertypes count towards ERF goals?
Identified DNR ERF Policy Questions (continued) • Should planted stands be treated differently? • Is consistency among SFRMP’s important? • Are there Forest Certification implications? • What should ERF harvest prescriptions look like? • Should ERF stand “tags” be permanent?
Team members contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org 218-999-7913 email@example.com 218-833-8716 firstname.lastname@example.org 218-999-7836 email@example.com 218-999-7938 firstname.lastname@example.org 218-327-4232 email@example.com 218-999-7843 firstname.lastname@example.org 218-766-0734 email@example.com 218-723-4763 x225 For data and modeling information: firstname.lastname@example.org 651-259-5278 email@example.com 218-999-7840 firstname.lastname@example.org 218-322-2518