White Pine Myths & Facts

Myth: Pure white pine forests are a common occurrence in Minnesota.

Fact:
Although relatively pure white pine forests exist in Minnesota, this species is more commonly associated with other forest types. In fact, inventory statistics show that of the white pine present in Minnesota more than 72 percent exist in other forest types such as aspen, jack pine, and red pine.1 In fact white pine occurs in 23 forest types.2 Statistics also show that white pine is present on nearly 1,000,000 acres in Minnesota. This represents an increase of nearly 17,000 acres over the 1977 acreage with a white pine component.


Myth: White pine trees grow to be 250 feet tall.

Fact:
An average white pine grows to 80-100 feet in height and 2-3.5 feet in diameter.3 The "National Register of Big Trees" lists two white pine: one in Michigan is 158 feet tall and the other in Maine stands 147 feet tall.2


Myth: White pine is being overharvested.

Fact:
White pine is being managed on a sustainable basis. Inventory figures from 1990 show that white pine growth exceeds removals by 46 percent.1 Further, the amount of standing white pine inventory increased by 27 percent from 1977-1990.1 Since 1990, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Superior National Forest have reduced the amount of white pine sold for harvest by 504 and 855 percent, respectively.


Myth: Nothing is being done to regenerate white pine.

Fact:
Over one million white pine seedlings are being planted in Minnesota each year. On average more than 30 white pine trees are being planted for every tree harvested. In addition, the DNR has formed a technical team to develop a plan that will enhance white pine growth. Further, scientists are working to develop improved rust resistant seedlings to ensure higher survival rates of planted seedlings.

Myth: Nothing is being done to protect existing older white pine.

Fact:
The DNR has established a program to protect existing "old growth" white pine forest types. The DNR anticipates that 4,3004 acres of their 5,7001 acres will be designated as old growth. The Chippewa and Superior National Forests are also implementing old growth designation programs. Further, during timber harvests healthy white pine are favored as reserve/wildlife trees.

 

Myth: A moratorium on white pine timber harvest is the only way to save Minnesota's white pine.

Fact:
In the absence of wide-scale fire, favorable white pine regeneration is enhanced by applying proper silvicultural practices. This includes selective timber harvesting to remove diseased or dying trees. Timber harvesting also creates favorable site conditions for natural seeding or planting.

 

Myth: A moratorium on white pine timber harvest has broad-based support.

Fact:
A moratorium on white pine management is simply not good for the resource. The professional forest managers of Minnesota agree that harvesting is a tool used to reestablish white pine. The MN Society of American Foresters, MN Department of Natural Resources, Association of County Land Commissioners, Minnesota Forest Industries, Minnesota Timber Producers Association, and Superior and Chippewa National Forests oppose a moratorium on harvesting white pine. These groups represents the forest land managers of MN who are trained and educated to make sound scientific management decisions regarding white pine management.