Through the Aspen/Larch study, researchers have developed fast-growing hybrid varieties. These new hybrids grow at twice the normal rate. The trees shown here are two years old and mature in half the time.
"The industry's help in conducting this study has been forthright and generous, with good reason. From this study, the industry expects to learn more about the preferences the various bird species have for different trees. This will enable foresters to better maintain suitable habitats through selective harvesting."
Gerald J. Niemi,University of MinnesotaNatural Resources Research Institute
Contributing Through Research
The forest products industry supports many areas of research, not only in the development of faster-growing species, but also in forest management techniques to improve habitat for wildlife.
In cooperation with the University of Minnesota's Natural Resources Research Institute, industry members have designated three one-square-mile areas of forest land for a study of forest birds. The aim is to determine how well various bird species thrive in a variety of age classes and tree species. The industry is assisting in gathering data which will be shared with the public.
Scientific Advances Enhance Forest Growth
Other research efforts include:
Minnesota Tree Improvement Cooperative: A joint program of the Department of Natural Resources and the forest industry, this work aims at developing a 100% certified seed resource for genetically improved, disease-resistant red pine, white pine, jack pine and black and white spruce. Thirty-six such orchards have been established across the state.
Work to date has resulted in increased growth rates ranging from 5% to 20%. In addition, good progress is being made on development of a white pine variety resistant to blister rust.
Aspen/Larch Genetics Cooperative: Long-term research with aspen and aspen hybrids has produced genetic gains of nearly 35% in height and more than 100% improvement in volume growth. Ongoing work with larch species, such as northern pines, centers on seed selection to enhance adaptation and promote rapid growth. Fast-growing improved larch species are exceeding growth rates of two cords per acre each year. The Cooperative's efforts also focus on disease-resistant tree research, forest silviculture and improved aspen and larch reproduction rates.
Research conducted independently by forest products companies includes ecosystems management, watershed analysis and riparian zone management, landscape ecology, water quality and wildlife and fish habitat management. Research is also conducted at the North Central Forest Experiment Station, the University of Minnesota College of Natural Resources Cloquet Forestry Center and at the Forest Science Laboratory in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The stations employ 70 scientists and a Minnesota support staff of 100.