Group Opening Outcomes, Sustainable Forest Management, and the Menominee Nation Lands
Co-authors: Christel C. Kern, Manfred Schoelch, Paul Crocker, Dean Fellman, Angela Marsh, David Mausel, Marshall Pecore, Joseph Phillippi, Ronald Waukau, and Anthony Waupochick
Ideally, variants of single-tree, group, and patch selection create new, spatially aggregated age classes and maintain a diversity of tree species and sizes in multiaged, mixed-species forests. We explored this notion in northern hardwood forests on the Menominee Nation, a forest ecosystem without the exploitive cutting history of most forests in the western Great Lakes region. Although the outcomes suggested a lack of relationship between gap characteristics and tree density, the expectations for tree regeneration were largely met: gap tree densities were >600 stems/ac and predominantly composed of sugar maple (Acer saccharum), American elm (Ulmus americana), and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis). Examination of stand diameter distributions indicate that gaps may not be necessary to establish regeneration on Menominee forests. To deepen the interpretation of our results, we include field and office discussions regarding the practicality of group openings when managing this forest.