Minnesota’s forest types: index and links

Click the links below to read about Minnesota’s different forest types.

forestThis section contains information about some of the most common forest types in Minnesota. This information originally appeared in the Extension publication called “Woodland Stewardship: A Practical Guide for Midwestern Landowners.”

Each forest type page includes information about products & uses, growing conditions, silviculture, management, regeneration, and pest concerns.

Black spruce
Black walnut
Bottomland hardwoods
Eastern white pine
Jack pine
Northern hardwoods
Northern white-cedar
Red (Norway) pine

There are many different ways to classify and describe forest types.  The type descriptions below were chosen for their familiarity to most woodland owners.  This is not a perfect set, and advanced woodland owners and professionals may also want to familiarize themselves with systems like the Minnesota DNR’s Ecological Classification System.

Mel is the Extension Forestry program leader. He's based on the St Paul campus.

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  1. Recently we purchased some land just south of Ely MN. We have noticed that many of the birch or aspen trees are dead or dying. Have you heard of this problem and if so is there anything that can be done? Is there a resistant species that can planted in lieu of these trees?

    Thanks for your your help.

    Richard J. Laya

    1. Hi Richard. Birch and aspen are both fast-growing, short lived trees. Many were established in Minnesota 50-90 years ago and are nearing the end of their natural lives. In addition, conditions have been extremely dry across much of your area, conditions to which neither of these species are well adapted. You have a few options: 1) Talk to a local forester about removing the dying and diseased trees to make room for a new stand of the same species to replace them. Under the right conditions, both species will grow well from stump sprouts or root suckers. Depending on the current conditions of the standing trees, there may be some financial value in the stand as well. 2) Simply let nature take its course. These trees will die and be replaced by more shade-tolerant species, most likely spruce and fir.