In recent years, intermediate stand treatments (ISTs) have emerged as one of the most promising strategies to increase the health and productivity of Minnesota’s forests. ISTs can improve stand growth rates, produce big trees and stand structures typical of old-growth conditions more quickly, reduce forest health threats, and greatly increase economic returns.
So what are ISTs? They include any treatment that occurs between stand establishment and final harvest. Although commonly referred to simply as thinnings, ISTs also include many kinds of treatments, including:
- altering stand composition by favoring one or more species;
- releasing new regeneration by removing competing vegetation;
- cleaning or sanitation treatments to remove invasive, undesirable, or diseased trees;
- thinnings designed to capture natural mortality and focus growth on the trees with the greatest potential for future growth;
- and more.
The long-term benefits of intermediate stand treatments are clear. More challenging can be making the treatments work in the short term. Operational and economic considerations in the short term can create challenges for both landowners and loggers. In the three short videos below, we hear the perspectives of six Minnesota loggers on making ISTs work.
These videos are not the end of the story. You’ll see more on ISTs on MyMinnesotaWoods in the coming months. If you’ve been involved in intermediate treatments, what are your thoughts?
These videos were produced by the University of Minnesota Extension in September 2010 for a Cloquet, MN workshop presented by the UMN Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative. Thanks to Dave Chura, Cheryl Adams, Beth Jacqmain, Bob Kangas, and the six loggers appearing in the videos: Mike Rieger, Scott Pittack, Brian Vierkandt, Jim Scheff, Ron Beckman Jr. and Ron Beckman Sr, and Chad Westerlund.