Science and Information Branch Northwest Science and Information Information Report IR-007
White pine in northwestern Ontario — yesterday, today and tomorrow
Ministry of Natural Resources
Science and Information Branch Northwest Science and Information Information Report IR-007
White pine in northwestern Ontario — yesterday, today and tomorrow
Willard H. Carmean Professor Emeritus Lakehead University Faculty of Natural Resources Management
Ministry of Natural Resources
Front cover photo: Courtesy of Lori Fox-Rossi.
©2012, Queen’s Printer for Ontario Printed in Ontario, Canada ISBN 978-1-4606-0412-0 (Print) ISBN 978-1-4606-0413-7 (PDF)
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Northwest Science & Information 173 25th Side Road Rosslyn, Ontario P7K 0B9 Phone: 807 939-2501 Fax: 807 939-1841 E-mail: nwst@Ontario.ca
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This publication should be cited as: Carmean, Willard H. 2012. White pine in northwestern Ontario — yesterday, today and tomorrow. Ont. Min. Natur. Resour., Northwest Sci. & Info., NWSI Info. Rpt. IR-007. 29 pp. + append.
Abstract Harvesting YESTERDAY of eastern white pine is generally described in scattered journals, books and old photographs. Such scattered historical information for white pine YESTERDAY is available for northwestern Ontario using limited information from our local libraries and museums. But the status of white pine TODAY in northwestern Ontario is better known. We find only a few remaining scattered old-growth white pine stands, natural white pine regeneration is limited, most white pine plantations in northwestern Ontario are unsuccessful and only a small amount of white pine is planted. However, TODAY we are better aware of the reasons for decreased white pine regeneration and reasons for plantation failure; TODAY we are also more aware about the aesthetic, environmental and commercial values associated with white pine forests. Research and observations TODAY also provide knowledge for intensive site-specific silvicultural practices that can ensure that old-growth and second-growth white pine forests will remain prominent in TOMORROWâ€™s forest communities of northwestern Ontario. This article describes the past and present status of eastern white pine in northwestern Ontario. Suggestions then are given about intensive site-specific silvicultural practices that can increase and sustain white pine forests in the future forest landscapes of northwestern Ontario.
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Acknowledgements Great thanks and appreciation are extended to Sandy Dunning who did the typing of several drafts of this paper. Also thanks and appreciation are extended to Bill Towill and Colin Bowling who provided data from unpublished studies as well as helped in locating unpublished photographs and reports available in the Kenora Museum, and the Atikokan Centennial Museum.
Disclaimer The views, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author and should not be construed as either policy or endorsement by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
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Contents Abstract................................................................................................................................................................ iii Acknowledgements...............................................................................................................................................iv List of figures....................................................................................................................................................... vi Introduction.......................................................................................................................................................... 1 I. White pine yesterday....................................................................................................................................... 1 II. White pine today............................................................................................................................................. 7 Limited white pine regeneration.................................................................................................................. 9 Values of old-growth white pine forests..................................................................................................... 12 III. White pine tomorrow.....................................................................................................................................14 Intensive site-specific silvicultural practices for mixedwood stands............................................................14 Intensive site-specific practices for white pine plantations..........................................................................18 In conclusion...................................................................................................................................................... 20 Literature cited.....................................................................................................................................................21 About the author................................................................................................................................................. 25
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List of figures Figure 1.
Natural range for eastern white pine (adapted from Critchfield and Little 1966)............................. 1
The Iroquois considered eastern white pine as the symbolic “Tree of Peace” beneath which the leaders sat to conduct the affairs of the Iroquois Nation............................................................ 1
Eastern white pine growing along the wild and picturesque coasts of the Great Lakes were a favourite symbol for the “Group of Seven” artists......................................................................... 2
Old-growth white pine and red pine forests in northern Minnesota were harvested in the late 1800s and early 1900s using a network of logging railroads extending north to the Ontario border................................................................................................................................ 3
Old-growth white pine at Cook State Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania. The superdominant white pine has a tolerant understorey of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr.) and American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) Sad to say this magnificent old-growth forest is no more. A few years after these photographs were taken a severe wind storm felled most of the large white pine and today only a small old-growth fragment remains............... 3
Old-growth red pine commonly is a minor component of old-growth white pine forests. An old growth red pine tree at the Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve (upper); an oldgrowth red pine tree at Sowden Lake northeast of Ignace (middle); an almost pure oldgrowth red pine forest at the Clay Lake Conservation Reserve near Vermilion Bay (bottom).......... 4
Loggers wielding broadaxes squared “sticks” of white pine for assembly into rafts (upper). A raft of squared white pine logs floats by the House of Commons in the Ottawa River (lower). The raft will be floated down river where the raft will be dismantled and the logs will be used in local sawmills or will be shipped elsewhere in North America or shipped overseas.......................................................................................................................................... 4
High Falls on the Pigeon River was a barrier for canoe travel by Aboriginal peoples as well as for voyageurs of the fur trade (upper). High Falls also was a barrier for river drives. The lower photo taken about 1906 shows large logs in the river above the falls and men with pikes are guiding logs into a chute that by-passed the falls............................................................. 5
A horse-drawn sledge loaded with large white pine logs (upper); large white pine and red pine logs piled on the ice at Sandstone Lake waiting for spring melt-up (lower).............................. 5
Farm trucks were used for hauling logs on sledges (upper) or for carrying large white pine logs (lower)............................................................................................................................. 5
Sometimes the ice on lakes was too thin and the sledge loaded with logs broke through the ice............................................................................................................................................. 5
Old growth white pine and red pine forests were logged in the northern part of Quetico Provincial Park until the early 1970s............................................................................................... 6
TODAY white pine in northwestern Ontario usually occurs as isolated “lone pines” towering over younger-aged white birch and trembling aspen stands. A dense tolerant understorey of balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.), spruce and shrub species usually occurs in these hardwood stands.................................................................................................... 7
The Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve has many 300-year-old white pine trees exceeding 1.0 m (3.5 feet) in diameter............................................................................................ 7
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List of figures (cont.) Figure 15.
The Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve (upper) has pronounced vertical stand diversity consisting of: (i) a super-dominant canopy of large white pine; (ii) a lower canopy of white and black spruce, balsam fir and a few hardwood species; (iii) a tolerant balsam fir and shrub understorey of green alder and mountain maple, and (iv) a rich herb understorey. Standing and fallen dead trees (lower) in varying stages of decay provide habitats for lichens, mosses, ferns, fungi and woody plants. These dead trees also provide habitat for a wide variety of animals and birds. White pine regeneration is sparse in the understorey of this fully-stocked old growth forest; only a few small suppressed seedlings occur that usually are less than one-metre tall................................................................................ 8
Red and yellow flagging on infected white pine seedlings (upper and middle); swollen and discoloured branches of white pine (lower bottom); cankers and fruiting bodies on stem of white pine (bottom).......................................................................................................................10
White pine weevils deposit eggs in the terminal leaders of white pine and the weevil larvae then girdle the leader resulting in multiple or forked leaders and deformed white pine trees.......................................................................................................................................11
Clear plastic tubing (tree shelters) varying in diameter and length can protect white pine seedlings from wildlife damage and competition as well as from blister rust and weevils. Improved microclimate within the tubing also favours more rapid early tree height growth......... 12
Old-growth white pine and red pine forests located on Temagami Island..................................... 13
A wildfire at the Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve in August 1991 severely burned a 0.4 ha area. Most of the large white pines were killed probably because of crown scorch. White pine rapidly regenerated by seeding from pine bordering the burned area; vigourous white birch sprouts also rapidly regenerated that overtopped most of the white pine seedlings. The upper photo shows the burned area in early spring of 1992; the lower photo shows dense white birch regeneration in 1999 eight years following the burn.....................17
A successful white pine plantation in the unglaciated hill country of southeastern Ohio. Appearance at 29 years since planting (left); at 40 years since planting after a light thinning from below has just been done (upper right); and at 51 years since planting (lower right). This is an area of excellent site quality as indicated by the long internodes marking rapid annual height growth. However, both young white pine and young red pine trees usually retain dead lower branches thus pruning of selected dominant trees is needed to produce more valuable knot-free lumber .......................................................................19
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Introduction Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) is the largest conifer in northeastern North America and trees can live to more than 400 years of age; trees on good sites can reach 0.9 m (three feet) or more in diameter and as tall as 61 m (200 feet) (Wendel and Smith 1990, Henry and Quinby 2010). Old-growth white pine forests in northwestern Ontario were the northern edge of extensive white pine forests found in eastern Canada from Newfoundland west to southeastern Manitoba, through the Maritimes and the New England and Mid-Atlantic States, the Lake States, and south through the Appalachians as far as northern Georgia (Critchfield and Little 1966, Wendel and Smith 1990) (Figure 1).
The purpose of this article is to summarize the history of YESTERDAY for eastern white pine in northwestern Ontario. Books and old photographs available in local libraries and museums are cited that provide general details about the early white pine logging era in North America including northwestern Ontario. A review then is given of the status of white pine TODAY in northwestern Ontario; also given is a summary of the many aesthetic, environmental and commercial values that are associated with white pine forests. Finally suggestions are given about intensive site-specific silvicultural practices that can ensure that white pine forests of all age classes remain a prominent feature of TOMORROW’s forest community of northwestern Ontario.
I. White pine yesterday The human association with eastern white pine in North America began before European settlement. White pine played an important role in the traditions of the Iroquois Peoples who once occupied most of New York and part of Pennsylvania. Schroeder (1992) described how in the mid-1400s the Iroquois Nations were engaged in constant wars and bloody feuds. According to Iroquois tradition, a man known as the Peacemaker came from the north shore of Lake Ontario and convinced the Nations to stop fighting and form a League that for many years dominated northeastern North America. Figure 1. Natural range for eastern white pine (adapted from Critchfield and Little 1966).
The fame of eastern white pine attracted early interest in Europe. Records show that white pine was planted at Fontainebleau, France in 1553 and Captain George Weymouth brought white pine seeds to England in 1605. White pine has been widely planted throughout Europe including England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, central Europe and Russia (Howard 1986). Eastern white pine played an important role in the history of Aboriginal peoples as well as in the early history of European settlements in northeastern North America. Towns and cities in northeastern North America were largely constructed using lumber harvested from old-growth white pine and red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.) forests. These old-growth pine forests now are mostly gone and TODAY few young white pine stands have regenerated following logging. The result is that TODAY only a small white pine industry remains and the glorious era of harvesting old-growth white pine remains mostly a distant memory preserved in books and museums as well as in a few parks and a few conservation reserves where remaining old-growth pine forests still can be observed. NWSI Information Report IR-007
The Peacemaker declared that he had planted a white pine which he called “The Tree of the Great Peace” (Figure 2). Beneath the shade of the Tree of Peace the leaders of the Iroquois Nations would sit to conduct the affairs of the League. The Peace Tree symbolized the law that governed the League of the Iroquois; its branches represented shelter and protection in unity under the law; its roots represented the extension of law and peace to all of the Nations; and the eagle represented watchfulness in the defense of peace (Schroeder 1992).
Figure 2. The Iroquois considered eastern white pine as the symbolic “Tree of Peace” beneath which the leaders sat to conduct the affairs of the Iroquois Nation. Painting by David General, Chief, Iroquois Nation.
Schroeder (1992) discussed how large and ancient trees have historically been important as symbols in many religious and spiritual traditions. Long-lived evergreens in particular symbolized immortality and eternal life because they retain their foliage and appearance of life in the winter. Schroeder described how symbolism similar to the Iroquois Peace Tree also is found in ancient Norse traditions as well as in Hebrew and Christian stories of the tree of life. Eastern white pine is the largest conifer in northeastern North America and TODAY we find much symbolism, awe and aesthetic feelings associated with old-growth white pine forests. White pine impressed the “Group of Seven” artists and white pine found on the rugged and picturesque coasts of the Great Lakes was a symbol of the wild and picturesque landscape of northern Ontario (Figure 3). The symbolism associated with white pine continues TODAY and the Iroquois Peace Tree is now recognized as the provincial tree of Ontario. White pine heritage trees and heritage forests are viewed as icons of our natural and cultural bounty.
Figure 3. Eastern white pine growing along the wild and picturesque coasts of the Great Lakes were a favourite symbol for the “Group of Seven” artists. Painting by A.J. Casson.
The history of eastern white pine in North America and the story of European immigration and settlement began when sailing ships were the major means for international travel as well as for naval warfare. Very tall, and large-diameter, old-growth white pine and red pine trees in eastern Canada and in the New England States were prized as masts for English naval ships because warfare with Napoleonic France made it difficult to acquire masts from the pine forests of Scandinavia (MacKay 1978, Howard 1986, Gould 1986). Large pines with straight boles were marked with the British broad arrow or an “R” indicating that they belonged to the Crown and were reserved for the English navy. 2
Logging old-growth pine forests soon swept through most of northeastern North America as trees were harvested for building towns and cities (Howard 1986, Gould 1986). White pine forests in Maine (Lorimer 2008), the New England States, and the Maritime provinces of Canada were the first to be harvested (Lee 2007). Once these old-growth forests were exhausted the industry shifted to Ontario (Armson 2001, Latremouille et al. 2008, Henry and Quinby 2010), New York and Pennsylvania, and then westward to the northern parts of Michigan (Crowe 2002), northern Wisconsin (Monte 2002) and northern Minnesota (Larson 2007, Heinselman 1996). Old-growth white pine and red pine forests in northeastern Minnesota were heavily cut in the late 1800s and early 1900s (Ahlgren and Ahlgren 1984, Larson 2007, Heinselman 1996, Hawkinson and Jewett 2003, Ryan 1975 to 1986, Cowles 2003, Forester 2004). River rafts and railroads (Figure 4) transported large volumes of logs and lumber down the Mississippi River and westward for building homes and towns in the treeless prairies (King 1981). But the white pine era in Minnesota and the Lake States ended in the early 1900s because most of the large areas of old-growth pine forests had been liquidated. The logging industry then shifted to the southern United States and then to the Pacific Northwestern States where extensive old-growth forests still were available. Early records are vague about the distribution of white pine forests, the age and size of the trees, and the volumes of harvested pine lumber. But old reports and photographs remain and scattered information is available from general harvest records; witness trees listed in many land survey records provide general knowledge about the distribution of pine forests (Marschner 1974, Heinselman 1996, Lorimer 2008, Jackson et al. 2000). Observations also are available from reserved areas of old-growth white and red pine forests in Pennsylvania (Figure 5), in Ontario (Henry and Quinby 2010), in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota (Heinselman (1996), in Itasca State Park of northern Minnesota, in Algonquin Provincial Park in central Ontario, and in Quetico Provincial Park (Peruniak 2000, Nelson 2009) in northwestern Ontario. These many sources indicate that old-growth pine forests usually were in scattered stands separated by lakes, poorly drained wetlands or peat bogs, upland rock outcrops, shallow moraines, recently burned areas and by stands of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.), white birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh), black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.). Old-growth stands usually were mostly white pine but in many areas old-growth red pine was a minor NWSI Information Report IR-007
Figure 5. Old-growth white pine at Cook State Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania. The super-dominant white pine has a tolerant understorey of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr.) and American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) Sad to say this magnificent old-growth forest is no more. A few years after these photographs were taken a severe wind storm felled most of the large white pine and today only a small old-growth fragment remains. Photographs by Willard Carmean.
component of these stands; red pine also is a long-lived pine species that occasionally occurs as single trees or in almost pure old-growth red pine forests (Rudolf 1990) (Figure 6).
Figure 4. Old-growth white pine and red pine forests in northern Minnesota were harvested in the late 1800s and early 1900s using a network of logging railroads extending north to the Ontario border.
Eastern white pine in northwestern Ontario was mostly confined to the Great Lakesâ€Šâ€“â€ŠSt. Lawrence forest region, which borders on northern Minnesota. Scattered outliers also occur further north in the Boreal forest region where rivers run through larger valleys and drain into northern Lake Superior (Figure 1). White pine was less common in northwestern Ontario in contrast to central Ontario where pine forests commonly occurred in extensive areas of sandy soils derived from glaciofluval outwash. Existing old-growth white pine stands, as well as old photographs, indicate that white pine in northwestern Ontario grew as well as pines in central Ontario.
Photographs by Frank King. NWSI Information Report IR-007
The early white pine logging era in Ontario is well illustrated and described at the outstanding Visitor Information Centre at Algonquin Provincial Park. Large pines were felled and often were squared using broadaxes for assembly into rafts. The rafts were floated down river and then were dismantled and the logs used in local sawmills or were loaded onto trains and into ships for transport elsewhere in North America or for foreign countries (Figure 7).
Figure 7. Loggers wielding broadaxes squared “sticks” of white pine for assembly into rafts (upper). A raft of squared white pine logs floats by the House of Commons in the Ottawa River (lower). The raft will be floated down river where the raft will be dismantled and the logs will be used in local sawmills or will be shipped elsewhere in North America or shipped overseas. Photographs provided by National Archives of Canada.
Figure 6. Old-growth red pine commonly is a minor component of old-growth white pine forests. An old growth red pine tree at the Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve (upper); an old-growth red pine tree at Sowden Lake northeast of Ignace (middle); an almost pure old-growth red pine forest at the Clay Lake Conservation Reserve near Vermilion Bay (bottom). Photographs by Willard Carmean.
Records from Old Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay describe how buildings were constructed using white pine and red pine trees found near the original Old Fort 1. Bertrand (1997) and Wightman and Wightman (1997) describe how extensive old-growth white pine and red pine forests between Thunder Bay and Pigeon River were logged during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Old-growth pine forests were particularly important on Mt. McKay as well as along the Pigeon, Arrow, Pine, Cloud, Slate and Whitefish rivers. Oldgrowth pine forests extended westward through Quetico Provincial Park (Peruniak 2000, Nelson 2009, Henry and Quinby 2010) as far as Kenora and southeastern Manitoba (Figure 1). 1
Discussions with Jean Morrison, Historian, Old Fort William Historical Park. NWSI Information Report IR-007
Fortunately the Thunder Bay Historical Museum has a photograph of High Falls on the Pigeon River taken about 1906 (Figure 8). In this photograph we see large pine logs filling the Pigeon River above the falls and men with pikes are directing logs through a chute that bypassed the 30 m (100 feet) high falls. Remains of this logging chute still are evident to visitors who hike up the trail to scenic High Falls.
Figure 9. A horse-drawn sledge loaded with large white pine logs (upper); large white pine and red pine logs piled on the ice at Sandstone Lake waiting for spring melt-up (lower). Photographs by Jantunen and Turk.
Figure 8. High Falls on the Pigeon River was a barrier for canoe travel by Aboriginal peoples as well as for voyageurs of the fur trade (upper). High Falls also was a barrier for river drives. The lower photo taken about 1906 shows large logs in the river above the falls and men with pikes are guiding logs into a chute that by-passed the falls. Photographs provided by Willard Carmean and Thunder Bay Historical Museum.
Descriptions and photographs showing old-growth white pine and red pine trees logged in the Whitefish, Arrow, Roundtable, Sandstone and Mountain lakes area have been published by Jantunen and Turk (1996, 2000)â€Š2. Extensive pine stands also were logged around Gunflint Lake, North Lake and South Lake (Raff 1988). Figures 9, 10, and 11 show horse-drawn sledges loaded with large pine logs as well as farm trucks used for hauling sledges or for directly hauling logs to mills in Port Arthur and Fort William. 2
â€ŠAppreciation is extended to Linda Turk who provided photographs (Figures 9, 10, and 11) on file in the Hymers Museum.
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Figure 10. Farm trucks were used for hauling logs on sledges (upper) or for carrying large white pine logs (lower). Photographs by Jantunen and Turk.
Figure 11. Sometimes the ice on lakes was too thin and the sledge loaded with logs broke through the ice. Photograph by Jantunen and Turk.
Waters (1987) states that the white pine logging era came somewhat later in northwestern Ontario and northeastern Minnesota than in southern Ontario. Eastern areas usually had relatively gentle topography and large rivers where rafts and harvested logs could be easily transported by river drives. But the rugged coast of western Lake Superior was bordered by “Nor’Wester” mountains; high waterfalls and swift rapids made river drives difficult because logs would be shattered if driven over such high waterfalls (Figure 8).
(Figure 12) 4. TODAY we find only a few remaining oldgrowth white pine and red pine forests in the northern part of Quetico park. But the Hunters Island area in the central and southern portion of Quetico park was never logged and here old-growth white and red pine forests are more common. Similar old-growth pine forests remain in the adjacent unlogged Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota (Ahlgren and Ahlgren 1984, Heinselman 1996).
Logging old-growth pine forests inland from the rugged Nor’Wester Mountain areas bordering western Lake Superior was mostly delayed until logging railroads were developed (Waters 1987). In northeastern Minnesota a network of logging railroads (Figure 4) extended northward from Two Harbors, Duluth and Cloquet to the Ontario border (King 1981, Hawkinson and Jewett 2003, Ryan 1975 – 1986). In northwestern Ontario the P.A.D. and W. (Port Arthur, Duluth and Western) railway extended from Port Arthur southwest to the Paulson Mines near Gunflint Lake (Ruff 1981, Barr 1999). Somewhat later the Canadian Northern Railway, now the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.), extended from Port Arthur to Kenora and further westward. The C.P.R. provided access for logging pine forests in the northern part of Quetico Provincial Park (Peruniak 2000, Nelson 2009, Henry and Quinby 2010) as well as for logging pine forests westward to Kenora. Oldgrowth white pine forests were cut at Lac des Mille Lacs, Rainy Lake, Rainy River, Rat Portage, Vermilion Bay, and Indian Lake; these forests were logged for buildings in Winnipeg and for homesteads in the Manitoba prairies (Wightman and Wightman 1997) 3. Peruniak (2000), Nelson (2009) and Henry and Quinby (2010) described logging old-growth pine forests in the northern part of Quetico Provincial Park that continued until the early 1970s; their books outlining early Quetico park history contain several excellent photographs showing logging in Quetico park 3
The Kenora Museum contains several unpublished reports that describe early logging history in the Kenora area: A nonymous. n.d. Lumbering (notes brought in by Edgar Strain originals from Joe Shiezek). 37 pp. A nonymous. n.d. Lumbering in the Rat Portage District. 2 pp. Eyler, Phil. n.d. Kenora’s sawmills in the 1890s. 11 pp. Shaw, Allan. 1976. Sand ahead! A simple tale of old-time logging camps in the era of man and horses only. (In: Kenora Museum, 4 pages from 159 pp. report). Jordan, Andrew. 2000. History of logging and pulp cutting in Kenora 1927-1947. (Transcribed discussion by Pat Bays). 18 pp. Anonymous. n.d. Early logging industry. 16 pp.
Figure 12. Old growth white pine and red pine forests were logged in the northern part of Quetico Provincial Park until the early 1970s. (Peruniak 2000, Nelson 2009). Photographs provided by Shirley Peruniak, Jon Nelson, and Atikokan Centennial Museum. 4
The John B. Ridley Research Library for Quetico Provincial Park located in Atikokan contains many excellent photographs as well as several unpublished reports describing early Quetico park history: Bowes, Bob. 1970. Preliminary history of logging in Quetico Provincial Park. 47 pp. Logging Chronology Quetico Provincial Park (updated). Pringle, J. 1989. The Quetico Tall Pine Research Project. Hosick, Paul, et al. 1999. Early white pine logging, Sapawe Forest. Scoular, Matt. 2008. Map of timber berths in Quetico Park showing harvest years from 1935 to 1970. 1 pp. MNR. NWSI Information Report IR-007
II. White pine today TODAY only a few old-growth white pine and red pine forests remain in northwestern Ontario. Usually we find scattered old lone pine trees surrounded by dense younger stands of trembling aspen and white birch; only a few young pines have regenerated because of this dense hardwood competition (Figure 13).
Figure 13. TODAY white pine in northwestern Ontario usually occurs as isolated “lone pines” towering over younger-aged white birch and trembling aspen stands. A dense tolerant understorey of balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.), spruce and shrub species usually occurs in these hardwood stands. Photograph by Lori Fox-Rossi.
Fortunately a few old-growth white pine and red pine forests remain in Quetico Provincial Park, on the islands in Lake of the Woods, and in several Conservation Reserves in northwestern Ontario designated by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. One of the most outstanding old-growth white pine forests is the Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve located near the eastern border of Quetico Provincial Park (Wilkins 1994, Henry and Quinby 2011). Here we find a large, fully-stocked old-growth white pine forest with trees that increment-core measurements show are about 300 yearsof-age and more than 1.0 m (3.3 ft.) in diameter (Figures 14 and 15). This old-growth forest typically has many dead and fallen trees in varying stages of decay (Figure 15). Reserving the few remaining old-growth white pine and red pine forests found in northwestern Ontario is a commendable action; inventories listing many of these remaining old-growth forests are available (Pinto and Christilaw n.d., Simpson 1996). Many of these remaining old-growth pine forests could be recommended as conservation reserves using the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources “Room to Grow” program (OFAAB 2002). But we should recognize that most of TODAY’s old-growth white pine and red pine forests in Ontario are mature, even-aged, long-lived successional forests usually regenerated following pre-settlement wildfires (Wendel NWSI Information Report IR-007
Figure 14. The Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve has many 300-year-old white pine trees exceeding 1.0 m (3.5 feet) in diameter. Photographs by Lori Fox-Rossi and Willard Carmean.
Inventories (FRI) surveys for northwestern Ontario reveal that TODAY the vast majority of white pine occurs in mixedwood stands. Only 12.8 percent of the white pine is found in the white pine “working group”; most white pine occurs as single trees (Figure 13) or as small clumps of trees in the aspen (30.6%), balsam fir (14.7%), and white birch (17.7%) working groups (Bowling and Niznowski 1996).
Figure 15. The Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve (upper) has pronounced vertical stand diversity consisting of: (i) a super-dominant canopy of large white pine; (ii) a lower canopy of white and black spruce, balsam fir and a few hardwood species; (iii) a tolerant balsam fir and shrub understorey of green alder and mountain maple, and (iv) a rich herb understorey. Standing and fallen dead trees (lower) in varying stages of decay provide habitats for lichens, mosses, ferns, fungi and woody plants. These dead trees also provide habitat for a wide variety of animals and birds. White pine regeneration is sparse in the understorey of this fullystocked old growth forest; only a few small suppressed seedlings occur that usually are less than one-metre tall. Photographs by Willard Carmean.
and Smith 1990, Rudolf 1990, Frelich 1992). These longlived forests now are in the final stages of their life cycle. We can enjoy and study these old-growth forests TODAY while they remain but eventually these magnificent old trees will succumb to decadence and the ravages of time. The type of forest that follows the death of these oldgrowth white and red pine trees probably will be less attractive having few of the aesthetic and environmental values associated with TODAY’s remaining old-growth white pine and red pine forests. The few remaining old-growth white pine forests of TODAY are the most obvious representation for white pine in northwestern Ontario. However, Forest Resources 8
TODAY, FRI surveys for northwestern Ontario show a definite skewed distribution of age classes for both white pine and red pine forests (OMNR 1992, Bowling and Niznowski 1996). About half of the remaining white pine stands in northwestern Ontario are in older mature age classes and there is a definite lack of midage or younger-aged stands. Similar tree and age-class distribution also occur for white pine in northeastern Ontario (Latremouille et al. 2008). TODAY, as well as YESTERDAY, we face the problem of sustaining a diversity of age classes for white pine in the forest landscape of northwestern Ontario. The reason is the scarcity of pine regeneration and younger-aged pine stands needed for replacing these few remaining oldgrowth stands. The old-growth white pine and red pine trees in these forests of TODAY will eventually succumb due to death from disease, insects, windthrow or wildfire. We need to take silvicultural steps TODAY that will aid in white pine and red pine regeneration so that younger-aged stands will be available that can become the mature and old-growth white pine and red pine forests of TOMORROW. Bowling et al. (1994), Bowling and Niznowski (1996) and Bryson et al. (1996) have summarized the largely unsuccessful experiences for natural white pine regeneration as well as for the consistently unsuccessful efforts to establish white pine plantations in northwestern Ontario. The three primary reasons for lack of success for both natural white pine regeneration and for plantations are: (i) woody tree, shrub and herbaceous competition; (ii) white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola J.C. Fischer); (iii) wildlife damage; and furthermore, (iv) young white pine trees often are severely deformed by the white pine weevil (Pissodes strobi Peck). Similar reasons also occur in northeastern Ontario (Latremouille et al. 2008) as well as in the Lake States where white pine regeneration also suffers from competition, blister rust, weevil, and wildlife damage (Ostry et al. 2010). In northwestern Ontario white pine plantations were often planted between 1955 and 1965 (Bowling and Niznowski 1996). But consistent plantation failures resulted in greatly decreased planting after 1970. White pine had gained the reputation as a species difficult to establish (Marty 1986, Jones 1992). NWSI Information Report IR-007
Six white pine plantings were established in National Forests in the northern Lake States between 1989 and 1999 to evaluate the impacts of blister rust, white pine weevil, browsing and competition on tree growth and survival (Katovich et al. 2004). Results showed that deer browsing and competition caused widespread mortality. But mortality caused by blister rust has been relatively minor and Armillaria root disease killed more trees than blister rust.
Limited white pine regeneration Multiple reasons account for TODAY’s limited natural regeneration of both white pine and red pine in northwestern Ontario; many of these same reasons also account for the poor success of white pine plantations. • Reduced seed source. Harvesting old-growth pine forests removed much of the seed source needed for regenerating new white pine and red pine forests. Furthermore, most old-growth pine areas probably were repeatedly burned following logging thus destroying unharvested pine seed trees as well as destroying newly regenerated seedling and sapling stands. TODAY large areas of northwestern Ontario have few or no white pine or red pine trees because these areas probably never had pine forests, or because the original pine forests were totally eliminated by harvesting and by the fires that followed harvesting. • Widely spaced seed years. Both white pine and red pine only have good seed years spaced about three to seven years apart (Wendel and Smith 1990, Rudolf 1990). Accordingly, natural regeneration may not occur in poor seed years even though favourable seedbeds might be created by burning, logging or by site preparation. • Limited planting. Most forest industries in northwestern Ontario do not use white pine and red pine for pulp and newsprint, thus their planting programs have been mostly restricted to black spruce, white spruce (Picea glauca (Moensch) Voss) and jack pine that are favoured by these industries. Also planting white pine is usually avoided because of concerns about blister rust and weevil. • Reduced wildfire. Frequent pre-settlement wildfires reduced competition from hardwood tree, shrub and herbaceous species, thus frequently burned areas usually had favourable seedbeds for pine regeneration. But successful fire control as well as commercial harvesting favoured increased regeneration of trembling aspen, white birch, balsam fir and spruce resulting in severe competition for pine regeneration. A common experience is regeneration to trembling NWSI Information Report IR-007
aspen and white birch stands following the harvesting of conifer stands (Hearnden et al. 1992). This is why site preparation and herbicide application usually is needed for establishing successful conifer plantations. Most of our old-growth white pine and red pine forests naturally regenerated following pre-settlement wildfires (Wendel and Smith 1990, Rudolf 1990, Frelich 1992, Nelson 2009) so prescribed fire has been recommended for natural pine regeneration by Heinselman (1996) for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota, for Quetico Provincial Park (Beverly and Martell 2003) and for Pukaskwa National Park in northwestern Ontario (Wade and Hall 2000), and for northeastern Ontario (Latremouille et al. 2008). McRae et al. (1994) suggested that understorey prescribed burning might be used for regenerating both white pine and red pine forests. But Ahlgren and Ahlgren (1984) point out that prescribed fire in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is a complex issue because of great variations in fire intensity, fire fuels and weather conditions, as well as variations in competing tree, brush and herbaceous species. • Increased competition from trembling aspen, white birch, and balsam fir, as well as from shrub and herbaceous species, is one of the major reasons for lack of successful natural regeneration of white pine and red pine. However, much research is now available for vegetation control using both mechanical and chemical means (Wagner 2005, Wagner et al. 2001, Wagner et al. 2004, Campbell et al. 2001). Control of woody and herbaceous competition in early years is particularly important for white pine and red pine seedlings (Pitt et al. 2011) because both of these pines are relatively intolerant of competition. In addition both white pine and red pine seedlings have slow early height growth until they reach about 1.2 or 1.5 m (4 or 5 feet) in height where more rapid and sustained height growth occurs (Wendel and Smith 1990, Rudolf 1990). In contrast, competing aspen and birch suckers and sprouts have very rapid early height growth that overtops the slowergrowing pine seedlings; this hardwood competition usually requires control until pines reach a “freeto-grow” status. We now know that successful pine regeneration, particularly on areas having good site quality, usually requires intensive sitespecific practices that can control early competition until pines reach a size where free-to-grow height growth occurs. • White pine blister rust is an exotic disease introduced into North America in the early 1900s; Benedict (1981), Hummer (2000) and Ahlgren and Ahlgren 9
(1984) discuss how millions of eastern white pine seedlings were imported from European nurseries in the early 1900s. These white pine seedlings were imported because our small North American nurseries were unable to meet the great demand for eastern white pine planting stock. Unfortunately many of these imported eastern white pine seedlings were infected with blister rust that was commonly found on eastern white pine planted in Europe as well as on other European species of five-needled pines. Blister rust spores from gooseberries and currents (Ribes spp.), the alternate host, infect moist needles of white pine seedlings and saplings (Figure 16) and this infection then spreads to twigs, and finally girdles the stem killing the white pine seedlings (French 1992, Katovich et al. 2004, Geils et al. 2010, Ostry et al. 2010). But research (Van Arsdel 1961) found that the weak link in blister rust infection is the transfer of disease spores from Ribes to the needles of white pine — cool and moist conditions are needed for spore germination where needles remain moist usually from dew accumulation. This knowledge was used to classify the Lake States and Ontario into broad blister rust hazard zones (Van Arsdel 1961, Gross 1985). Unfortunately, northwestern Ontario is in a broad high hazard zone where rust infection is most likely. However, within this broad high hazard zone dew accumulation can be heavy, thus the hazard from blister rust infection can vary greatly with the topography. Therefore site selection is critical in northwestern Ontario and we should avoid locating white pine plantations where dew accumulation is most likely — stream bottomlands, base of slopes, north-facing slopes, frost pockets and small canopy openings. Guidelines for recognizing local areas having high blister rust hazard have been given by Ostry et al. (2010) and by Hodge et al. (1989). Pruning and vegetation control are means for minimizing blister rust infection. Pruning lower branches from saplings and pole-sized white pine trees raises tree crowns above dew lines thus reducing incidence of infection (Hodge et al. 1989). Van Arsdel (1961) suggests that maintaining an overstorey cover keeps the understorey drier thus reducing moisture accumulation on pine foliage. Reducing understorey shrub and herb vegetation using herbicides reduces competition as well as allowing better air circulation thus less moisture condensation on pine needles. Reducing understories favours less browsing and damage from deer and hare.
Figure 16. Blister rust spores produced on gooseberries and currents (Ribes spp.) germinate on the moist needles of white pine and infection then spreads to the twigs and stems of the pine. Red and yellow flagging on infected white pine needles (upper and middle); swollen and discoloured twigs of white pine (bottom left); cankers and fruiting bodies on stem of white pine (bottom right). Photographs by Richard Wilson, OMNR.
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Eastern white pine is genetically variable (Buchart 1994) and selection and breeding programs are underway with the goal of developing diseaseresistant planting stock (French 1992, King et al. 1981, Ostry et al. 2010). The Ontario breeding program for developing blister rust resistant white pine has been described by Lu and Derbowka (2009). Limited success has been obtained within the eastern white pine species, but progress resulted using hybrids between eastern white pine and blue pine (Pinus wallichiana A.B. Jacks), a tree species native to the Himalayas. A resistant strain of eastern white pine has been reported; disease resistance is related to thicker epicuticular wax that restricts the penetration of disease mycelia into the stomatae of pine needles (Smith et al. 2006). The alternate host (Ribes spp.) for blister rust has many species growing in a wide range of habitats, and these different Ribes species vary in susceptibility to blister rust thus must be considered in programs for blister rust control (Zambino 2010). Blister rust infection on white pine seedlings has been reduced for three or four years using a spray or slowrelease tablets containing triadimefon (a systemic fungicide) and fertilizer (Berube 1996, Pitt et al. 2006). â€˘ White pine weevil is the major insect problem for eastern white pine (Jones 1992). Terminal leaders often are girdled and killed by weevil larvae (Figure 17) resulting in trees with multiple or forked leaders thus deformed trees having poor-quality boles, and by inference poor future sawlogs (Lavallee 1992, Katovich 1992, Katovich et al. 2004). Weevil adults, larvae and eggs in the dead infected leaders fall to the ground and in the spring weevils emerge and infect other white pines in the plantation. The female weevil is low-flying and selects fastgrowing, young, vigorous white pine seedlings for depositing eggs because these seedlings have leaders with large diameters and thick bark. The presence of some overhead shade reduces leader diameter and vigor thus reducing the incidence of weevil attacks (de Groot et al. 2005, Ostry et al. 2010). Closely spaced white pine plantations tend to have trees with better form and more able to recover from weevil attack than trees in widely spaced plantations (de Groot et al. 2005). Chemical measures are possible for weevil control, and prompt corrective pruning can be used to favour the best lateral branch as the new leader (Hodge et al. 1989, Szuba and Pinto 1991). Genetically based resistance to the white pine weevil has been reported for eastern white pine (Verrez et al. 2010). NWSI Information Report IR-007
Figure 17. White pine weevils deposit eggs in the terminal leaders of white pine and the weevil larvae then girdle the leader resulting in multiple or forked leaders and deformed white pine trees. Photograph by Peter de Groot.
Tree shelters (clear plastic tubes of various lengths and diameters) (Figure 18) have been used in West Virginia (Smith 1993) and northwestern Pennsylvania (Walters 1993) to improve early growth and survival of planted northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) seedlings. Plastic tree shelters also improved the growth and survival of red oak and white pine seedlings in Connecticut in an area having large deer populations (Ward et al. 2000). Benefits for white pine seedlings using tree shelters are: (i) more rapid seedling growth within shelters due to improved microclimate; (ii) rapid production of taller seedlings having crowns raised above dew lines; (iii) protection from competition and from browsing by hare and deer; and (iv) protection of pine needles from blister rust spores and from weevils. â€˘ Animal damage. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimm.), and moose (Alces alces L.) browse on tender terminal leaders of white pine and red pine seedlings and are a serious hazard in areas having large deer and moose populations. Snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus Esxi) sometimes girdle seedlings, and porcupines (Erethizon dursatum L.) sometimes girdle larger trees below the crown where bark is thinner (Jones 1992, Pastor 1992, Katovich et al. 2004, Ostry et al. 2010). 11
• Landscape diversity values. Old-growth white pine occasionally occurs in a few large, continuous stands such as the Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve (Figures 14 and 15); such large and continuous stands usually were the first to be harvested. More common TODAY are mixedwood stands having: (i) a few small stands or clumps of old-growth white pine; and (ii) scattered lone pines (Figure 13) surrounded by mixedwoods having a mixture of trembling aspen, white birch, tamarack (Larix laricina (Du Roi) K. Koch), spruces, balsam fir and jack pine. This common diverse landscape pattern for white pine in mixedwood stands in northwestern Ontario is described by FRI surveys (OMNR 1992, Bowling and Niznowski 1996).
Figure 18. Clear plastic tubing (tree shelters) varying in diameter and length can protect white pine seedlings from wildlife damage and competition as well as from blister rust and weevils. Improved microclimate within the tubing also favours more rapid early tree height growth. Photograph by Russell Waters.
Values of old-growth white pine forests Ecological studies TODAY show that old-growth white pine forests are complex ecosystems having many features not found in younger, second-growth pine forests or in other forest cover types. These features include both stand and landscape diversity that provides a wide diversity of habitats for plant, animal and bird species (Naylor 1994, Henry and Quinby 2010). • Stand diversity values. Old-growth white pine forests in northwestern Ontario growing on productive soils (Figures 14 and 15), have pronounced vertical diversity consisting of several distinctive canopy layers: (i) a super-dominant canopy of large oldgrowth white pine; (ii) a lower canopy of more tolerant tree species such as balsam fir and spruces as well as a few trembling aspen and white birch trees; (iii) a tolerant shrub layer of green alder (Alnus crispa (Ait.) Pursh) and mountain maple, (Acer spicatum Lam.); and (iv) a rich herbaceous understorey layer. Stand diversity is further increased by standing dead trees as well as fallen trees in varying stages of decay (Figure 15). 12
• Wildlife values. The vertical and landscape diversity of old-growth white pine forests described above produces diverse habitat for wildlife. Each of the vertical layers of old-growth white pine forests provides unique habitats for certain animal, bird or plant species. For example, the vertical diversity of old-growth white pine and red pine forests provides favourable habitats for black bear (Ursus americanus Pallus) (Rogers and Lindquist 1992) as well as habitats for many species of birds including the pine warbler (Dendroica pinus) (Green 1992). The large crowns of the super-dominant white pine are favoured for nesting by bald eagles (Haliacetus leucocephalus) and osprey (Pandion haliqetus) (Rogers and Lindquist 1992). The large standing dead or fallen trees provide habitats not usually present in younger secondgrowth forests. For example, large standing dead trees may have large cavities excavated by pileated woodpeckers (Oryocopus pileatus). These large cavities then are used by barred owls (Strix varia) as well as by many species of waterfowl, small birds and small mammals; pine martin (Martes americana) also use these cavities and are attracted by small rodents that inhabit standing or fallen dead trees (Henry and Quinby 2010). Management practices for wildlife habitat in red and white pine forests of central Ontario have been discussed by Naylor (1994). • Aesthetics and recreation values. Large and majestic trees in old-growth white pine forests, such as the Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve (Figures 14 and 15), are valued by the public for park and recreation use (Haider 1992, Tlusty 1992). Many of Ontario’s provincial parks and provincial conservation reserves were established in recognition of the aesthetic, recreation and biodiversity values associated with old-growth white pine and red pine forests (OMNR 1994). White pine has been designated as the provincial tree of Ontario. The NWSI Information Report IR-007
Iroquois “Tree of Peace” (Figure 2) still provides the aesthetic, artistic and symbolic feelings that were described earlier. Many conservation minded peoples and organizations object to the logging of old-growth white pine and red pine forests and these objections can become vocal and even violent as illustrated by the controversy associated with logging old-growth white pine and red pine forests at Temagami (Figure 19) (Hodgens 1992, Henry and Quinby 2010). The public response to the Temagami issue is partially responsible for the many hearings and the final report “Conserving Ontario’s Old-Growth Forest Ecosystems” (OMNR 1994). The “Old-growth Initiative” resulted in the establishment of many Ontario Conservation Reserves for protection of old-growth white pine and red pine forests (OFAAB 2002).
tropical and subtropical countries provide increased competition for Canadian fibre products. Proposals have been made for supplementing our singleproduct fiber industries with diversified value-added secondary forest industries. Developing increased areas of more diversified forests containing white pine and red pine would provide valued trees for supporting such diversified, value-added secondary forest industries. Establishing natural stands and plantations of white pine and red pine could meet the needs for old-growth forests of the future as well as providing additional areas of quality trees needed by diversified value-added forest industries of the future.
The controversy over logging old-growth white pine forests in Ontario resembles the larger controversy over logging old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwestern States (Spies and Duncan 2009). These western old-growth forests have many complex values including economic, ecological, environmental, sociological and philosophical values. Decades of debate and political action in the Pacific Northwestern States emphasized that the many complex noncommercial values of old-growth forests often exceed their material values for forest products. Our oldgrowth eastern white pine forests also have many similar non-material values expressed by feelings of awe and humility associated with cathedral-like groves of towering old-growth white pine and red pine forests (Tlusty 1992, Henry and Quinby 2010). • Commercial values. The large clear boles of oldgrowth white pine and red pine trees (Figures 5, 6, 14, and 15) have considerable value for wood products. Old-growth trees in such fully-stocked forests usually have large knot-free boles containing clear lumber that is prized for interior trim, cabinet work, framing and furniture; large pine boles also are valued for utility poles and cabin logs. But TODAY few old-growth pine trees remain in the forests of northwestern Ontario, and most of the few remaining old-growth pine forests on Crown lands are restricted from harvesting. The forest industries of northwestern Ontario continue to be mostly based on fibre products such as pulp and newsprint. But many of these industries are closing or downsizing due to increased energy costs, as well as diminished markets for Canadian pulp and newsprint resulting in decreased demand for fibre product. In addition, rapid-growing high-yielding pine and eucalyptus plantations in NWSI Information Report IR-007
Figure 19. Old-growth white pine and red pine forests located on Temagami Island. Photograph by Willard Carmean.
III. White pine tomorrow The forest industries of YESTERDAY based on harvesting old-growth white pine and red pine forests were not sustainable because younger pine seedlings and saplings and mid-aged stands usually were not available for replacing the harvested old-growth stands. In like manner a sustained presence of old-growth white pine forests TOMORROW in northwestern Ontario will not be possible if we only confine our efforts to identifying and reserving the few remaining old-growth pine stands such as the Greenwood Lake White Pine Conservation Reserve (Figures 5, 6, 14, and 15). These majestic old trees eventually will be naturally harvested by insects, disease, wind or fire. The sustained presence of old-growth white pine and red pine forests in the forest landscape of TOMORROW will require a continuous establishment of regenerating young white pine and red pine forests just as a sustained yield of forests for commercial purposes requires a continuous establishment of newly regenerating forests to replace those that are harvested for commercial use. A sustained presence TOMORROW of old-growth white pine and red pine forests in northwestern Ontario will require efforts at all stages of their life cycle — seedlings, saplings, and mid-age stands as well as old-growth stands. Establishing these younger stands will require intensive site-specific silvicultural practices for regenerating and maintaining young white pine and red pine stands TODAY that can evolve into the mature old-growth white pine and red pine forests of TOMORROW. The multiple reasons for limited regeneration of white pine in northwestern Ontario are now well known. The consistently poor natural regeneration for white pine, as well as the poor survival for white pine plantations, is discouraging but we should not conclude that successful regeneration of white pine is impossible. Instead we should recognize that extensive management is not sufficient for white pine. I suggest that what is needed is more intensive site-specific management for white pine in both mixedwood stands and in white pine plantations. More intensive silvicultural practices are needed to address the major reasons for failure that have been previously discussed — hardwood and brush competition, blister rust, weevil, and wildlife damage. Intensive management practices are particularly important for the first few years following natural regeneration or after planting because this is the critical time when competition and the other multiple problems most affect the survival and growth of white pine and red pine seedlings. Mixedwood stands containing white pine and red pine are opportunities for using more intensive site-specific 14
silvicultural practices for increasing the area of white pine and red pine in northwestern Ontario. The reason is that both white pine and red pine found in mixedwood stands are long-lived species compared to the relatively shortlived trembling aspen, white birch, jack pine, spruce, and balsam fir found in mixedwood stands. As mixedwood stands mature we often find that these associated hardwood and conifer species have slowed growth, suffer from disease and insect damage, and most of these associated trees will naturally die at perhaps 80 to 135 years of age. In contrast, the long-lived white pine and red pine trees usually remain vigorous and their dominance in stands increases as the associated species are lost due to natural mortality. Successional changes where mixedwood stands slowly evolve into white pine stands are indicated by Forest Survey reports for the Lake States; reports for northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota show a 28 percent gain in the white pine forest type when compared to older forest survey reports (Spencer et al. 1992). Much of this increase in the white pine forest type appears due to the maturity and subsequent mortality of associated aspen and other hardwood and conifer species in mixedwood stands resulting in a slow natural stand conversion to longer-lived white pine and red pine forests.
Intensive site-specific silvicultural practices for mixedwood stands Natural succession in mixedwood stands containing white pine and red pine provides an opportunity to use silvicultural practices that can assist and accelerate natural conversion to white pine and red pine forests. However, we should recognize the great variations in mixedwood stands in northwestern Ontario. Mixedwood stands contain a wide mixture of different hardwood and conifer species, they occur on a wide range of soils having a wide range of site quality, stands can be even-aged or uneven-aged, stands can vary greatly in stocking and some mixedwood stands may contain much merchantable timber in contrast to many overmature mixedwood stands having little merchantable value. Research is needed to better document natural successional trends for these variable mixedwood forests and research trials are needed to determine the appropriate silvicultural practices needed for hastening the natural conversion of mixedwood stands to pine stands. Following are studies showing efforts for improving white pine composition and growth in mixedwood stands: Understorey 55-year-old white pine were released from an 80-year-old mixedwood stand in central Ontario (Stiell et al. 1994). After 20 years this release resulted in about an 80 percent increase in white pine sawlog NWSI Information Report IR-007
volume. Release also salvaged much of the normal white pine mortality expected in untreated mixedwood stands. A mature mixedwood stand at the Petawawa Research Forest in eastern Ontario was partially cut to favour scattered white pine and red pine (Bevilacqua et al. 2005). The released pine were about 68 years old and diameter growth of released pine increased compared with slower diameter growth of pine in the unreleased portion of this mixedwood stand. At the Petawawa Research Forest in eastern Ontario white pine was underplanted in a dense 13-year-old trembling aspen sucker stand; a portion of the aspen stand was thinned (Clements 1966). After 24 years survival of pine was greatly reduced in both the thinned and unthinned areas probably due to severe competition from aspen suckers as well as competition from prolific regeneration of understorey red maple (Acer rubrum L.). But the few surviving white pine seedlings in the thinned area had good height growth once seedlings reached a height of about 1.2 m (4 feet). Early and continuous control of herbaceous and woody plant competition resulted in maximum height and diameter growth of planted and natural white pine seedlings (Pitt et al. 2011). This study involved 100-yearold stands of mixed white and red pine on fine loamy sands; one stand was near North Bay, Ontario and one stand was in central New Brunswick. Both stands were given uniform shelterwood regeneration cuts followed by scarification and herbicide application prior to planting containerized white pine seedlings. Competition control for six growing seasons showed that planted seedlings had height growth more than twice the height growth of naturally regenerated seedlings. In northeastern Minnesota white pine saplings were released in a 65-year-old stand of mixed trembling aspen and various hardwoods growing on loamy sand (Puettmann and Saunders 2000). Height and diameter growth of the white pine saplings increased following release. Another northeastern Minnesota study involved release of natural white pine in a 15-year-old sapling trembling aspen stand (Zenner et al. 2005). Again white pine responded after release by increased height and diameter growth. In the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia white pine was underplanted in a poor site beneath a mature mixed oak stand (Wendel 1971). After 15 years, survival of the planted white pine was excellent and height and diameter growth of pines was greatly improved after release from the overstorey hardwoods. An undergraduate forestry thesis at Lakehead University reported results of a Ministry of Natural Resources NWSI Information Report IR-007
survey of 55 locations in northwestern Ontario that were affected by harvesting and wildfire (Baker 1999). Results showed that natural white pine regeneration after harvesting was best on coarse-textured soils and on soils that were shallow to bedrock. Natural regeneration was improved by site preparation and regeneration was best closest to pine seed trees. White pine blister rust was found on only 5.9 percent, and white pine weevil was found on only 8.9 percent, of living white pine regeneration. Results from the above scattered research reports together with general field observations enable us to make the following general recommendations: • No treatment. When adequate numbers of good quality white pine and red pine trees occur in mature mixedwood stands we could leave these stands alone and let natural succession slowly evolve resulting in conversion to mature white and red pine forests. • Stand release. When mature mixedwood stands contain adequate numbers of mature good-quality pines, girdling and herbicide treatment of the unwanted associated tree species could release the pines and thus hasten succession to pine forests. Leaving dead standing or downed trees would provide favourable habitats for many bird and animal species. • Understorey pine release. Poor-site mixedwood stands on shallow, coarse-textured soils sometimes have a natural understorey of white pine when a pine seed source is nearby. Overstorey hardwoods on such poor sites usually are defective even at younger ages and early “stand-breakup” usually is apparent. Aerial herbicides could be used to deaden the defective hardwood overstorey thus releasing the natural pine understorey; large containerized white pine seedlings could be planted in portions of the understorey that do not have adequate natural pine seedlings. • Understorey planting and release. Poor-site mixedwood stands on shallow, coarse-textured soils may not have a natural white pine understorey because no nearby pine seed source is available. For such poor-site mixedwood stands understorey planting using large, containerized white pine seedlings could be considered. After the planted pines are well established, aerial herbicides could be applied to deaden the defective hardwood overstorey. • Lonesome pine stands. Many mixedwood stands contain only a few widely scattered “lonesome pines” that tower over stands of younger-aged aspen and white birch (Figure 13). Ministry of Natural Resources practice usually is to retain these scattered old 15
white pine and red pine trees when the surrounding aspen, white birch, jack pine and spruce stands are harvested. The suggested silvicultural treatment for these “lonesome” pine mixedwood stands is to closely observe the cone crop on the mature white pine and red pine trees to estimate when a good pine seed year can be expected. The timing of silviculture treatment is important because both white pine and red pine only have good seed years spaced three to seven years apart (Wendel and Smith 1990, Rudolf 1990). When a good pine cone crop is evident the surrounding mixedwood stand could be clearcut a few weeks before expected pine seed fall. Then scarify the area to provide a good pine seedbed, and perhaps apply herbicides to inhibit the suckering or sprouting of the hardwoods. If good pine regeneration results, this natural regeneration could be carefully tended using herbicides in the same manner used with plantations of other tree species. But if natural pine regeneration is sparse then natural regeneration could be supplemented by planting large containerized white pine seedlings. • Prescribed fire has been recommended in Canada and in Ontario for many purposes including improving wildlife habitat, slash pile burning, fuelhazard reduction, controlling insects and diseases, forest species conversion, site preparation and as an important regeneration tool (Weber and Taylor 1992, McRae et al. 2001). However, before a prescribed burn is conducted a detailed plan must be developed to ensure that the burn is properly conducted and under the right safety conditions. Understorey prescribed fire has been recommended for eastern Ontario as a pre-harvest practice with white pine and red pine forests (McRae et al. 1994). The goal of this preharvest burn is to reduce understorey hardwoods, shrubs and balsam fir as well as to prepare receptive seedbeds for pine regeneration. Northwestern Ontario has limited areas of mature pine forests available for harvesting thus limited areas for pre-harvest prescribed fire. But, prescribed fire in northwestern Ontario, in contrast to eastern Ontario, could be used as a stand replacement tool for regenerating pine in areas where existing mixedwood and conifer stands are unmerchantable or where existing pine stands are very poorly stocked. Observations from natural wildfires as well as from a few prescribed fire studies show that white pine and red pine can be regenerated following forest fires (Wendel and Smith 1990, Rudolph 1990, Heinselman 1996, Nelson 2009). A lighting-caused wildfire in August, 1991 severely burned a 0.4 ha area at the Greenwood Lake 16
Conservation Reserve (Figure 20). This severe fire killed most of the old-growth white pine within the burned area, probably because of crown scorch, but white pine rapidly regenerated by seeding from undamaged pine bordering this small burned area. The burned area also rapidly regenerated to vigourous white birch sprouts that overtopped most of the white pine seedlings. Regeneration four years following this fire was studied by Craig (1995) and regeneration at nine years was studied by Vallittu (2002). They found that white pine regeneration continued to increase from the four-year study to the nine-year study. However, the vigourous white birch sprout competition also greatly increased and severely overtopped most of the pine regeneration (Figure 20). The Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve is maintained as an undisturbed natural area thus no vegetation control was applied to the burned area. However, if this area was managed for timber production herbicides might have been used to release the pine from the white birch sprout competition once the white pine seedlings were well established at perhaps four or five years following the fire. A massive wildfire in 1995 burned a 25,000 ha area of old-growth pine forest in the southeast part of Quetico Provincial Park. Regeneration following this wildfire was studied by Lynham and Curran (1998) and by Racey (2000), and this burn was discussed in detail by Nelson (2009). Studies based on measurements in 1996 and 1999 showed most of the burned area regenerated to white pine, red pine, and jack pine … the amount of jack pine regeneration exceeded that of white pine and red pine. Regeneration varied greatly depending on original stand composition, fire intensity, and amount of white birch and trembling aspen competition. Prescribed fire in Pukaskwa National Park was conducted in 1998. The area was a mixedwood stand having scattered white pine remaining from partial logging in the early 19 th century. Regeneration two years following the burn was reported by Wade and Hall (2000). The prescribed burn greatly reduced the understorey balsam fir and considerable numbers of white pine regenerated. Measurements also showed that many trembling aspen suckers regenerated as well as many sprouts of mountain ash (Sorbus americana Marsh.). A 49-hectare mixedwood stand 105 years-of-age near Vickers Lake in northwestern Ontario was logged in 1992; scattered unharvested white pine and red pine seed trees were left. Site preparation using a Bracke patch scarifier was done in the summer of 1993 and prescribed fire was applied in April 1994. Regeneration was studied in 2008, the 14 th growing season following the burn. NWSI Information Report IR-007
We now have scattered wildfire observations and a few studies about regeneration of white pine and red pine using prescribed fire. These observations and studies provide a basis for general recommendations about use of prescribed fire in regenerating white pine and red pine in northwestern Ontario. • Size of burned area. Prescribed fires should be limited to small areas where precautions (fire lanes, standby fire crews and equipment) can be taken, thus reducing risks from fires escaping beyond the area to be burned. Also a fire hot enough to create favourable seedbeds might be hot enough to severely damage or kill the pine seed trees within the burn area. Therefore burned areas that are relatively small probably would have undamaged seed trees bordering the burned area that could provide sufficient seed for regeneration even though seed trees within the burned area might have been killed by the fire.
Figure 20. A wildfire at the Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve in August 1991 severely burned a 0.4 ha area. Most of the large white pines were killed probably because of crown scorch. White pine rapidly regenerated by seeding from pine bordering the burned area; vigourous white birch sprouts also rapidly regenerated that overtopped most of the white pine seedlings. The upper photo shows the burned area in early spring of 1992; the lower photo shows dense white birch regeneration in 1999 eight years following the burn. Photographs by Willard Carmean.
Results 5 showed much white pine regeneration … about 1970 white pine stems per hectare were taller than one metre. Sixty plots were established in this study and 20 of these plots had white pine trees free of competition. Additional research is needed to more accurately determine the role of prescribed fire for regenerating white pine and red pine in northwestern Ontario. Studies are particularly needed about the stand and fuel conditions where prescribed fire can effectively be used to regenerate pine. Studies also are needed about silvicultural practices that will protect pine regeneration following fire so as to provide free-to grow pine regeneration. 5
Colin Bowling. Northwest Ontario Science and Information, Thunder Bay, Ontario (unpublished report).
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• Time of burn. Both white pine and red pine only have bumper seed crops spaced three to seven years apart. Thus poor regeneration might result because of poor seed years following a prescribed burn even when the burn creates receptive seedbeds. Accordingly observe the cone crop on the pine seed trees to determine if sufficient seed fall can be expected. When good seed crops are expected, the prescribed burn can be applied a few weeks before seed fall. • Stand and fuel conditions. Forest stands should have enough well-formed white pine and red pine seed trees available for providing seed following the prescribed burn. Enough fuel also should be available that can support a fire that will be hot enough to create suitable seedbeds for pine regeneration. Of course prescribed fires should only be applied during periods when fuels are dry enough to support a hot burn. Many mature mixedwood stands have many unmerchantable or dead hardwood trees as well as much budworm-killed balsam fir; but such stands may contain scattered white pine and red pine seed trees thus these stands would be good areas for a prescribed burn. Preburn treatments might include salvaging the few merchantable trees and then the remaining unmerchantable stand could be mechanically deadened or deadened using herbicides. Mechanical scarification and herbicide treatment of the hardwood shrub, and balsam fir before the burn also could be done. • Post-fire monitoring and treatments. Burned areas should be carefully monitored for a few years after the prescribed burn to determine the amount of pine regeneration success as well as possible need for post-burn silvicultural treatments. This post-burn 17
inspection should include: (i) amount and condition of pine regeneration; (ii) amount and condition of tree and herbaceous competition, and (iii) incidence of blister rust, weevil and fire damage. Pine regeneration following the fire might be sparse and uneven thus large containerized white pine seedlings could be used to supplement the natural pine regeneration. Considerable amounts of aspen and birch might have regenerated particularly for mixedwood stands on good sites where hardwoods are most vigorous. The burn probably will kill most of the above-ground hardwood stems but the belowground roots would be relatively uninjured thus vigorous hardwood sprouting and suckering probably will occur (Figure 20). Accordingly, herbicides will be needed to control this hardwood competition thus releasing the small, newly regenerated pine seedlings. This post-fire monitoring also may show considerable damage from blister rust, weevil and wildlife thus corrective pruning may be needed.
Intensive site-specific practices for white pine plantations The consistently poor results for white pine plantations in northwestern Ontario (Bryson et al. 1996) are discouraging, but we should not conclude that successful white pine plantations are impossible. I suggest that intensive site-specific silvicultural practices are available that can address the major reasons for plantation failure that have been previously discussed — hardwood and brush competition, blister rust, weevil, and wildlife damage. White pine plantations frequently have been successfully established in southern Ontario as well as in many areas of eastern United States (Figure 21) and successful white pine plantations also are possible in northwestern Ontario if we follow the following silvicultural practices: 1. Site selection. Desirable locations for intensively managed white pine plantations in northwestern Ontario usually are topographic areas that are less susceptible to blister rust infection such as tops of hills, slope shoulders and south and east-facing slopes (Ostry et al. 2010, Hodge et al. 1989). Such topographic areas have less dew accumulation hence less blister rust hazard. Plantations should be concentrated on productive sites (good site quality) where best white pine growth will occur. These good sites have the potential to rapidly produce large trees for both old-growth needs as well as trees for commercial timber-production purposes. However, these good sites also will support the establishment and growth of less desirable species that will compete with pines for resources and growing space. Thus, the need for release and competition control should be anticipated. 18
2. Thorough site preparation. Productive sites for white pine plantations usually are sites that also have vigourous growth of competing shrubs and competing hardwood suckers and sprouts. Therefore, before planting thorough mechanical and chemical site preparation is needed (Wagner 2005, Wagner et al. 2001, 2004, Campbell et al. 2001, Pitt et al. 2011). Good site preparation is needed because white pine and red pine seedlings are relatively intolerant and are slow growing until they reach 1.2 or 1.5 m (4 – 5 ft.) in height. An additional consideration is that good site preparation creates open areas having reduced hardwood and herbaceous competition thus have more wind movement and less dew accumulation resulting in less blister rust hazard. Open areas also provide less cover for hare and deer that might girdle stems or browse on the leaders of planted pine. 3. Plant large seedlings. Large containerized seedlings should be planted because they have rapid early height growth (Thiffault 2004). Close spacing also is recommended in anticipation of damage or losses from blister rust, weevils and animal browsing; trees in closely-spaced plantations also have better form than trees in widely-spaced plantations (de Groot et al. 2009). Seedlings that have genetic resistance to blister rust would be desirable when such seedlings become available. When large containerized seedlings are planted the lower limb whorl could be removed and needles on the seedling stem could be brushed off. These measures remove low-lying needles where most dew concentration occurs thus may help reduce infection from blister rust. 4. Planting stock should be protected from animal damage in areas having dense deer and hare populations. Plastic sleeves and tubing (tree shelters) have been developed (Ward et al. 2000, Smith 1993, Walters 1993) that protect seedlings from browsing as well as protect seedlings from competition, blister rust and weevils (Figure 18). Tree shelters also have improved microclimate conditions within the plastic tubes resulting in rapid early height growth of pine seedlings. Paper bud caps might limit browse damage (Krueger and Puettmann 2004). 5. Annual plantation inspection is needed until the white pine seedlings reach about 1.5 m (5 ft.) in height where more rapid and sustained height growth occurs. Annual silviculture practices to apply include: • Herbicide “touch-up” should be applied around each seedling as needed; • Early blister rust infection can be detected by reddening and yellowing or death of needles as well as by twig swelling and discolouration (Figure 16). If early infection is noted the entire twig or small branch NWSI Information Report IR-007
should be removed before infection reaches the stem of the seedling; â€˘ Weevil infection can be detected by die-back of the terminal leaders (Figure 17). Prune off and then destroy the dead or injured leader. Destroying the infected leader will destroy the adult weevils, eggs and larvae that are present within the leader because they might fall to the litter beneath the infected seedlings and produce weevils that can emerge in the spring and infect other white pine seedlings in the plantation; â€˘ Corrective pruning can correct loss or damage of leaders due to blister rust, weevils or wildlife browsing. A new leader can be developed using the best lateral branch from the next lower limb whorl; tie this lateral into a vertical position and trim back the ends of the other laterals to inhibit their growth; â€˘ Prune off the lower limb whorls of white pine in older plantations so that tree crowns are raised above dew lines thus infection from blister rust is less likely.
Figure 21. A successful white pine plantation in the unglaciated hill country of southeastern Ohio. Appearance at 29 years since planting (left); at 40 years since planting after a light thinning from below has just been done (upper right); and at 51 years since planting (lower right). This is an area of excellent site quality as indicated by the long internodes marking rapid annual
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height growth. However, both young white pine and young red pine trees usually retain dead lower branches thus pruning of selected dominant trees is needed to produce more valuable knot-free lumber (Funk 1961, Smith and Seymour 1986). Photographs by Willard Carmean.
In conclusion Eastern white pine had a major role in the history and early development of eastern Canada and the United States as well as in the history and early development of northwestern Ontario. Scattered reports, photographs, songs and legends describe the glory days of “hurling down the pine”. This YESTERDAY is long gone but TODAY we are more aware of the multiple values associated with old-growth white pine forests — biodiversity, wildlife, recreation and aesthetic values as well as commercial values. But TODAY only a few scattered old-growth white pine stands remain despite our belated recognition of their multiple values; TODAY we find few white pine forests, limited natural white pine regeneration, and only small amounts of white pine are planted. A tree having such a great past history and so many multiple values deserves a better future. This future is possible but more intensive site-specific silvicultural practices are needed for mixedwood stands, for natural white pine forests, and for white pine plantations. More intensive site-specific silviculture can enable white pine to achieve a more prominent role in TOMORROW’s forest landscape. If we succeed, white pine TOMORROW can provide a more diversified forest landscape having multiple benefits: (i) old-growth white pine forests that provide recreation, aesthetic and wildlife benefits; and (ii) white pine forests that can contribute to a diversified value-added secondary forest industry. Forest industries based on fiber production in northwestern Ontario are closing or downsizing resulting in major economic and employment difficulties. Recommendations have been made for industrial diversification by supplementing our fibre industries with value-added secondary forest industries. White pine and red pine are rapid-growing tree species having great values for a wide range of forest products for sawlog, furniture, utility pole and cabin log industries. More intensive site-specific silvicultural practices will enable both white pine and red pine to play a more prominent environmental and recreational role and, in addition, will enable these pines to play an increased economic role by providing greater areas of rapid-growing pine plantations that can support diversified, value-added forest industries capable of producing a variety of valued forest products.
2002). But the question posed by the 1978 keynote address still remains unanswered. Will the white pine logging era remain only a distant historical memory? Or will the future bring a new era of more intensive forest management where white pine TOMORROW can regain some of its past prominence thus will assist in attaining the wide range of environmental, aesthetic and commercial values that are provided by old-growth and second-growth eastern white pine forests? We now have much knowledge (Burgess et al. 2011) and experience for regenerating and managing white pine but we also need the will and the dedication for applying this knowledge using more intensive site-specific silvicultural practices. Now is the time to “walk the talk” by applying the knowledge that is available about the more intensive silvicultural practices needed to insure that white pine remains prominent in TOMORROW’s forest of northwestern Ontario, as well as in the forests of eastern Canada and the United States. Thorne (1992) suggests that a co-operative regional white pine restoration and management effort is needed because white pine is associated with such a wide variety of products and services that are important for not only commercial uses, but also for recreational, wildlife and biodiversity purposes. Thorne suggests that these restoration effects will require co-ordinated and co-operative efforts of environmental and industrial groups having the goal of establishing white pine forests that are capable of serving and providing the many diverse values and services associated with eastern white pine forests.
The title of the keynote address (Caldwell 1978) at an early white pine and red pine symposium was “Wither Now, O Pinus? (Strobus, That Is)”. Since this symposium many additional white pine symposia and workshops have been held in Canada and in the United States; in Ontario examples are the “Lands for Life” exercise, the “Old Growth Initiative”, and the “Forest Accord” (OFAAB 20
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NWSI Information Report IR-007
About the author Will Carmean grew up in Pennsylvania where he received his undergraduate forestry degree at Pennsylvania State University. Following graduation he served in France and Germany during World War II as a platoon leader (Lieutenant) with the 14th Armored Division. Graduate studies (M.F. and Ph.D.) in silviculture and forest soils then were taken at Duke University. Will joined the U.S. Forest Service as a Research Forester, Soil Scientist and Project Leader with Experiment Stations in Oregon, Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota. After retirement he joined the Faculty of Natural Resources Management at Lakehead University as Professor of Forest Soils. Will has served with the United Nations UNDP with details in Malaysia, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Haiti. He has been an invited lecturer at forestry universities in China and in the Czech Republic and has given research papers in Romania, South Africa, Serbia and Sweden. Will is the author of more than 80 forestry research papers and was a member of the Ontario Old-Growth Advisory Committee. Currently he is the Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Greenwood Lake oldgrowth white pine conservation reserve. He has long been involved with white pine in southeastern Ohio where he owns land and has planted and now manages a productive white pine plantation (Figure 21).
(0.05 k P.R., 12 11 30) ISBN 978-1-4606-0412-0 (Print) ISBN 978-1-4606-0413-7 (PDF)
One of my desktop publishing projects while working at the Ministry of Natural Resources NWSI section, I edited, formatted and set the layou...
Published on Nov 23, 2013
One of my desktop publishing projects while working at the Ministry of Natural Resources NWSI section, I edited, formatted and set the layou...