Trees of the Northwoods
If you can't see the the forest for the trees, neither can you see the trees for the forest. As one looks out at the forest around Star Lake, it tends to look changeless. However, when I try to observe details, I do see a number of changes:
The trees have gotten taller. I have a clear, if informal, measure of this. In front of North Star Lodge is a stand of about ten virgin white pines. If we sat on my cabin porch from which I cannot see those trees, I would likely tell you that they are much taller than the surrounding second growth forest. But that is no longer true. In fact, the second growth is gradually reaching the same heights. My boyhood memories provide me a clear benchmark. As a boy in my early teens, riding around the lake in my little outboard boat, I could see the tall pines of the lodge from the south bay of the lake--looking over the peninsula. Today you cannot. Not even close. The pines have not shrunk, the surrounding second growth has grown.
Open spaces are filling in. Again, boyhood memory helps. I clearly remember fields where we could often count six to a dozen deer as we took evening drives. I remember other fields where we picked blueberries and raspberries. Many of those fields are now woods. Open spaces, that are not maintained open by human activity, are gradually filling it with woods.
The white birch (technically they are paper birch, but everybody calls them white birch) are disappearing. We have long thought of them as the distinctive tree of the northwoods. Summer and winter the white bark adds beauty and contract to the forest. The trouble is, the birch are a result of the fires which following the massive logging in the region. They are reaching the end of their lifespan, and they are not being replaced by nature. Your grandchildren, if not your children, will not think of white tree trunks as distinctive of the northwoods!
Two things are certain: in forests change is slow (except for loggers and forest fire), but certain. It is very difficult to imagine what the Star Lake woods will be like in the mid to late 21st century.
I make those comments just to introduce the subject of Trees of the Northwoods. The intention of this section is to add a subtopic for each tree group or species--as there is something to say about that species. Anyone who would like to contribute information about any tree species local to Vilas County, is welcome to do so. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.Charles P. ForbesFebruary 20, 2010
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Ecology of a Red Pine Plantation in Michigan. [Ecology, Vol. 47, #3, Late Spring, 1966, pp. 465-72.] Ithaca, NY, . View Full EntryHarrison, R. P.. Aspen Management. [Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin, 20:2, Feb. 1955, pp. 18-22.] Madison, 1955. View Full EntryHeinselman, M. L.. Extent of Natural Conversion to Other Species in Lake States Aspen-Birch Type. [Journal of Forestry, Vol. 52, #1, October 1954, pp. 737-8.] Bethesda, MD, 1954. View Full EntryHollish, Karen. Taking Science to Tradition. [Mazina'igan, Winter, 2008, p. 10 ff.] Odanah, 2008. View Full Entry (Full text available)Hutchens, Alma. Indian Herbalogy of North America. Windsor, Ontario, 1973. View Full EntryKeeler, Harriet. Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. New York, 1931. View Full EntryKnudsen, George. Eastern Hemlock. [Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin, 37:4, July-Aug 1972, p. 31.] Madison, 1972. View Full EntryLillard, Richard. Great Forest. New York, 1947. View Full EntryLittle, Charles. Dying of the Trees. New York, 1995. View Full EntryLittle and Honkala. Trees and Shrubs of the United States, A Bibliography for Identification. [USDA Forest Service, Misc. Pub. No. 1336] Washington, 1976. View Full EntryMiles and Fuller. Minnesota's Forest Trees. [Extension Bulletin 363-1971] St. Paul, 1971. View Full EntryNorthland College. On Campus: Back to Nature. [Horizons, Winter 2000, pp. 3-4.] Ashland, 2000. View Full EntryOgburn, Charlton. Birch Trees Are the Graces of Our Wild Forests. [Smithsonian, V.5 #9 Dec 1977 p.72] Washington, 1977. View Full EntryPanshin and de Zeeuw. Textbook of Wood Technology. [McGraw-Hill Series in Forest Resources] New York, 1980. View Full EntryRice, O. S., Compiler. Wisconsin Arbor and Bird Day Annual 1909. Madison, 1909. View Full EntrySaltman, David. Paper Basics. New York, . View Full EntrySass, et al.. Not Neat, A Case for Leaving Trees in the Water. [Lake Tides, Vol. 29, #3, Summer 2004, pp. 3-5.] . View Full EntryThomas, Matthew. Great Lakes Native American Maple Sugar Production. [The Wisconsin Archeologist, 82:1&2, Jan-Dec 2001, pp.139-165.] Milwaukee, 2001. View Full EntryWiener, Rob, Ed.. Pines of Wisconsin. [Northbound, Vol. 26, #4, Winter 2007.] Eagle River, 2007. View Full EntryWilliams, Linda. Oak Wilt Identified near Sayner. [DNR Website, Posted June 28, 2017] Madison, 2017. View Full Entry (Full text available)Wilson, Fred G.. Forest Trees of Wisconsin. [1972 (Pub. 507-72, DO818);1977 (Pub. 2-2400(77); 1990 (PUBL-FR-053 90REV); 2006 (PUB-FR-053 2006) editions] Madison, 2006. View Full EntryWisconsin, Natural Resources, Deppartment of, Foresty Division. Wisconsin Urban & Community Forests, Quarterly Newsletter. Madison, 2010. View Full Entry (Full text available)Wisconsin, Natural Resources, Dept. of. Tree Planting in Wisconsin. [PUB. 1-2400(74)] Madison, 1974. View Full EntryWisconsin, Natural Resources, Dept. of. Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area Auto Tour. [PUBL-PM-016 12/95] Mercer, WI, 1995. 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Minor ReferencesDentice, Dana. Tree City USA Communities, 2011. [Wisconsin Urban and Community Forests, Vol. 20, #1, Spring/Summer 2012] Madison, 2012. View Full Entry (Full text available)