|Red pine stand planted in 1939 near Moose Lake, Carlton Co., MN. (2005, R. Klevorn, MN DNR)
Red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.), also known as Norway pine, is the most widely planted tree species in the Lake States Region of North America. During the past 70 years the red pine cover type in the Lake States has increased more than five-fold to an area of 1.875 million acres. This increase is due in a large part to planting programs. In 1914, Theodore S. Woolsey Jr., and Herman H. Chapman published a 42-page U.S. Department of Agriculture Bulletin management guide entitled, Norway Pine in the Lake States. This early guide was based on the careful observations and measurements of field foresters and served as the primary guide for managing red pine stands for more than 30 years. During the latter two thirds of the 20th century long-term studies on red pine management were installed and repeatedly measured by the USDA Forest Service, state governments, universities, the Canadian government, and others. As results from these studies became available, red pine guides were revised and updated. The primary emphasis of the many guides produced during the twentieth century was on establishing and managing red pine stands to improve timber growth.
During the latter part of the 1900s the objectives of management broadened beyond timber output, especially on public lands. Land managers are now being challenged to address questions that are not well covered by existing guides, while continuing to produce timber. Despite their widespread use, the red pine management guides produced to date have several increasingly apparent deficiencies. These include:
- Attention is focused on managing the stand as an isolated unit, without considering landscape concerns;
- Timber production is almost the sole consideration of most guides, with little attention given to how management recommendations should be modified to allow for recreation, aesthetics, wildlife, water, or other objectives;
- Existing guides are poorly linked to landscape level ecological interests, to vegetation and soil types, and they base the productivity of red pine stands almost entirely on site index.
In order to provide a guide for managing red pine with multiple objectives in mind, this new guide was developed by a multidisciplinary team of public and private forestry professionals, researchers, and practitioners. It attempts to address some of the above deficiencies by bringing up-to-date information from many disciplines to address a wider range of management issues.