EAST LANSING, Mich. — In a sweeping study of a huge swath of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Michigan State University researchers document that in many places the sugar maple saplings that should be thriving following harvesting are instead ending up as a deer buffet. This means the hardwood forests are not regenerating.
Since the 1950s, sustainability in northern hardwood forests was achieved by chopping down trees in small clumps to naturally make room for new ones to spring up. Early experiments with single-tree and group selection logging found that desirable species like sugar maples did a great job of regenerating in the sunny, rain-drenched harvest gaps – theoretically eliminating the need to replant. (more…)