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The Nature Conservancy Harvests the First Timber Selection from the Slate River Forest Reserve

The Nature Conservancy completes its first timber harvest in the Slate River Forest Reserve. The 74-acre harvest was planned by the conservation group as a way of promoting the forest’s healthy and sustainable tree growth, while also helping TNC manage the reserve from a financial standpoint. The timber was hand-felled by a crew using two trucks to harvest and move the timber. The timber was sold by The Nature Conservancy to the Huber Resource Corporation, which operates the Timber Products saw and veneer mill in Munising. Trees are singularly selected throughout the forest, only removing about a quarter of trees from the land, leaving many younger trees left standing. The Nature Conservancy works with a third-party sustainable certification group to ensure forests and lands are managed properly through the Forest Stewardship Council. In 2021 TNC purchased the Slate River Forest Reserve’s 10,550 acres of land comprised of hemlock, maple, and other hardwoods. Find more information on the Slate River Forest Reserve below.

Slate River Forest Reserve

BARAGA COUNTY, Mich. — The Nature Conservancy in Michigan (TNC) recently completed the first timber harvest at its Slate River Forest Reserve. This is the first timber harvest at the reserve since TNC purchased the more than 10,000 acres in 2021. The sale was planned, prepared, and marketed by TNC and Huber Resources Corp. foresters. Timber Products, who operates a saw and veneer mill in Munising, purchased the sale. They contracted with two hand felling crews and two truckers to harvest and move the wood.

“The family that previously owned what is now Slate River Forest Reserve were exceptional stewards of the land and we’re proud to implement similar forest management practices that have been used for more than 60 years to keep the forest vibrant and healthy,” said Alex Helman, forest project manager for TNC in Michigan. “By conducting periodic, small-scale harvests, we can help younger trees grow into the canopy, encourage higher tree species diversity in the forest, create or enhance wildlife habitat, and cultivate high quality sawtimber.”

Typically, harvests using single tree selection only remove about a quarter to one-third of the volume in the forest, meaning most of the trees remain standing following a timber harvest. By selecting each tree to be removed, the forester can improve or maintain the health, resilience, and diversity of the forest, while maintaining or improving important environmental services the forest provides, like carbon sequestration, filtering water and providing habitat.

TNC’s working forests are certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) FSC®-C008922, a third-party body that ensures forests are managed sustainably by protecting water resources, wildlife habitat, neighboring communities and the other important roles that forests play.

TNC purchased the 10,550 acres of the Slate River Forest Reserve in 2021 to conserve and protect its beautiful woods and waters while continuing the careful management of forest resources. The carbon stored by the towering hemlocks, maple, and other hardwood trees contributes to this reserve’s role as a natural climate solution.

The reserve also protects several streams flowing directly to Lake Superior, including almost four miles of the Slate River with cascades, waterfalls and an extraordinary gorge as well as three miles of the Ravine River.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, TNC works to create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to the world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. Learn more online at nature.org/michigan and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok.  

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