Timberland Forestry adds 51,000 trees in Houghton County

What's happening: The Nature Conservancy in Michigan, collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service and Munising-based Timberland Forestry Services, planted 51,000 native conifer tree seedlings across roughly 170 acres in the East Branch Ontonagon River Watershed and the Perch River Watershed within the Ottawa National Forest near Kenton. The new trees will help fight the damage caused by the spruce budworm, a species of insect that defoliate fir and spruce trees along streams. 

Maintaining ecosystems: While evergreens with fewer needles does not initially sound like a major problem, the extra sunlight on the shallow water of streams are creating temperature issues for wildlife. The biggest species impacted is cold water trout, which will stop reproducing if the water gets too warm. These shaded streams now become more viable for growth and maintaining the ecosystem. 

What they're saying: “Our forests are critical habitats for wildlife, help filter water and moderate our climate. This project will help restore tree cover in areas that are vital to cold water trout that are threatened by warming waters,” said Mindy Kantola, forest partnerships project manager at TNC. “We’re proud to continue this partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Ottawa National Forest because climate resilient lands and waters benefits us all.”

What's next: Additional projects are planned, with a mix of red and white pine, tamarack, hemlock and cedar seedlings ready to be planted in similar areas. The Nature Conservancy will start marking areas for growth on the next projects soon.
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