Red Pine

Excerpts about Red pine taken from a longer discussion about forest management at Quabbin forest in Massechusettes.

Re: Quabbin management   Joseph Zorzin
  Sep 30, 2003 18:16 PDT 

I've heard that much of that red pine on the Quabbin and on other state
land in Mass. has been or will be cut; not that I necessarily agree with
that policy. I happen to like red pine, it reminds of ponderosa pine,
although it doesn't smell as nice. With the introduction of controlled
hunting on the Quabbin, regeneration is now coming along fine, as
witnessed by a Guild event there- that was the purpose of the event, to
show this.

I have a red pine plantation on a client's property a mile from my
house. I thinned it. The state "service forester" gave me some bull
since I didn't clearcut it. He said, "why didn't you clearcut it, like
we're doing now on state land." I replied, "I surely wouldn't do
something just because you guys do it." <G> He couldn't explain why
clearcutting was necessary. I thought I'd rather have some red pine on
the property, for biodiversity reasons, and heck, it's not a high value
species now, but might be someday.

Re: Quabbin management
  Sep 30, 2003 18:29 PDT 

... I like the unique whistling sound of red pines
when the wind blows through the upper crown.

RE: Quabbin management
  Oct 01, 2003 03:58 PDT 


   I'm with you. I like red pine too. I was literally blown away several years ago when Jani, John Knuerr, and I headed west across Minnesota after a stupendous time in the Porcupine Mountains. At Lake Itasca, headwaters of the mighty Mississippi, we saw virgin red pine. Wow! What a sight! The stuff is gorgeous. There is also some great red pine at Hartwick Pines State Park.

   There is stunted, gnarly native red pine on the escarpment on Mount Tom. Dave orwig dated it to over 200 years of age. Native red pine is scattered around Mount Tom including the tall tree champ at 118.8 feet.

Re: Quabbin management
  Oct 01, 2003 04:12 PDT 

Randy and Joe:

   Really old red pines are cool. They look so different with their thin crowns. If you haven't already been there, I highly recommend Minnesota for super red pine groves. Maybe Lee can identify the red pine hot spots for us. I only know of a few.

RE: Quabbin management    Joseph Zorzin
   Oct 01, 2003 04:40 PDT 

Bob wrote:
Hi Randy:

     Red pine in Quabbin isn't natural and as a consequence doesn't reproduce
     well on its own, so Bruce Spencer is gradually taking it out - I think.

The issue of whether red pine or any other species is "natural" is
certainly a fuzzy one. As the climate has changed during the past few
million years, many species have moved through the area- which may not
by "natural", that is "native" at this time, which to me, doesn't make
them "un-natural". Almost certainly, at some time in the past thousands
of years, red pine was "native" to the Quabbin area, even if none were
there when the pale faces showed up.

The fact that it doesn't reproduce on its own, may be the case, or maybe
not- I suspect that it's possible to get it to reproduce there with some
intelligent silviculture, if that were desired. The fact that it may not
be desired is OK with me too. But, the fact that it may not easily
reproduce, naturally or un-naturally, is, in my opinion, no reason to
get rid of it. I suspect that Bruce has other reasons, such as,
possibly, he sees them as financially mature, or, for whatever reason,
he'd rather have something else growing there. That's his choice.

However, if I were MANaging the Quabbin, I'd be in no hurry to get rid
of red pine. I would like to keep some around for the sake of
biodiversity, for aesthetics, and perhaps as a testing ground to see if
I could get it to reproduce- as I mentioned I've thinned red pine on one
of my client's properties nearby.

I have seen "natural" red pine regeneration- over in Pittsfield State
Forest- next to an old red pine plantation- there is a small gravel
pit, and I saw young red pine coming up in that gravel pit- growing on
pure sand! Perhaps that's why we don't see it seeding it, since such
bare sandy soils are rare around Mass. I noticed these red pine
seedlings back in the early seventies. A few years ago I happened to be
walking by that area, and tried to find it. After awhile of having no
luck, I realized that a few moons have gone by and that I should stop
looking for a gravel pit, instead, look for a 30 year old forest- and I
did find the site filled with 30 years old trees, but I was in a hurry
and didn't look to see if the red pine and survived.

Certainly up there in the Lake States, much of that area is underlain by
pure sand so it may be the ideal site for "natural" red pine.

At Bruce's Guild event at the Quabbin, he showed us a clearcut of Norway
spruce. He said that the FSC reviewers of his application for FSC
Certification, in their report, frowned upon the Norway Spruce and
recommended wasting all of it. That shocked me and really pissed me off,
I happen to like Norway Spruce and can't imagine a good scientific
reason to waste it just because it was planted. That's nuts- it's not
hurting anything, it's not an invasive species. I don't know if Bruce
has decided to follow their recommendations beyond the clearcut I saw.

Just one reason I have little faith in ANY type of certification. If I
were to apply, and was told to get rid of red pine and Norway spruce-
I'd consider those certifiers to be out of their minds, just following
some sort of crazy fundamentalist party line.

On the contrary, I'm inclinded to plant other species, lots of them, to
see what happens. I find that fascinating- like a gardener trying out a
new vegetable. Such an idea may surely ranckle the feathers of
autopoietic purists, but I'm not going to lose sleep over such
fundamentalist ideas. <G>

Oh, another species disliked by the species fundies is black locust. I
like black locust. I once saw some monster specimens on the Pittsfield
City Watershed, which have been cut. I think they were around an old
celler hole, so were planted by some old timer, probably in the
nineteenth century.

And, I've noticed black walnut "escaping" in south Berkshire County-
I've seen in seeding in on very fertile soils and I expect that it has
"gone native". The species fundies may object, but walnut is a great
species- why object to them?

Contrary to the species fundy view, I happen to like the idea of plants
and animals "invading" other parts of the planet. Mix'em all up and see
what happens. I find it entertaining. I'm sure I'm in a tiny minority on
this issue, but nothing new there. <G>

Re: Red pine    Lee E. Frelich
   Oct 01, 2003 06:03 PDT 


Itasca State Park (which includes the Mississippi headwaters) has one of
the best red pine stands, which you saw 3 years ago. Red pine is also
common in Chippewa National Forest in north central MN, and in the Boundary
Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and adjacent Quetico Provincial Park
in Canada. The eastern unit of the BWCAW has a single, contiguous, 25,000
acre stand of mixed white and red pine that has never been logged, and the
stand ages range from 8 years to over 400 years, but most are 150-300 years
old. There is similar large area of old pine in the central Quetico. For
those of you who have copies of my book, red pine in MN appears in figures
1.7, 2.5, 2.9, 3.1, 4.15, and 7.7. North central Wisconsin, especially
northern Highland State Forest, also has large stands of red pine.

Red pine only regenerates on disturbed soils or after fires, when the duff
has been burned away, and there is less than 50% canopy cover. It is not
surprising that it doesn't regenerate in the Quabbin Reservoir area. Red
pine is a good species to plant for watershed purposes, since, like other
pines, spruces, and hemlock, it helps to keep the nutrient content of the
water low. It doesn't have to be planted in densely packed rows. It can be
scattered around and mixed with other species, which is now common in the
Midwest on public lands. Industry owned lands continue to sprout
monoculture red pine plantations.

Red pine is commonly thinned once or twice during the life of a stand in
the Midwest, so that some of the trees are left to grow for 100-150 years
or more, eventually to become large dimension lumber. I can't imagine why
the forester Joe encountered was so upset at not clearcutting a red pine


RE: Quabbin management   Lee E. Frelich
  Oct 01, 2003 09:33 PDT 


The biggest red pines I have seen in 300-400 year old stands are between 9
and 10' cbh. They don't get as big as white pine.


At 12:07 PM 10/1/03 -0400, you wrote:

What are some of the max diameters you're getting for red pine? What
about old growth red pine CBH?


RE: Quabbin management   Robert Leverett
  Oct 01, 2003 09:49 PDT 


In Itasca, they were 7 to 8.5 feet around. I don't think I quit made 9
feet. In Hartwick Pines State Park, about the same, maybe a little
slimmer. In Massachusetts, 4.0 to 5.5 feet for the natural ones.


NR, Cook Forest Env. Ed. wrote:

What are some of the max diameters you're getting for red pine? What
about old growth red pine CBH?


RE: Quabbin management   Lee E. Frelich
  Oct 01, 2003 09:59 PDT 


The oldest one I know of is 408 years old, on an island in Seagull Lake in
northern MN. It survived the big blow down of 1999 and the prescribed fire
last year.


At 12:34 PM 10/1/03 -0400, you wrote:
  Thanks Lee,

Is 400 years max age for red pine, or have you cored older?