Trends Summer 2018 - Page 2

Assistance Remote sensing technology helps analyze forest regeneration By Jennifer Schmidt J une 6, 2007, was a typical spring day for Paul Crocker, GIS and Inventory forester at Menominee Tribal Enterprises (MTE) in northeastern Wisconsin. June 7, however, was anything but ordinary. Crocker, whose duties include managing the forest inventory department, recalls the day being hot and muggy – with storms forecast for the afternoon. “After arriving home in the late afternoon, the local TV stations broke in with a tornado warning,” Crocker recently recalled from his office within the culture-rich Menominee Forest – where Reservation lands total some 235,000 acres. “I watched the storm on the station’s radar, not knowing the severity of the damage until the following day when I reported in to work.” Five tornadoes touched down in central and northeast Wisconsin that day, among them an EF2-rated twister that tore a path straight through the diverse forest the forestry staff strives so hard to protect and maintain. Winds were estimated at 130 mph, according to the National Weather Service. In just 12 minutes, the tornado took down what typically takes MTE’s 2│ TRENDS loggers a year to harvest. When it was all said and done, the tornado destroyed 2,200 acres of prime timberland – the reservation’s primary revenue source. “The degree of damage that windstorm did on the forest is something that we hadn’t had in our lifetime,” said Marshall Pecore, MTE’s forest manager. “We have straightline winds that blow down trees regularly, but we haven’t had anything in our written records to that severity ever.” It was important they collect what lumber they could and, remarkably, they were able to salvage 56,000 cords of pulp wood and 14 million board feet of saw timber – enough to build 518 2,000-square-foot homes. The long-term effect of the blowdown was the more formidable threat. With this many of MTE’s premium trees now wiped out, coupled with the uncertainty of what would grow back, future revenue was in jeopardy. The foresters – who meticulously manage the lands for a healthy and diverse forest – needed to start from scratch in this 21-mile stretch of the forest. What would re-emerge naturally in time? Where might replanting be needed? How should they best manage for certain species