Old-growth canopy trail project

This project includes our first physical GLDL 'test plots' and is located on the Esker Trail at the University of Minnesota's Cloquet Forestry Center.  This project is currently 'under construction' but we have begun to share our process below. Here you will find documentation of our site work as it develops, some of the outputs from our initial site investigations from this past summer, and some explanation of our site investigation tools.

The trail is home to a stand of planted red pine mixed with some birch, aspen, a couple of spruce, cedar, and the occasional white pine.  By 1913 the Esker site clear cut (see photos below) and the fire tower and a small cabin for the fire lookout were put in place. To learn more about the regional history of red pines and the CFC, we will point you to a fantastic ArcGIS Storymap done by Clare Boerigter on the adjacent CFC site 'Camp 8' that you can find here.

At the moment, we have implemented two test sites the 'Pattern Plot' and the 'Canopy Viewer'.  The Pattern Plot tests patterning methods of Balsam trunks on the forest floor. And the 'Canopy Viewer' uses in-situ material harvesting of the Balsam to that open up the hillside understory to take advantage of the esker's height and allow for a seated view of the forest canopy while at the same time using four live Balsam to structure the pile and allow for an inclined view of the much closer Balsam canopy. 

Site work 'Pattern plot' + 'Canopy viewer'

site investigations

site investigation Tools

Seasonal change

Links and resources

Smith, Welby R. Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota. University of Minnesota Press, 2008.