State foresters are set to begin a three-year timber management project in the Laona School Forest. DNR officials and Laona students gathered Wednesday to kick off the project.
DNR Forestry Supervisor Craig Williams says the project will benefit forest health. He says some of the trees in the oldest school forest in the country are aging, and are being affected by invasive buckthorn.
“So part of the plan was to do a harvest where they could chemically control the buckthorn, and also regenerate the aspen and some of the more mature pine areas. And then also thinning some of the less mature pine to allow for better growth.”
Timber sales are expected to come in around $32,000, which goes to the Laona School District. Williams says the management plan also a big educational impact.
“The school district didn’t want to just cut the trees down and forget about it – they wanted to show that sustainable forestry can work, bring the students out there to learn a little bit about why we need to harvest trees, the benefits of harvesting trees to the economy.”
Harvesting will start early next year. Managers plan to chemically treat buckthorn in the summer of 2015, and begin some replanting early the following year.