U.P. aspens getting attention

Michigan State Roundup

Published October 1, 2000  | October 2000 issue

A U.S. Forest Service study is under way to determine the health and quantity of Michigan's aspen stands. The forest products industry relies on this resource for use in products such as paper and particleboard, especially in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.).

The aspen population had been declining due to overall age and over-harvesting, according to the most recent Forest Service survey, conducted in 1993. The current survey will specifically analyze growth areas, timber volume, mortality and health as a means to discover the overall condition of the aspen in order to protect and manage the resource.

Over the next five years, 18,000 field plots will be surveyed. Fifteen foresters are assigned to Michigan, with about half working in the U.P. About 53 percent of Michigan's total land area, or about 19.3 million acres, contains forest lands.