Commercial timber harvests designed to improve wildlife habitat are underway at Vassar, Tuscola and Deford state game areas in Tuscola County and the Verona State Game Area in Huron County. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said those areas may look very different for a while, but the timber harvests will provide or improve habitat for many animals and birds, especially migratory songbirds. The DNR says young forests that develop quickly after the harvesting are attractive to many species for breeding, nesting, raising their young, feeding and avoiding predators.
Visitors to the areas being harvested will notice commercial logging equipment entering game area lands along Wilder Road at Vassar; at the east end of Bliss Road at Tuscola; along Froede Road at Deford and east of Scott Road at Verona.
The timber harvests were planned based on wildlife habitat management objectives spelled out in Michigan DNR state game area master plans, which include a detailed forest inventory for each game area.
“Each of the stands involved in the harvests currently underway is dominated by aspen trees, a native species that is especially attractive for game and nongame wildlife and is found in abundance across state game areas in the Thumb region,” said area DNR wildlife biologist Tammy Giroux.
DNR southeast region forester Don Bonnette said aspen stands are managed on a 40-year rotation. “When those trees reach 40 years of age or more, we prescribe a commercial timber harvest to regenerate the stand, which produces a young aspen stand in its place,” Bonnette said. “With this method, we strive to produce stands of trees of multiple age classes across a game area, which provides a variety of habitat types to meet the needs of many wildlife species.”
Each of the timber harvests is expected to be completed by early fall, but some individual stands may take longer to complete based on weather and other conditions.