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In addition to its more than 10,000 lakes, Minnesota is also home to some of the most spectacular forested lands in the continental United States. In fact, Minnesota has over 17.3 million acres of forest land, making it one of the most richly forested states in the nation. These forests can be utilized for multiple purposes including lumber harvesting, paper milling, outdoor recreational areas, and more.
According the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website, Minnesota is home to 52 native tree species, including both deciduous and coniferous varieties. The deciduous varieties native to Minnesota the following species:
American basswood, American elm, American hornbeam (blue beech), American mountain ash, Balsam poplar (balm of gilead), Bigtooth aspen (largetooth aspen, poplar and popple), Bitternut Hickory, Black ash, Black cherry, Black oak, Black walnut, Box elder, Bur oak, Butternut, Chinkapin oak (yellow chestnut oak), Eastern cottonwood, Eastern hophornbeam (ironwood), Green ash (red ash), Hackberry, Honey locust, Kentucky coffeetree, Mountain maple, Northern Mountain ash (showy mountain ash), Northern pin oak (Jack oak, Hill oak), Northern red oak, Paper birch, Pin cherry, Quaking aspen (trembling aspen, poplar, popple), Red maple, Red mulberry, River birch, Rock elm, Shagbark hickory, Silver maple, Slippery elm (red elm), Sugar maple, Swamp white oak, White ash, White oak, Willow and Yellow birch.
Deciduous trees are trees that shed their leaves annually. They are characterized by broad leaves, in comparison with the needle-like leaves of their coniferous counterparts. The deciduous forests comprise much of southeastern Minnesota, extending up into central Minnesota and then into the northwestern regions of the state. In this area, numerous glaciers carved connected rivers and lakes, leaving chains of lakes throughout the region with spectacular stands of deciduous trees surrounding them.
In contract, coniferous trees are typically cone-bearing with needle-like leaves. They do not shed their leaves annually as deciduous trees do. The coniferous forests largely lie in the north central and northeastern part of the state and occupy more territory than their deciduous counterparts. It is estimated that coniferous forests cover approximately two-fifths of the state of Minnesota. The coniferous forests are in a particularly beautiful region of the state carved out by the ancient glaciers millions of years ago. These lands are characterized by numerous lakes, bogs, boulders and the famous iron ranges of northern Minnesota. The coniferous trees native to Minnesota include:
Balsam fir, Black spruce, Eastern hemlock, Eastern red cedar (juniper), Eastern white pine, Jack pine, Northern white cedar, Red pine (Norway pine), Tamarack (eastern or American larch) and White spruce.
As a result of these many native species of trees, early settlers were drawn to this region for its natural beauty, as well as the readily available timber for building and paper products. Tragically, Minnesota forests were greatly depleted by the lumber and paper industries in the 19th and early 20th century. In the early 20th century, the economy turned toward attracting vacationers to the beautiful terrain, helping to create a revival of the forests here. Since the early 20th century, conservation movements have focused on protecting and reviving this rich natural resource for the benefit of ourselves and future generations. In fact, it is estimated that, at present, nearly one third of the state of Minnesota is forested, a larger area than existed even eighty years ago. Today, conservation efforts focus a great deal on promoting sustainable forestry practices to allow the forests to flourish for years to come. Specifically, conservation groups focus on re-growing the trees after they are harvested for lumber. They seek to protect environmentally sensitive tracts of forestland due to their proximity to wetlands or wildlife habitats by creating nature preserves or obtaining conservation easements over privately held land. Conservation easements are agreements wherein landowners agree to utilize the land in environmentally responsible ways. While controlled burning might be utilized to revitalize the forests, there are also substantial efforts to prevent uncontrolled forest fires that might destroy much of the natural landscape. These forests are important not only for the health of the native trees, but also as a habitat for numerous species of wildlife calling the Minnesota Northwoods home including black bears, elk, wolves, voles, deer mouse, shrews, lynx, coyote, red fox and raccoons. Wild birds, including the magnificent bald eagle, also call these forests home, increasing the importance of local and national conservation efforts.
Forests today are monitored by landowners, conservationists and loggers who keep a close eye for indicators of the forest's health. Mature forests are harvested for wood products and used for outdoor recreational purposes. Once the forests begin to die out, sustainable forestry practices are employed such as harvesting the dead trees and/or strategically burning parts of the forest to help assist with its renewal and regrowth. Strategically burning parts of the forest is a complex process that should only be undertaken by a professional.
Forested land is highly desirable for a multitude of different reasons. The forests here are valuable for their timber and the resulting wood and paper byproducts from that timber. Other developers seek to establish vacation properties or resorts amidst beautiful stands of majestic trees here. Outdoor recreation in the form of hunting, hiking, biking, and more are very desirable pastimes here in the Northwoods of Minnesota. All in all, the forests of Minnesota are terrific places to live and work.
If you are considering a purchased of forested land, you should strongly consider engaging the advice and expertise of a local realtor familiar with the market for forested land. The agents at LandBin.com can assist you in identifying the perfect parcel of land to suit your needs. When looking at forest land, there are a variety of things to think about. Is the land zoned appropriately for your planned use of it? Are there neighboring properties that will be impacted by your intended usage of the property? What are the local building codes and ordinances? What sort of permits will be required if you intend to build on the land? If you are seeking to establish a business on the forested land, will it be an accessible location for your prospective customer base? If the land is forested, will you need to clear the land? If you do need to clear the land, will you sell the harvested timber? Are there environmental issues impacting your intended use of the land? A realtor can help you identify these issues and determine whether or not a particular piece of property will suit your needs given your intended use of the land.
Forested land can be very valuable, depending on your intended use of it. If your intent is to use it solely for building, you must calculate the costs associated with clearing the land into your development plans. For residential homesteads, the forested land combined with the scenic beauty of the region can be an ideal backdrop for your vacation home in the Northwoods. Lumber companies can make magnificent profits from the land here in Minnesota while simultaneously harvesting the wood utilizing sustainable methods. Take a look at all the forests of Minnesota offer you today!