Restoration Forestry


Restoration Forestry

By: Brian Liesch

The Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy’s roles and desires for land management are multi-faceted.  As you may already know, the UPLC already permanently protects land through our Conservation Preserve and Conservation Easement programs.  The UPLC also runs a “Forests For the Future” Conservation Reserve Program, in which 25 properties are enrolled, totaling 1,612 acres.

Conservation reserves are properties we own and sustainably manage by Restoration Forestry principles.  These provide an ongoing source of funding and allow us to demonstrate ecologically sound forestry principles.  Often times these are lands that were clear cut in the past and were either mismanaged or left alone prior to UPLC’s acquisition.  UPLC saw the need to manage these properties to promote a more natural, biodiverse and healthy forest while being able to sustainably log and model these forestry practices for educational purposes.

In particular, our Forests are guided by Restoration Forestry principles and are managed with these goals in mind:

  • Maintain, restore, and enhance the biological diversity, water quality, and ecological integrity of the managed parcels and the broader landscape context through long-term, sustainable, forest management practices.
  • Meet the requirements of Michigan’s Commercial Forest Program and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, as well as the UPLC’s organizational objectives in all aspects of land management.
  • Reinvest revenue generated from sustainable production of forest products into both new and ongoing UPLC conservation priorities.
  • Foster the sharing of lessons learned and future forest management innovation by establishing the property as a demonstration of ecologically-based land management.
  • Create and maintain positive, viable collaborations with other landowners to achieve individual and common objectives across the landscape.
  • Contribute to the local economy through forest jobs, forest products, and compatible outdoor recreation opportunities.

By following the above principles, we are able to develop resilient working forests that provide ecological benefits, recreational and educational opportunities, while providing income to the UPLC and supporting the local economy.

An example of our Restoration Forestry in action is at our 320 acre Debelak Forest Reserve in Alger County donated in 2006 by the Debelak family.  At the time of UPLC’s Acquisition of the parcel, the forest was predominantly maple.  While fantastic for logging and beautiful in the fall, if a disease were to come through that affected maple trees, this property and surrounding land would be severely impacted.  The UPLC saw an opportunity to restore the biodiversity of the forest through Femelschlag or Expanding Gap forestry practices.  The Debelak property has been visited by other foresters across the region as a model in expanding gap forestry, while economically benefiting the UPLC and region and providing recreational opportunities for others to enjoy.


Former Executive Director Dr. Chris Burnett giving a tour of the Debelak Reserve and Expanding Gap Forestry to members of Federal, State, Non-Profit and Private organizations in August 2019.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply