Wildlife Research Institute
Non-Profit Research and Education Since 1971

The White Pine Society

Origin of WPS
Executive Summary
White Pine Slide Show
Critique of DNR Plan
White Pine Society Plan
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Tree Measuring Guide
Death of a Pine Tree
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Minnesota's White Pines:
Our Vanishing Heritage

In 1837, when cutting began, 3,500,000 acres of Minnesota forest were dominated by white pines; by 1990, only 67,000 acres were. 98% of Minnesota's white pine forest has been lost. Only 2% of Minnesota's white pine forest have grown back as white pine after cutting. We must develop a sustained yield management plan before we cut this last 2%. This 67,000 acres includes all public and private land throughout Minnesota.


Most of our white pine acreage was lost before 1962. With no sustained yield plan, Minnesota lost over half of its remaining white pine acreage in the last 30 years. Cutting continues.


Fully grown white pines 3-6 feet in diameter, the crown jewels of our northern forests, have all but disappeared. Most of our remaining white pine forests are second-growth stands that are mostly about a quarter grown. Most are only 61 to 120 years into their 400-year lifespans. If they were to be cut, too few young white pines exist to replace them. Major causes for this lack of young trees are lack of planting and failure to protect seedlings from deer browsing, blister rust and competition. At present, industry is not required to pay the full cost of replacing white pines they cut on public land. Cutting without replacement must end.


White pines have declined more in Minnesota than anywhere in the nation. For example, Minnesota once had twice as much white pine acreage as New Hampshire but now has less than a 20th as much. Minnesota now produces less than 1% of the nation's white pine lumber. It's time to restore this valuable resource to the Minnesota ecosystems it once dominated. Restoration work will create many jobs now and in the future. A youth conservation corps could be created.

White pines were once Minnesota's most valuable renewable resource. Millions of acres now have no white pine seed source. Our remaining scattered white pines must be saved as native seed trees while scientists develop better methods for helping seedlings survive to maturity. Cutting them now would destroy future timber value, future jobs, tourism value, and wildlife habitat. White pines are habitat for a host of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. They hold 80% of our bald eagle nests and 77% of our osprey nests.

White pines on public land belong to all Minnesotans--not to government agencies, the timber industry, or any special interest group. Minnesota's forests are ours to protect-- out of love for our children and as stewards of our forests and wildlife. The public will decide the fate of our white pines by speaking out or failing to speak out. The most effective action we can take is letting our elected officials, forest managers and newspaper editors know that we want our white pines retained and restored.