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DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Restoration of Upland White Cedar in Northeastern Minnesota

REICH DEB-9623458 White cedar forests were once common in the western Great Lakes region. Widespread logging and fire in the early 20th century reduced old-growth white cedar forests to a few small stands surrounded by younger forest. White cedar forests in upland areas, such as the North Shore of Lake Superior, are especially rare. For several decades, white cedar reproduction in remaining patches has been scarce. As older trees die, there are no younger trees to replace them. The North Shore White Cedar Restoration Project will identify the most serious problems faced by white cedar. The proposed study will identify barriers to regeneration in old-growth cedar forests on the North Shore of Lake Superior and enable the development of a recovery plan for this rare plant community. Factors leading to unsuccessful cedar reproduction may include browsing by white-tailed deer, poor growth conditions, and seed dispersal limitations. If reproduction continues to be unsuccessful, these forests may disappear within our lifetime, and thus this represents a biodiversity concern at several levels. The white cedar forest as an ecosystem type represents a part of our natural heritage; moreover, there may be plants and animals particularly associated with cedar forests whose distribution and abundance may be restricted due to the shrinkage of this habitat type.

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