Video aims to help preserve state’s declining oak trees

posted Aug. 21, 2017 7:50 a.m. (CDT)
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A new video, produced by foresters and social scientists from UW-Madison, UW-Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, encourages Wisconsin woodland owners to adopt land-management practices that will help ensure a future for oak trees in the state.

Oaks have been experiencing a nationwide decline, with the forests of Wisconsin following the general trend. While oak is still a dominant forest type in the region, oak seedlings and saplings in the forest understory often don’t get the sunlight they need to develop into the next generation of full-grown trees. Because of this, oaks are being replaced by more shade-tolerant tree species.

Successful oak regeneration requires active woodland management that can provide the light and other conditions that oak seedlings and saplings need to compete. Recommended techniques include harvesting overstory trees and removing understory shrubs and competing trees.

The video, which tells the story in a visual way, features narration by Larry Meiller, longtime host of “The Larry Meiller Show” on Wisconsin Public Radio, and animation and editing by Eli Quinn, a Madison-based artist and animator. It can be viewed at http://​​support-oaks.

While the work involved in managing for oak can be labor-intensive or costly, researchers are optimistic landowners will take action.

The video was produced for Forestry Insights, a program of UW-Extension, with promotional support by the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Sponsoring partners include the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and various woodland owner organizations, including MyWisconsinWoods.

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