A Conversation with Forest Ecologist Marvin Roberson

Marvin Roberson

As the Forest Policy Specialist for the Sierra Club – Michigan Chapter, Marvin Roberson has long advocated for management practices that assure greater sustainability and diversity in age-classes of forests on state and federal lands. In this short video, Roberson reflects on policies that have resulted in a high percentage of young forests on public lands, an age-class perpetuated by frequent cutting.

The unnaturally high percentage of aspen forests represent a particularly difficult problem, says Roberson. By maintaining a large quantity of aspen forests with regular cutting, the natural succession of forests to larger, more-mature forests is stopped. Worse, the current over-abundance of deer is perpetuated by providing so much of this key food source. Over-browsing by deer, prevent the growth of new, long-live trees such as hemlock and interferes with reforestation.

Please watch this short video the full story directly from Roberson himself!

[Editor’s Note: We are grateful to photographers Ronald Strong and Ted Gilmer for some of the illustrations presented in this video. We also thank Charles Dawley (Little Traverse Conservancy) for some of the beautiful drone imagery presented in this video.]

One thought on “A Conversation with Forest Ecologist Marvin Roberson

  1. Well said Marv. I agree the early/late succession issue is one of the most important forest management concerns. As you know, the deer hunting industry is a large part of what’s driving it. But that’s changing too. Deer hunting seems to be dropping off in popularity. Now with chronic wasting disease in the herd and the ban on baiting, hours of hunting may drop off even more.

    Also, as a retired DNR forester, I have seen some change in aspen management over the past forty years, at least in some areas. We have gone from the elimination of all pines in aspen clearcuts to some residual pine being left. They will continue to seed into the stands which will give future managers the opportunity to expand the range of pines and other species.

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