Recently, foresters and social scientists from UW-Madison, UW-Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, created a video that encourages Wisconsin woodland owners to adopt land management practices that can help ensure a future for oak trees in the state.
These representatives saw a need for the video because oak trees have been experiencing a nationwide decline, with Wisconsin following the the national trend. That being said oak is still a dominant forest type in the region. The 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.
“Many people don’t understand that oaks need a lot of open sunlight to thrive,” says Bret Shaw, UW-Madison associate professor of life sciences communication and UW-Extension environmental communication specialist, who co-produced the video. “Our goals with this video are to help landowners see the importance of maintaining our oak forests and help them understand some of the management practices that are needed to help oak successfully compete.”
Successful oak regeneration requires active woodland management that can provide the light and other conditions that oak seedlings and saplings need to compete. The recommended techniques include harvesting overstory trees and removing understory shrubs and competing trees.
The video 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.
The video can be found here: http://go.wisc.edu/support-oaks.
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.
For more detailed information about land management practices to support oak forests visit, http://mywisconsinwoods.org/oak/