Forest resilience and biodiversity at the core at UPM Blandin, Minnesota

On the Blandin forest lands in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, UPM foresters have found a smart way to make their woods future-proof through a consistent biodiversity concept, while safeguarding wood production. Forest ecologist Sawyer Scherer explains how.

Sawyer Scherer answers the most important question first: What exactly does Smart Forestry℠ mean? “Foresters used to look solely at trees and their productivity, we focus on the entire ecosystem and its long-term development. We understand that it helps everyone if we gear our forest management more specifically to nature and its needs – the climate, biodiversity, people, and the company. Following these guidelines, we have developed our own concept at UPM Blandin.”

Scherer, 30, a forest ecologist who, together with four foresters and the Manager of Forest Resources, oversee UPM’s forests in Minnesota – covering a total area of 1880 km2, about two and a half times the area of New York City. The team ensures that the forest remains productive – with the best possible plantings, the right harvest at the right moment, and optimal regeneration.

Forest management has a long tradition in the mid-western U.S. state. The Blandin paper mill in Grand Rapids, about 100 kilometers west of Lake Superior, was founded in 1901 and is one of the leading manufacturers of lightweight coated printing papers on the continent. Nature is also very important in Minnesota – the state boasts vast forests, thousands of lakes, and a diversity of ecosystems. This makes Minnesotans all the more concerned about the future as it relates to their forests. And this makes Smart Forestry℠ all the more important.
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