Types of old-growth forests

The old-growth forest types described here are based on DNR's classification of forest cover types. The cover type classification system is based on the most important tree species in the forest. The descriptions of old-growth forest cover types are general, and old-growth characteristics vary considerably within a cover type. The native plant community classification documents this variation.

In Minnesota, the forest types shown on this page will develop old growth conditions if they escape catastrophic disturbance for a long time.

This section includes detailed descriptions of the forest cover types, characteristics of the old-growth conditions, and a summary of special considerations for restoring and managing old-growth forests of these types.

Black Ash

Detailed description

Black Ash Swamp, Pelican Lake Big Island SNA, St. Louis Co.

Black ash swamp, Pelican Lake Big Island SNA, St. Louis County (photo by Kurt Rosterholz)

Lowland Hardwoods

Detailed description

A researcher takes a core from an old silver maple, while an old green ash and silver maple stand farther away in this Lowland Hardwood Forest.

Old silver maple, old green ash and silver maple in a lowland hardwood forest

Northern Hardwoods

Detailed description

A lush ground flora is typical of Northern Hardwoods containing sugar maple and basswood.

A lush ground flora is typical of northern hardwoods containing sugar maple and basswood.

Oak

Detailed description

A red oak stand in Townsend's Woods SNA, Rice County.

A red oak stand in Townsend's Woods SNA, Rice County

Red (Norway) Pine and White Pine

Detailed description

200+ year old red and white pine trees at Burntside Island SNA.  These species grow together in moister locations.

200-year-old-plus red and white pine trees at Burntside Island SNA (photo by Kurt Rusterholz)

Red pine forest is often found on dry sandy soils.

White pine (photo by Kurt Rusterholz)

White Spruce

Detailed description

white spruce

Old-growth white spruce (photo by Kurt Rusterholz)

Upland White Cedar

Detailed description

Old-growth white cedar.

Old-growth white cedar (photo by Kurt Rusterholz)