Crow Wing County Land Services completed its annual tree planting program for 2018.

This year 24,000 pine seedlings were planted on approximately 41 acres located in the cities of Fifty Lakes and Pequot Lakes, along with Irondale and Oak Lawn townships. More than 3.6 million seedlings have been planted on county-managed forest lands over the past 30 years, a news release stated.

Crow Wing County partners with the Minnesota Tree Improvement Cooperative to improve the quality of jack pine trees by collecting seed and growing new seedlings from genetically superior trees at a local orchard. These jack pine trees can yield up to 10 percent gains in volume compared to the average tree. Of the 24,000 seedlings planted, 4,500 were jack pine, and 19,500 were red pine.

The county tree planting program begins the next generation of forests. While many hardwoods like aspen, birch and oak regenerate naturally, county tree planting focuses on conifers to maintain and increase the diversity in forests, according to the release.

"Planting is an important element of sound forest management and ensures the resources will continue to provide wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities, and forest products for future generations," stated Ryan Simonson, environmental services supervisor.

Crow Wing County Land Services manages 105,000 acres of forest land for timber production and recreational opportunities. The sale of timber at public auctions during the year funds the county's management of these lands, while providing revenues to local communities. County forest lands are managed to environmental standards established by both the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Minnesota Forest Resources Council.