Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

August, 1995
REMNANTS OF WHAT WAS HERE

In 1913, botanists Nathaniel Lord Britton and Addison Brown of the New York Botanical Garden published An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada, a three-volume set which aimed to “illustrate and describe every species, from the Ferns upward, recognized as distinct by botanists and growing wild [sic] within the area adopted.”  By 1913, the forests of Northern Minnesota had already been subject to full-scale assault by commercial loggers for more than forty years, and the biggest and best trees were gone; Britton and Brown described only the tattered remains of the magnificent forests which had flourished for millennia as a part of Ah­nish­i­nah­bæót­jib­way permaculture.  This is a summary of some species of the trees which were growing in the Northwoods in 1913:

White Pine (Pinus Strobus), height over 225 feet, trunk diameter of 10½ feet.
Canadian Pine (Pinus resinosa), height about 150 feet, trunk diameter of 5 feet.
White Spruce (Picea canadensis), height of about 110 feet, trunk diame­ter of 3 feet.
Red Spruce (Picea rubens), height of 100 feet and drunk diameter of 4 feet.
Black Spruce (Picea mariana), height of 90 feet, trunk diameter 2-3 feet.
Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), height of 110 feet, trunk diameter 4 feet.
Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea), height 90 feet, trunk diameter 3 feet.
White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis), height about 70 feet, trunk diameter 5 feet.
Red Cedar (Juniperius virginiana), height about 100 feet, trunk diameter 5 feet.
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), height about 150 feet, trunk diame­ter 8 feet.
Butternut (Juglans cinerea), height 100 feet, trunk diameter 3 feet.
Hickory-Nut (Hicoria ovata), height 120 feet, trunk diameter 4 feet.
Balm of Giliad (Populus candicans), height 100 feet, trunk diame­ter up to 6½ feet.
Hop-hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), height about 50 feet, trunk diameter 2 feet.
Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), height about 80 feet, trunk diameter 3 feet.
Yellow Birch (Betula leutea), height about 100 feet, trunk diame­ter 4 feet.
American Beech (Fagus grandifolia), height about 120 feet, trunk diameter about 4½ feet.
American Chestnut (Castanea dentata), height about 100 feet, trunk diameter 14 feet.
Red Oak (Quercus rubra), height about 140 feet, trunk diameter 7 feet.
White Oak (Quercus alba), height about 150 feet, trunk diameter 8 feet.
Swamp Oak (Quercus bicolor), height about 110 feet, trunk diame­ter 9 feet.
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa), height about 160 feet, trunk diame­ter 8 feet.
American Elm (Ulmus americana), height about 120 feet, trunk diameter 11 feet.
Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva), height 70 feet, trunk diameter 2 ½ feet.
Sugar-berry (Celtis occidentalis), height about 90 feet, trunk diameter 3 feet.
Plane-Tree (Platanus occidentalis), height about 130 feet, trunk diameter 14 feet.
Mountain Ash (Sorbus americana), height 30 feet, trunk diameter 18 inches
American Crab Apple (Malus glaucescens), height 25 feet, trunk diameter 12 inches
June-Berry (Amelanchier canadensis), height 60 feet, trunk diame­ter 2 feet.
Hawthorne (Crataegus punctata), height up to 30 feet.
Wild Plum (Prunus americana), height about 35 feet, trunk diame­ter about 1 foot
Choke-cherry (Padus virginiana), height about 90 feet, trunk diameter about 4 feet.
Sumac (Rhus hirta), height 40 feet, trunk diameter 9 feet.
Bladder-Nut (Staphylea trifolia), height 30 feet, trunk diameter 6 feet.
Soft Maple (Acer saccarinum), height 120 feet, trunk diameter 5 feet.
Sugar Maple (Acer saccarum), height 120 feet, trunk diameter 3½ feet.
Black Sugar Maple (Acer nigrum), height 120 feet, trunk diameter 3½ feet.
Wild Grapes (Vitis Labrusca), ascending high trees, stem a foot in diameter or more
Basswood (Tilia americana), height 125 feet, trunk 5 feet in diameter
Flowering Dogwood (Cynoxylon floridum), 40 feet tall, trunk diameter 1½ feet.
White Ash (Fraxinus americana), 130 feet tall, trunk diameter 6 feet.
Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra), 100 feet tall, trunk diameter 3 feet.



Wub-e-ke-niew with trees in sugarbush on Bear Dodem land at Red Lake


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