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Edlund Family Woodland - Goodhue County, MN

posted Mar 8, 2009, 10:41 AM by Philip Potyondy   [ updated Jun 21, 2010, 11:13 PM ]
Three generations of Edlund men live in the rolling hills near Cannon Falls. From left, Jim, James, and little Soren.

All in the Family

The Edlund families share a contiguous tree farm in Goodhue County. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in a home with amazing views of forested hills while their son James, wife Marina, and children are nestled further down in the valley. Both families carry on the tradition of restoration and conservation.

Originally, Edlund ancestors farmed the rolling hills. Jim remembers when the forest that now dominates the view from his porch was pasture. Thirty years ago he and other family members planted white and red pine, black walnut, oak, and other species to reforest the hills.

Fallen trees and limbs liberally litter the forest floor and serve as habitat. Such dedication to debris helps ensure a healthy food web.
While the forests are beautiful, harvesting is a key goal for the woodland. The family grows three species of ash and recently sold black ash products to Japan. Jim practices some selective harvesting, but admits as the trees get larger and the forest fills in, it’s hard “not to fall in love with the trees.”

An earthen dam on the Edlund farm helps manage runoff.
The rolling nature that gives the Edlund property so much character also provides its share of management challenges. The hills and valleys once allowed torrents of rain to cascade down slopes, taking soil along for the ride. This runoff occasionally cut gulleys into hills and filled ditches and streams with sediment.

Tackling the problem head on, the family enlisted a local forester and put their collective ingenuity to work designing a series of earthen dams and piping
The family farm has been stewarded for generations. Though Jim’s father worked with axes and horses to clear trees for pasture, he also helped his son and grandson replant pines on the same acres decades later. Here Jim inspects his trails.
that would divert runoff and prevent erosion.  They also used a bulldozer to reinstate contouring to small streams and ditches so that the water meandered more naturally.

The reward to such land stewardship is evident on a walk through the woods. Grasses are flattened where deer have bedded down. Trees flare slightly at the roots in a stand with natural seep. Warblers flutter between trees, deeply at home. Thanks to the Edlund family, this land will continue to grow and change for years to come.