A Jack pine harvest in Brighton will provide seeds statewide.

Officials say about 33 acres of overgrown jack pine trees in Livingston County are being harvested to provide seeds for new trees around Michigan. The trees are at the Department of Natural Resources' Tree Improvement Center near Brighton. DNR Forest Resources Division Silviculturist Jason Hartman says the seed orchard is about 35 years old and the trees are too large to efficiently pick cones from.

Jack pine cones need heat to open, which under natural conditions would come from a forest fire or sunlight. The DNR will pick pine cones from the cut trees and heat them in kilns to release the seeds. They'll be planted statewide to regenerate jack pine forests. Volunteers are needed to help pick the cones. Hartman says the DNR plans to replant the blocks of harvested pines on a staggered schedule, so the future seed orchard will contain trees of differing ages.

Those interested in helping should contact Hartman by email at hartmanj@michigan.gov. (JM)