What are Section Forest Resource Management Plans? The DNR writes ten-year plans that guide:
- when, where, how, and how much timber is harvested on state forestlands, and
- other forest management activities we need to do on these lands.
Why do we make plans? Long-term planning helps ensure that state forest management activities meet statewide goals for ecological protection, timber production, and cultural/recreational values.
How does the process work? The DNR assembles teams from the Divisions of Forestry, Fish & Wildlife, and Ecological & Water Resources who work with partners and the public to write the plans.
How can you get involved? The DNR invites feedback at various points in the planning process through webinars, surveys, and open comment periods.
Section Forest Resource Management Plans (SFRMPs) guide vegetation management on timber-producing state forest lands. These particular lands are administered by the divisions of Forestry and Fish & Wildlife.
SFRMP coverage areas are determined by natural boundaries based on the Ecological Classification System (ECS). Each plan covers one ecological Section. There are seven forested Sections in Minnesota. Sections usually contain multiple Subsections, which provide the basic planning area unit in the SFRMPs.
Planning allows the DNR to strategically and sustainably manage state forestland over time. Each SFRMP identifies several components that help determine strategic direction. These components are based on available natural resource data for the region, DNR policy, legislative rules, and input from other forest planning efforts (see "Other planning efforts" below).
- Issues: Natural resource concerns that affect (or are affected by) the management decisions made on timber-producing state forestlands. Examples include forest age and composition, biological diversity, and sustainable harvest levels.
- General Direction Statements (GDSs): Broad directions for management (e.g. increase, decrease, or maintain certain forest conditions).
- Strategies: Specific steps that will move forests in the desired general direction.
- Desired Forest Composition (DFCs): Short-term (10 years) and long-term (50 years) desired changes to DNR forestlands within the planning area.
The planning process identifies which forest stands will likely be treated over the 10-year period. Potential management treatments include various types of timber harvest actions, thinning, forest regeneration, prescribed burning, and corrections to forest stand inventory information. Stands are selected for the 10-year list based on age; site productivity; size, number, and species of trees; and stand location.
Stands selected for the 10-year list will be field-visited by DNR staff over the 10-year planning period to determine the appropriate management actions for each stand, considering identified plan strategies and goals.
The objectives of the SFRMP process are to:
- Increase interdisciplinary involvement and use of consent-based decision making
- Inform and involve the public and other partners
- Develop credible plans that enable good forest management
- Conduct a process that is reasonable and feasible given staffing levels and workloads
- Complete the process in a reasonable amount of time
The process and the plans themselves must be flexible in order to adapt to new information and changing conditions. The SFRMP process provides for periodic reviews to monitor plan implementation and determine if plans need to be updated.
Teams consist of eight staff members:
- One regional Fish & Wildlife staff member
- One regional Forestry staff member
- Two regional Ecological & Water Resources staff members
- Two Forestry Area Supervisors or designees
- Two Fish & Wildlife Area Managers or designees
Minnesota Forest Resources Council landscape plans
The Minnesota Forest Resources Council (MFRC) creates 10-year Landscape Plans meant to provide forest resource management guidance across all ownerships within the planning areas (which are similar in scope to SFRMP planning areas). Landscape Plans have been completed for most forested parts of the state. It is important that DNR SFRMP teams consider the role that state forestlands play in achieving the broader MFRC regional landscape goals.
Other planning efforts
Other planning efforts are also considered when developing SFRMPs. These include:
- DNR Strategic Conservation Agenda (2015–2025)
- State Forest Action Plans
- State Wildlife Action Plans
- National Forest Plans
- County Forest Management Plans
- Local comprehensive plans
The DNR invites public involvement throughout the planning process. Opportunities for each SFRMP include:
- Introductory webinar
- Review of the initial Preliminary Issues and Assessment report
- Review of modeling scenarios (webinar, survey, and comment period)
- Review of draft plan (webinar and comment period)
All SFRMP webinars and planning documents are available online. Paper copies are available upon request.