Forest management strategic direction

Select harvest

Strategic direction

The DNR manages the state’s forest resources to sustainably achieve environmental, social and economic goals. Our forest management strategic direction is comprised of decisions designed to sustain multiple forest benefits now and into the future while recognizing that the desired mix and balance of those benefits varies across the different forest lands the DNR manages e.g., school trust lands, Division of Forestry-administered lands, Division of Fish and Wildlife-administered lands).

The strategic direction for fiscal years 2019-2028 was informed by multiple data sources including the 2018 Sustainable Timber Harvest Analysis (STHA) project; partner, stakeholder and public input; forest health information; and state and federal statutes, rules and policies. The DNR develops 10-year stand exam lists to implement the strategic direction across the state.

Midpoint assessment

The Midpoint Assessment of Forest Management Strategic Direction: Sustainable Timber Harvest Implementation report is an analysis of the DNR’s implementation of its forest resource management strategic direction to date. The purpose of the midpoint assessment was to evaluate the degree to which DNR forest management actions matched what we planned to do and identify improvements for the remaining years in this planning period.

The midpoint assessment found that overall, based on available data, the DNR is successfully advancing the 10-year strategic direction for forest resource management to ensure that DNR-administered lands sustainably provide forest benefits over time, including wildlife habitat, biodiversity, wood supply and healthy natural resource economies, carbon storage, forest health, recreation, and water quality and quantity.

Some adjustments will be made as a result of what was learned during this assessment, including:

  • developing and implementing a continuous improvement plan with actionable and timely steps to improve forest management coordination;
  • documenting site-specific forest management objectives more thoroughly;
  • discontinuing the pilot program to promote additional ash and tamarack harvest in advance of forest health threats due to low interest.

Before the end of the ten-year planning period, the DNR will evaluate available data and updated modeling, consider section forest resource management plans and wildlife management area plans, and solicit stakeholder and partner perspectives to determine whether and how to update the strategic direction for the following ten years.

10-year stand exam list

To implement our strategic direction, the DNR developed 10-year stand exam lists for each ecological section within Minnesota to implement the strategic direction for this planning period. Collectively, these lists represent a statewide 10-year stand exam list that specifies which forest stands the DNR will assess for potential treatment, such as thinning, harvesting, removing invasive species, etc., to achieve forest management goals. Staff across DNR disciplines provided input throughout the planning process to ensure the 10-year stand exam list incorporates local knowledge and aligns with our forest management strategic direction.

Annual stand exam lists

Annual stand exam lists are derived from the 10-year stand exam list and made available for public comment. For more information about annual stand exam lists, and to sign up for email updates, visit the DNR's Annual Stand Exam Lists webpage.

Sustainable Timber Harvest Analysis Background

The Sustainable Timber Harvest Analysis (STHA) project modeled a range of scenarios to demonstrate the tradeoffs between important forest resource values. The project included a robust, thorough, third-party analysis conducted by Mason, Bruce & Girard, a natural resources consulting firm based in Portland, Oregon. The outcomes of the STHA were an important factor that the DNR considered, along with stakeholder and public input, in updating its strategic direction for this planning period, which was expressed in the DNR Sustainable Timber Harvest Determination Report.

Frequently Asked Questions

Good forest management includes periodic review of strategic direction to provide a balance of forest values today and into the future. In December 2016, Governor Dayton requested that the DNR analyze whether harvesting one million cords of timber per year from DNR-administered forest lands would be sustainable, and if not, determine what would be sustainable.

An independent contractor, Mason, Bruce & Girard (MB&G), conducted the analysis and a stakeholder advisory group provided input. The analysis included modeling scenarios that incorporated statutory requirements for managing DNR-administered lands and emphasized different balances the following values:

  • Timber productivity
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Biodiversity
  • Water quality and water quantity
  • Forest community health and invasive species
  • Economic impact

Modelling results showed how emphasizing those different values influenced outcomes such as timber volume and forest age class distributions over the long term (100 years). In addition to model results, more than 140 individuals or groups provided comments that were shared with MB&G for consideration in their final report.

Reference documents:

Send questions about DNR forest resource management planning to: [email protected].

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