Forest resource management planning

The DNR develops forest resource management plans on a 10-year cycle. These plans guide forest management activities on state-administered lands, including when, where, how, and how much timber is harvested. Long-term planning helps ensure state forest management activities meet statewide goals for ecological protection, timber production, cultural, and recreational values.

The components of the DNR's forest resource management plan are:

  • Strategic direction – decisions for how to fulfill statutory requirements and balance multiple values sustainably through forest resource management
  • 10-year stand exam list – a list of forest stands to examine for potential management to meet the strategic direction
  • Section forest resource management plans (SFRMPs) – narrative plans for what to consider when making management decisions regarding stands on the 10-year stand exam list to advance landscape-scale goals within ecological sections

Components of the DNR's Forest Resource Management Plan

Interdisciplinary partners within DNR from the Divisions of Forestry, Fish & Wildlife, and Ecological & Water Resources develop the plans. The DNR also invites public input at various points in the planning process.

Why do we make plans?

Planning allows the DNR to strategically and sustainably manage state forest land over time. Many factors influence plan development, including available natural resource data, state policy, laws, and input from other forest planning efforts.

The DNR determines its strategic direction for sustainable harvest levels through an interdisciplinary process that includes modeling the effects of management practices on multiple forest resource values. To achieve that strategic direction, the DNR develops a 10-year stand exam list that identifies which forest stands will be visited and evaluated for potential management activity. Potential management includes various timber harvest actions, thinning, forest regeneration, prescribed burning, and corrections to forest stand inventory information. Forest stands are selected for the 10-year list based on age, site productivity, size, number and species of trees, and forest stand location.

Additionally, the DNR develops section forest resource management plans (SFRMPs) that guide the implementation of the 10-year stand exam list at the ecological section scale. The direction in SFRMPs is developed to address natural resource issues that affect or are affected by management decisions made on timber-producing state land. The direction in SFRMPs includes:

  • Desired Forest Composition: Short-term (10 years) and long-term (50 years) desired changes to the distribution of forest cover type acres on DNR forest lands within the planning area.
  • General Direction Statements: Broad directions for management (e.g. increase, decrease, or maintain certain forest conditions).
  • Strategies: Specific actions that will move forests in the desired general direction.
  • Management Opportunity Areas: Areas spanning multiple forest stands that have been identified as opportunities to advance ecological or wildlife habitat goals. Examples include ruffed grouse management areas and old forest management complexes around designated old growth stands.

Forest stands selected for the 10-year list will be field-visited by DNR staff over the planning period to determine the appropriate management actions for each forest stand, considering identified SFRMP goals and strategies.

How does the process work?

Process objectives

The objectives of the forest management planning process are to:

  • Develop credible plans that enable good forest management
  • Facilitate interdisciplinary involvement in forest goal setting
  • Inform and involve the public and interested parties about DNR-administered forestland management

The plans are made with the best available knowledge at the time, and in alignment with existing state and agency policy. However, the process and the plans themselves must be flexible in order to adapt to new information and changing conditions. The planning process provides for periodic reviews to monitor plan implementation and determine if plans need to be updated.

Other planning efforts

Other planning efforts are also considered when developing forest management plans. These may include:

How can you get involved?

The DNR invites public involvement throughout the planning process.

All current forest management planning documents are available online and draft planning documents are available online during public comment periods. Paper copies are available upon request.

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Please email questions or comments to [email protected]

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