Northern Minnesota and Ontario Peatlands Section

Forest Resource Management Plan (NMOP SFRMP)

map showing the location of the northern minnesota and ontario peatlands section

SFRMPs, along with 10-year stand exam lists, are operational plans for achieving the DNR's strategic direction for vegetation management. They guide forest management activities on DNR-administered lands within each forested ecological section in Minnesota as the 10-year stand exam list is implemented.

The NMOP SFRMP outlines the planning process, forest vegetation management goals and directions, and implementation strategies for state-administered lands in the NMOP Section. Within the Section, the SFRMP also identifies management opportunity areas, such as ruffed grouse management areas and old forest management complexes around old growth stands.

Plan Status

The DNR is currently developing the NMOP SFRMP.

Work on this plan began in 2014 but was paused in 2016 to complete the DNR's Sustainable Timber Harvest Analysis (STHA). The DNR resumed planning for the NSU SFRMP in 2018, following the DNR's determination of updated strategic forest management direction and the development of 10-year stand exam lists to implement the strategic direction.

The comment period for the draft plan was completed in December 2020, and the plan is currently in review within the DNR. Once approved, the final plan documents will be available on this page.

Northern Minnesota and Ontario Peatlands information

The Northern Minnesota and Ontario Peatlands (NMOP) Ecological Section covers nearly 5.3 million acres in north-central Minnesota adjacent to the Canadian Border, including approximately 1.17 million acres of state-managed forest land. The Section includes all or part of Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Koochiching, St. Louis, Itasca, Beltrami, and Clearwater counties. The largest blocks of DNR-administered land within the Section are within the Beltrami Island, Koochiching, Red Lake, Pine Island, and Kabetogama State Forests.

Much of the Northern Minnesota and Ontario Peatlands Section is characterized by flat and poorly drained topography, and about half of the Section consists of clayey deposits from Glacial Lake Agassiz. These features underlie extensive peatlands that support forest ecosystems such as tamarack and black spruce swamps and spruce bogs, and other forest ecosystems including mesic and wet forests of mixed conifer and boreal hardwood species, white cedar, or black ash. Aspen-birch and fire-dependent jack pine or red pine forests are found on uplands. Defining or unique features of this part of the state include:

  • Three of Minnesota's eleven largest lakes, Upper Red, Lower Red, and Lake of the Woods, which are remnants of Glacial Lake Agassiz.
  • Significant rivers within the Section include the Rainy, which forms the northern boundary of the Section, and the Minnesota, Big Fork, and Littlefork Rivers.
  • Unique peatland plant communities that harbor rare or unusual species, including carnivorous plants and orchids.
  • Large tracts of undeveloped land in public and tribal ownership (Red Lake Nation).
  • A diversity of northern wetland birds, especially associated with Lake of the Woods, including white pelicans, American bitterns, migratory waterfowl, and migratory shorebirds, as well as boreal birds associated with swamps and bogs.
  • Numerous Species in Greatest Conservation Need, including Canada lynx, gray wolf, northern bog lemmings, spruce grouse, short-eared owls, sharp-tailed grouse, bald eagles, black-backed woodpeckers, yellow rails, boreal owls, boreal chickadees, Connecticut warbler, red-necked grebes, bog coppers, and lake sturgeon are found within the area.
  • Various land uses, including, significantly, forestry with black spruce, jack pine, and quaking aspen the most common species utilized for pulp and sawlogs and tourism/recreation, including hunting and fishing.

The NMOP SFRMP's preliminary assessment document (completed in 2014) includes additional background information about the Section. Note that this document was developed before the DNR's current strategic forest management direction and 10-year stand exam lists were completed. Some information related to the planning process in this document is outdated.

Direct comments or questions about this plan to: [email protected]

Back to top