Northern Minnesota & Ontario Peatlands Section

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

Forest Resource Management Plan

The DNR is in the process of developing the Northern Minnesota and Ontario Peatlands Section Forest Resource Management Plan (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 NMOP SFRMP in 2018, following a Department decision on the statewide sustainable timber harvest level, and implementation of that decision through development of 10-year stand exam lists for all ecological Sections of the state, including NMOP. For more information, visit the DNR sustainable timber harvest analysis, decisions, and planning webpage.

Timeline of NMOP SFRMP Planning

timeline of NMOP SFRMP planning. Text is paragraph above.

Plan Status

Going forward, the NMOP SFRMP will guide state forest management activities in the Section as the 10-year stand exam list is implemented.

Comment periods on the draft plan were 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 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.
  • Major rivers, including 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.
  • Species of 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.
  • Forestry and tourism/recreation, including hunting and fishing, are the major land uses in the section, with black spruce, jack pine, and quaking aspen the most common species utilized for pulp and sawlogs.

The NMOP SFRMP's preliminary assessment (completed in 2014) document includes additional background information about the Section. Note that this document was developed before the STHA, when 10-year stand exam lists were developed during the SFRMP process. Some information related to the planning process in this document may not be up-to-date.

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