News release: DNR seeks private woodland owners to help expand forest inventory data

January 11, 2024

Participants will receive high-quality data on their woodlands at no cost

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is inviting private woodland owners with two or more acres of forested property to participate in a new effort to help improve and advance forest inventory across Minnesota.

The DNR’s Resource Assessment Program is developing a more precise forest inventory –  information on the type, number, and size of trees in forests that can provide insight to the health of forests and how they’re changing. This is developed by pairing lidar (light detection and ranging) data collected aerially with on-the-ground information gathered by professional foresters via a process known as Plot Based Inventory (PBI). Thousands of PBI plots are needed to verify the lidar data and develop statewide forest inventory models.

Until now, PBI has been conducted primarily on public lands, but nearly half of Minnesota’s forested lands are privately owned. Expanding PBI to private woodlands will provide valuable information to increase the accuracy of forest inventory models statewide.

Private woodland owners who participate in the PBI effort will work with a professional forester and receive high-quality forest inventory data of their woodlands at no cost. Following data collection, landowners will receive an initial report with information about the inventory data collected. A more comprehensive follow-up report will be sent after the project is completed at the end of 2025.

The forest inventory information can be used to:

  • Learn about fire fuel loads and how to reduce wildfire risk.
  • Improve forest management relating to harvest planning, wildlife habitat, tree planting or trail development.
  • Create forest stewardship plans to sustain healthy, resilient and beautiful forests for generations to come.

Interested landowners can visit the DNR website to learn more and sign up to participate in the PBI effort. Participants will be contacted by a project team member to confirm details about their woodland and discuss next steps.

This project is funded in part by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

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