Minnesota’s forests are vast and species rich. From the pine
ringed lakes of the eastern boreal forests to the grassy aspen parklands in the
west, opportunities to appreciate the woods and wildlife that call the state
home abound. Minnesotan’s dedication and pride in these landscapes shows
through and through. Perhaps surprisingly given the amount of wilderness
available for public access, the largest landowner group in the state are
family woodland owners with 33%, or an estimated 5.9 million acres of Minnesota
Just as Minnesota’s public lands are managed for different
land use values, each family forest is used in different ways and every
landowner has their own land management priorities.
The Forest Stewardship Planning program offers private woodland
owners a unique opportunity to use professional forestry advice to achieve
their custom property goals on their own lands.
Administered through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Forestry Division (MNDNR), the program creates a template for the development
of a 10-year management plan based on the landowner’s goals and advised by
certified professional foresters. Some management goals may include the
encouragement of specific wildlife or plant species, assessments of forest
health, or timber value estimates. With these specific directives and any
historical context, the landowner may want to share, the forester will then
conduct fieldwork to define and collect forest data, create custom maps using Global
Information System (GIS) mapping, and write a 10-year management strategy to
achieve those goals.
In addition to the advantages of professional forestry
guidance, landowners participating in the Forest Stewardship Planning program can
also receive help designing projects such as tree planting, wildlife habitat
plantings, or invasive species control and applying for cost-share to help pay
for these projects when available. Forests with a registered and current plan
are also eligible for enrollment in incentive programs like the Sustainable Forest
Initiative Act (SFIA) or 2C Managed Forest Tax Classification.
If you’re interested in developing a Forest Stewardship Plan
for your property or would like more information, Koochiching Soil and Water
Conservation district can help. Give us a call at 218-283-6742.