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WHAT IS FOREST STEWARDSHIP?

The human relationship with the natural world is ancient, complex, and difficult to accurately define. But one thing remains the same, we are as dependent on Earth’s resources now as we ever were. Also true for many of us is a more non-tangible need to be close to the land or to maintain a connection to the environment, a  sense of place. According to survey data from the University of Minnesota and Minnesota DNR this is especially true for folks who choose to own rural properties in the forested areas of Minnesota. For many of these landowners, their bond with the land is a relationship as close as any human friendship, and their dedication to preserving the natural beauty and ecological functions that make their land a benefit to neighboring properties, watersheds, and the surrounding landscape as a whole is what makes a Forest Steward. Forest stewardship is not simply owning, but also a promise to the next generation that you will care for the land in a way that will maintain and improve your portion of the Minnesota forest for the future. In turn, practicing forest stewards are rewarded with a deep knowledge of the natural mechanisms that make a forest function and a better understanding of how to sustainably harvest resources from it.

That’s where we can help. Minnesota has one of the most engaging and valuable private landowner forest stewardship programs in the country. This paired with a broad network of professional conservationists dedicated to assisting landowners to achieve their property goals makes it a straightforward and worthwhile investment.

The first step is making a plan. This process is easy to initiate thanks to the MN DNR’s Forest Stewardship Planning program, see the
description of this program and how we can help make it happen on our “Forest Planning” tab within this page.

LITTLE FORK NON-INDUSTRIAL PRIVATE FORESTLAND PROJECT

Across Minnesota’s water-rich forested regions, a series of collaborative projects were developed by the six regional landscape committees of the Minnesota Forest Resources Council (MFRC), in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry.

Funded by a US Forest Service State & Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration grant, with matching contributions by local and state partners, each committee designed their project to address sustainable forest resource concerns in their priority areas.

Here is a look at the Northern Landscape Committee’s Little Fork Headwaters Non-Industrial Private Forestland (NIPF) project.

Little Fork NIPF Wrapup Grant

Utilizing additional funding from a prior grant which ended in 2019, the NIPF “Wrap-up” scope of work was developed to build additional data tracking and coordination between SWCD forestry, the Board of Soil & Water Resources (BWSR), and MN DNR private forest management programs.

Northern Landscape Committee

The Minnesota Forest Resource Council (MFRC) was established by the Minnesota State Legislature in 1995 to “develop recommendations to the Governor and to federal, state, county and local governments with respect to policies that result in sustainable management of forests in the state.”

Landscape Stewardship Planning

Loons, Lunkers, and Logs is a collaborative project led by the Board of Soil and Water Resources and Minnesota DNR Forestry Division to support local conservation work encouraging sustainable forest management and forest protection on private lands.

 

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
forestland.  

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.

UNDER DEVELOPMENT

Coming Soon!

UNDER DEVELOPMENT

For more information on our tree program, visit: https://koochichingswcd.org/tree-sales/

More Coming Soon!

 

JAMES AASEN

Forest Resource Specialist
218-283-6742
james.aasen@co.koochiching.mn.us