Forest Growth, Removal And Mortality

Forest growth, removal and mortality are indicators of forest productivity. Each forest type in Wisconsin differs in productivity based on many factors such as silvics, demand for products and overall management. Recent data from the U.S. Forest Service shows that aspen, being a short-lived species, currently has the highest mortality rate of the top ten species while eastern white pine is increasing in growth and volume.

White pine regeneration under a managed old-growth white pine at Uhrenholdt Demonstration Forest. Credit: Wisconsin DNR

Managing For Old-Growth Forests

Old-growth forests are unique ecosystems that were historically abundant across the forested regions of Wisconsin but have now dwindled to about 1% of their original presence. Realizing the importance of old-growth forest structure and composition, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) partners initiated a study in 2004 to look at silviculture methods to maintain and enhance old-growth characteristics. The Managed Old Growth Silviculture Study (MOSS)  continues today on public lands in northern Wisconsin including the Flambeau River State Forest, the Northern Highlands – American Legion State Forest and the Argonne Experimental Forest (located within the Chequamegon – Nicolet National Forest). The main goal of this study is to develop forest management techniques that accelerate the development of structural and compositional complexity in second-growth northern hardwoods.

Wisconsin DNR forest research crew collecting old growth data. Credit: Wisconsin DNR

A forester explains the values of old growth in a Hemlock stand near Woodruff. Credit: Wisconsin DNR

The Forestry Bubble

The middle-aged bubble does not only pertain to the baby boomer generation. Wisconsin forests are experiencing this age phenomenon as well.  Wisconsin forest data shows a significant bubble of acreage in the middle age class (60-80 years old) with lesser amounts in the very young and very old age classes. This middle age bubble can be attributed in part to the cutover period when many of these forests originated.

Total acreage of timberland between 1983 and 2017 distributed by stand age class. Error bars represent the 68% confidence interval. Source: Forest Inventory and Analysis, 2017.

Forest Characteristics, Ecology And Management In The Statewide Forest Action Plan

The success of sustainable forest management starts with a solid plan. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires each chief state forester to develop a statewide action plan every ten years. The Wisconsin plan, developed in 2020, reflects on lessons learned from the past to prepare for future challenges.

The next 12 posts are related to the “forest characteristics, ecology and management” section of the plan. Goals in this section include providing connectivity between forest patches, as well as increasing the quality and scale of forested habitat for many forest-dependent species.

DNR Staff engaging with landowners.

Wisconsin DNR Forestry meeting with stakeholders at Caroline Lake, Ashland County. A wide variety of forestry partners collaborated on the preparation and implementation of Wisconsin’s Statewide Forest Action Plan. Credit: Wisconsin DNR

Monitoring The Condition Of Wisconsin’s Forest Regeneration

Have you ever wondered how Wisconsin’s forests are monitored for regeneration? Forest regeneration, the process of renewing tree cover by establishing young trees, is one of the most basic and important elements of sustainable forest management. After a harvest or disturbance event, like a fire or heavy winds, successful regeneration is crucial to developing healthy, productive forests that can provide sustainable economic and ecological functions. Forest regrowth patterns must be well understood to manage Wisconsin’s forest resources sustainably.

In 2018, the DNR’s Forestry Division launched the Forest Regeneration Monitoring (FRM) program to better assess the status and progression of naturally regenerating forests on county, state, federal and private lands across the state.

Continue reading “Monitoring The Condition Of Wisconsin’s Forest Regeneration”

Wood Energy – Renewable And Locally Available

Did you know that wood energy makes up a large percentage of Wisconsin’s renewable energy consumption? In 2017, biomass (including wood) accounted for an estimated 70% of the state’s renewable energy use.  Are you a business, school or institution interested in learning more about whether wood energy is a good fit for you?  See how the Forest Products Services program can help!

Graphs displaying renewable energy use by source.

Source: https://psc.wi.gov/Pages/Programs/OEI/WisconsinEnergyStatistics.aspx

DNR Announces Urban Forestry Catastrophic Storm Grant Recipients

By Nicolle Spafford, DNR Program Specialist, Nicolle.Spafford@wisconsin.gov or 715-896-7099

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the recipients of the Urban Forestry Catastrophic Storm Grants to assist with damage sustained during the July 28, 2021 extreme storm events throughout the state.

The following five communities will divide $104,920.00 in fiscal year 2022 state grant dollars: Marathon County, City of Omro, City of Ripon, City of Tomahawk and the City of Watertown.

Catastrophic storm grants typically range from $4,000 to $50,000. Due to the high number of applications this year, applicants could receive a maximum of $22,965. Each applicant received at least partial funding. The grants do not require a dollar-for-dollar match.

The DNR’s Urban Forestry Catastrophic Storm Grant program funds tree repair, removal or replacement within urban areas following a catastrophic storm event for which the governor has declared a State of Emergency under s. 323.10, Wis. Stats.

Continue reading “DNR Announces Urban Forestry Catastrophic Storm Grant Recipients”