Celebrating a forestry centennial

By Kirsten Held, Division of Forestry Outreach Specialist

For more than a century, partnerships have been at the heart of our work to conserve and protect Wisconsin forests.  One of those valued partnerships is with the National Association of State Foresters (NASF).  Established in 1920, NASF is a non-profit organization composed of the directors of forestry agencies in the states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.  To celebrate the centennial of this national partner, the Wisconsin DNR-Division of Forestry will be posting 100 articles on this site throughout 2020 noted with #NASF100.

While Wisconsin may be best known for leading the nation in the production of specialty cheeses, the Wisconsin DNR-Division of Forestry is most proud of the many ways that forests make our state such a great place to live and visit as well as Wisconsin’s leadership in sustainable forestry.

Processor Cutting Red Oak

For example, Wisconsin leads the nation in the value of forest product shipments, and for more than six decades, has led the nation in paper production. Wisconsin leads the nation in implementing third-party certification standards and nearly 7.5 million acres of forest land in Wisconsin are third-party certified today, providing independent assurance that the forests are being managed sustainably.  We’re also among the top states with communities earning Tree City USA status in recognition for investments in their urban forests.

Throughout the year, these 100 posts will explore various Wisconsin forestry programs, projects and partnerships working together to keep Wisconsin forests working.  Each month we’ll showcase a forestry career, property and one of Wisconsin’s common trees.  We’re starting this year-long Wisconsin forestry journey with water-related posts as Wisconsin wraps up the Year of Clean Drinking Water and begins the 25th year of our Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality.  After we explore the relationship between forests and water in January, in February we’ll look at the current status of Wisconsin forests (spoiler alert: our forests are growing in volume every year).

We hope you enjoy journeying with us as we explore Wisconsin’s rich forest resources – from the expansive Northwoods to the tree-lined avenues of Milwaukee – and the wealth of benefits they provide.

Forests and water go together in rural and urban Wisconsin

By Robert Godfrey

Think about all the forests you ever enjoyed in your life. Their natural beauty, the wildlife that inhabit them, the

Sky and trees reflected in tranquil lake water within Flambeau River State Forest.

calming break they give us all from our hectic lives. Forests are important for a lot of reasons and serve a great many purposes. But have you ever stopped to think about all the things forests do to help our environment?

For example, forests are like lungs. They are critical in absorbing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from our atmosphere and helping us to fight climate change.

But have you ever thought of our forests as a water sponge?

It’s true. What they do is truly amazing. They collect and filter rainwater. Then they release it slowly into our streams and rivers. At the same time, these “forest sponges” – trees are made up of more than 50 percent water – are doing some purifying magic, taking out all kinds of pollutants from water before it reaches a stream or river. Continue reading “Forests and water go together in rural and urban Wisconsin”

Two natural resources – One goal

By Robert Godfrey

Wisconsin has an incredible variety of lakes, wetlands, rivers and streams, from the shores of Lakes Michigan and Superior to the Mississippi River. It also has a lot of forest lands. Over the past 100 years, Wisconsin’s public and private land managers have restored our forests and managed them with an eye on future generations.  In fact, 46 percent of our state is now covered with trees and more than half our woodlands are family owned.

Photo by Rena Johnson, courtesy of NASF

Earlier in our state’s history, the forests were heavily harvested with little regard for the environmental damage to our streams, rivers and lakes. Since the hiring of Wisconsin’s first state forester in 1904, Wisconsin’s state forestry program has been dedicated to restoring, maintaining and improving the health and quality of Wisconsin’s forests for today – and for future generations.

These two natural resources – forests and water – are both important to Wisconsin today. They provide income from forest products. They are also home for Wisconsin’s fish and wildlife. Each of them defines the character of the state. Both are vital for recreation and tourism. How do we ensure these two natural resources can co-exist and benefit each other? Continue reading “Two natural resources – One goal”

Meet a Forest Hydrologist

By Robert Godfrey

Forest lands provide a clean and dependable supply of water and a handful of professionals – known as forest hydrologists – monitor our state’s water quality before, during and after forests are harvested. One is Nolan Kriegel. Through his work in safeguarding one of our major sources of clean water, he serves us all in this important job.

He has three major responsibilities. One of the most critical ones is monitoring what is known as Wisconsin’s Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Water Quality where his focus is on timber harvesting and its effects on water quality. Continue reading “Meet a Forest Hydrologist”

Arbor Day Foundation launches three new recognition programs

Now more than ever, trees and forests are a vital component of healthy, livable, and sustainable communities, in the U.S. and around the globe. Along with its partners such as the Wisconsin DNR, the Arbor Day Foundation is seeking ways to link together those that plant and tend urban trees and forests for the benefit of humankind.

In 2019, the Foundation launched three new recognition programs to appeal to three different audiences, three different owners and managers of urban greenspace:

Continue reading “Arbor Day Foundation launches three new recognition programs”

Who can I call for help with a large public woodland?

Does your community need assistance with a substantial parcel of natural woodland (more than 10 acres) under municipal jurisdiction? If so, contact your local DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator. He or she can help you find the expertise you need by connecting you with the appropriate DNR professionals.

Don Kissinger, North Central Regional Urban Forestry Coordinator, recently provided this type of assistance on two separate occasions (described in detail below). Through his contacts at the Wisconsin Rapids DNR Field Forestry Team, Don was able to help a municipality plan for the impact of the emerald ash borer (EAB) in a large community park. Shortly afterwards, he again called upon DNR Field Forestry, this time to assist a technical college with storm damage in its school forest.

Continue reading “Who can I call for help with a large public woodland?”

From ashes to oaks

Dealing with the loss of ash trees to the emerald ash borer (EAB) can be disheartening, and the idea of replanting can seem overwhelming. But Tom Zagar, Muskego City Forester, saw a chance to try something new.

Tom manages a younger-growth woodland that had lost significant canopy due to EAB. After mowing down the invasive shrubs that blanketed parts of the woodland, “I recognized these areas as a prime opportunity to try to reestablish oak trees,” said Tom. “I especially wanted to plant white oak of local genotype.”

Early last spring, Tom and his team sprang into action. They collected loads of white oak acorns, most of which had pushed a root into the ground, with a gentle tug and a small shovel. They planted them in the cleared areas and protected them with tree tubes. Later on, when it was necessary to spray the invasive buckthorn shrubs that had re-sprouted, the tree tubes shielded the seedling oaks from herbicide.

Continue reading “From ashes to oaks”

Tree Owner’s Manual available in English and Spanish

Published by the USDA Forest Service, the Tree Owner’s Manual is a concise yet comprehensive guide to tree care basics. Playfully modeling itself on owner’s manuals that accompany automobiles and appliances, the Manual covers the following topics:

  • Model Information and Parts Diagram (broad-leaf trees, palms and conifers)
  • Packaging (balled and burlapped, containerized, and bare root)
  • Installation (planting)
  • Maintenance Instructions (watering, mulching, pruning, and more)
  • Protecting Trees from Construction Damage
  • Service and Repair (how to hire an arborist)
  • Troubleshooting (common pests, diseases, and structural issues)
  • Removal and Disposal
  • Buying a New Tree
  • and more!

Continue reading “Tree Owner’s Manual available in English and Spanish”

Register now for the WAA/DNR Annual Urban Forestry Conference

The Wisconsin Arborist Association (WAA) teams up with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to present the WAA/DNR Annual Urban Forestry Conference, Sustaining Urban Forests to Ensure a Healthy Future. The largest conference of its kind in the state, this outstanding event has drawn more than 800 participants annually in recent years.

Dates: February 16-18, 2020

Location: Hyatt on Main & KI Convention Center, 333 Main Street, Green Bay, WI 54301

Register: online or by mail

(Early bird registration will be available through January 29th for $245.)

Continue reading “Register now for the WAA/DNR Annual Urban Forestry Conference”

Landscape Professionals Conference: March 3-4, 2020

UW-Madison, Division of Extension and the Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association, Fox Valley Chapter are teaming up to provide the Landscape Professionals Conference on March 3-4, 2020 in Kimberly, WI.  This two-day conference is designed to enhance your professional landscape skills and appreciation for sustainable landscapes.  The program offers half-day sessions the first day and three tracks of education the second day in landscaping, lawn care, and hardscape.  Learn the latest in research and industry developments, while networking with other horticultural professionals.  ISA and NALP Continuing Education Unit (CEU’s) credits are available.  Register by January 31, 2020 for early bird pricing.  For more information and to register, please visit https://www.browncountywi.gov/form/form_fc5fceede823/?check=1.