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’s dominant forest type group by acreage is oak/hickory (26%), followed by maple/beech/birch (22%). Oak is particularly important as it is used for quality forest products such as furniture and wildlife rely on mast (seed) production for food.
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.
Wisconsin is one of the top 25 forested states in the nation by acreage and volume. Forested land occupies about 17 million acres of Wisconsin’s nearly 37 million acres, according to data from the United States Forest Service in 2019.
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.
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.
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!
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.
The Department of Agriculture’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program is the nation’s “Forest Census” and has been ongoing, in one form or another, since the 1930s. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) manages this program with its state partners, allowing every state to get a snapshot of the condition of its forestland in a given year.
FIA data is frequently used to understand how forests across the state are changing over time. This analysis informs sound forest management and planning, allows Wisconsin’s forest products industry to evaluate timber availability and helps us better understand the forests that we use for many purposes.
The forest products industry employs more than 63,000 workers in every corner of the state. Jobs in forest management, logging and wood and paper manufacturing are an important part of our state’s economy. Consider a rewarding career in the forest industry, with occupations including:
- Truck driver
- Log scaler
- Lumber inspector
- Mill production worker
- Maintenance technician
- Process engineer
- Quality control specialist
- Sales representative