Month: May 2023

Wildfire Season Makes Its Way To The Northwoods

To capture the concept of fire season in a tidy little package, it can be thought of as the time of year when wildfires are most likely to occur. A traditional fire season in Wisconsin begins in southern Wisconsin as the snow melts and moves progressively north, following snow melt further north and moving away from green up in the south. This is the case for Wisconsin this year. While trees are leafing out, people are mowing lawns, and morel mushrooms are appearing in southern Wisconsin, fire season is coming to an end.

It’s a different case in northern Wisconsin, with green up just beginning and fire season at its peak. In fact, the areas with sandy soil and an abundance of pine trees are at critical fire danger, particularly because of a phenomenon called the “spring dip” – a time when the moisture content of pine needles is low and starch content is high. When pines are in the spring dip, individual tree torching and crown fire in groups of trees is a very real possibility. This type of fire is the most challenging to contain and extinguish.

Warm temperatures, low humidity, and gusty winds forecasted for this week will keep fire danger elevated in northern Wisconsin. Several counties have suspended burning where the DNR has burning authority. Small campfires for warming or cooking are allowed but definitely not recommended until conditions improve.

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SCS Global Services Seeks Stakeholder Input

Summary: As part of an upcoming Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) certification evaluation, forest certification auditor SCS Global Services is seeking stakeholder input regarding the forest management program and practices of State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Managed Forest Law (MFL) program.

Please direct comments to Brendan Grady (SCS Director of Forest Management) and Beth Jacqmain (FSC Lead Auditor) at  You may mail comments to them at 2000 Powell Street, Suite 600, Emeryville, CA 94608 or reach them via telephone at (510) 452-8034.

In continuation with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) endorsed forest management certification, the Managed Forest Law program will be undergoing an audit during the week of August 14, 2023 for Wisconsin’s Managed Forest Law (MFL) Certified Group. The audit will be conducted by SCS Global Services, a FSC-accredited certification body. The Forest Stewardship Council is a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging the responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC sets standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable way.

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Document Trees Planted This Year

Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist, Milwaukee, or 608-445-4578

As there is every glorious spring, there has been a flurry of tree planting in Wisconsin. Each little tree, from seed to sapling, is a hope and prayer that we make for the future. But as each reader knows, that future might be many years away.

While you nurture these arboreal miracles, why not take a couple minutes to document the trees in the Wisconsin Tree Planting Map? The map was designed to help track trees planted to advance the state’s pledge to the Trillion Trees Initiative.

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Wisconsin DNR Begins State Nursery Biochar Trial

By Brian Zweifel, DNR Forest Products Specialist,

What is Biochar?

Microscopic structure of biochar. Photo credit: UK Biochar Research Centre

Biochar is basically just charcoal with a special mission, to be used in the soil. The US Biochar Initiative (USBI) defines it as “carbonized biomass obtained from sustainable sources and sequestered in soils to sustainably enhance their agricultural and environmental value under present and future management.” 

Biomass, such as unmerchantable wood waste, is transformed into this carbon-rich material in a low oxygen environment, cooking most non-carbon materials out of it and leaving the material’s basic structure intact. This carbon skeleton is what gives biochar many of its desirable properties. 

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USDA Biological Control Facility Seeks Ash Trees To Battle Emerald Ash Borer

Asks Landowners To Donate Infested Ash Trees

USDA staff cut a ‘bark window’ in green ash to uncover signs of emerald ash borer. Photo credit: USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is asking Wisconsin landowners for their help. Emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive insect from Asia that was first introduced into the United States in 2002. Since its discovery, EAB has caused the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees. USDA uses ash trees to combat the pest to help preserve and protect the tree species.

Wisconsin landowners have donated live, infested ash trees to USDA’s EAB biological control program. The wood is used to grow EAB’s natural enemies and release them in Wisconsin and 31 other infested States as well as D.C. where they are attacking and killing EAB. USDA needs more ash trees to continue this work and is hoping more Wisconsin residents will consider donating their ash trees this year.

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Photo Collage Of Arbor Day Celebrations

Scroll down to see how communities around the state celebrated Arbor Day in 2023!

Governor Tony Evers attended the village of Germantown’s Arbor Day celebration on Friday, April 28. Village Park and Recreation staff organized the event with help from Wendland Nursery and the Wisconsin DNR. In addition to village staff and leaders, there were approximately 35 elementary students in attendance, all part of the Kids Club (an after-school program at County Line School). DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator Olivia Witthun spoke with the students and presented the community with their 19th annual Tree City USA award. Olivia was assisted by DNR Forestry staff Mike Warnke and Kim Sebastian. The local nursery provided a planting demonstration and gave each student a plant or vegetable to go home with.

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First Downs For Trees Celebrates 13 Years

On April 20, the First Downs for Trees program celebrated its 13th year by distributing 403 trees to 16 Brown County communities for planting. First Downs for Trees is a cooperative effort between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) and corporate sponsors Essity and Green Bay Packaging, Inc.

The program donates trees to participating communities based on the number of first downs in the previous season.

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Pesticide Requirements On Certified MFL Lands

What do buckthorn, spongy moth and heterobasidion root disease all have in common? Although very different forest pests, they can all potentially be treated with pesticides. A pesticide, as defined in the Forest Stewardship Council® Pesticide Policy, is any substance or mixture of substances of chemical or biological ingredients intended for repelling, destroying or controlling any pest or regulating plant growth.

More specifically, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides are the pesticides most commonly encountered in forestry applications. They are often prescribed as part of a robust Integrated Pest Management strategy to manage forest pests. For landowners participating in the Managed Forest Law (MFL) Certified Group, specific forest certification requirements are associated with pesticide use on their certified lands. Continue reading “Pesticide Requirements On Certified MFL Lands”

MFL Compliance And Services Accepted For Mandatory Practices

Last year, changes to Wisconsin DNR policy and procedures for mandatory practice compliance were adopted, culminating in a new Chapter 601: Mandatory Practice Compliance Procedures within the Forest Tax Law Handbook. For a summary of these changes, you can reference this newsletter article from last year. In particular, 2023 will be the first year implementing the new procedures for what we refer to as “services accepted.” A new process merits an explanation of what services accepted means and how it impacts a landowner’s compliance with Managed Forest Law (MFL) and Forest Crop Law (FCL).

The mandatory practice is often where the rubber meets the road in MFL and FCL. Mandatory practices are forest management practices, most frequently timber harvests, required under MFL to ensure continued production of marketable timber products from enrolled properties. Given the importance of the mandatory practice, the Forest Tax Law section and our partners often communicate about these. There are reminder letters to affected landowners, webpages describing harvesting on tax law lands, mandatory practice workshops and newsletter articles. Continue reading “MFL Compliance And Services Accepted For Mandatory Practices”