The DNR Division of Forestry recently finalized updates to the Forest Tax Law Handbook, Chapter 221, regarding the Managed Forest Law Certified Group. This chapter contains procedures required to conform with third-party forest certification and serves to inform group stakeholders of how the MFL Certified Group works. The update constituted a holistic rewrite of the original Ch. 21 of the Forest Tax Law Handbook. Find a detailed summary of the changes made.
Chapter 221 was open for stakeholder input for a three-week period ending on March 10, 2023. One extensive comment, which was largely informational, was received on the draft. The DNR values the perspective and information provided and responded directly to the stakeholder. Two changes resulted from the feedback:
- A sentence stating that MFL certified group members receive the same benefits as traditional Tree Farm members were removed.
- In the background section, we clarified that since participation in the MFL Certified Group is voluntary, landowners can decide not to participate in the MFL Certified Group and apply for participation in the traditional Tree Farm program. More information about the traditional Tree Farm program can be found on the Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee website.
Two additional editorial changes were also made after the stakeholder input period:
- “Deactivation of participating MFL enrollments due to nonconformity with certification standards and routine data maintenance” was added to the group manager’s responsibilities.
- We also rephrased the “application/deactivation” form to maintain consistent terminology throughout the chapter.
Please take a look at the updated chapter. Of particular interest for landowners participating in the MFL Certified Group (aka group members), is the table of roles and responsibilities on pages 4-7 of Ch. 221. Feel free to contact MFLForestCertification@wisconsin.gov if you are a group member or anyone else with a role in the certified group and have questions about your responsibilities.