Month: August 2023

Forest Health Team Offers Seven New Fact Sheets, Updates Website

A preview of the new Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forest Health fact sheet on spongy moth.

A preview of the new Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forest Health fact sheet on spongy moth. Graphic Credit: Wisconsin DNR

By Art Kabelowsky, DNR Outreach/Communications Specialist, Fitchburg; or 608-335-0167

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Forest Health team has debuted seven new fact sheets, providing information on various forest insects and diseases as well as tips on how to deal with their emergence on your property.

The new fact sheets provide details on spongy moth, oak wilt management, spruce budworm, jack pine budworm, tamarack insects (larch casebearer and eastern larch beetle), red pine pocket decline and mortality and a comparison of common spring defoliator caterpillars (forest tent caterpillar, eastern tent caterpillar and spongy moth).

Additionally, the Forest Health team has updated and/or refreshed the look of its 13 existing fact sheets.

Continue reading “Forest Health Team Offers Seven New Fact Sheets, Updates Website”

Applying For MFL And Hiring A Certified Plan Writer

By Nicholas Holmes, DNR Tax Law Forestry Specialist serving Brown, Door, Kewaunee and Outagamie Counties

Is your Managed Forest Law (MFL) Order Commitment expiring? Would you like to reenroll, add land to your current enrollment, or are you considering enrolling in MFL for the first time? You must hire a Certified Plan Writer (CPW) to prepare an application and submit it to the DNR by June 1, 2024.

Managed Forest Law (MFL) expiration letters were mailed in July to landowners whose MFL enrollment expires on Dec. 31, 2024. Landowners who qualify and wish to remain in the MFL program without a lapse in enrollment will need to meet the application deadline of June 1, 2024. Landowners who are not currently enrolled in the MFL but who qualify and wish to enroll as of Jan. 1, 2025 need to meet the same deadline. If there has been a change to your contact information, please inform your local Tax Law Forestry Specialist of your correct address so expiration letters reach the appropriate destination.

Before enrolling, reenrolling or adding land to your current enrollment, familiarize yourself with today’s program requirements and ensure that MFL is a good fit for you. Many changes have been made to the MFL program over the last several years. Landowners are highly encouraged to visit the Managed Forest Law page on the WI DNR website to familiarize themselves with the rules and requirements of the program.  Continue reading “Applying For MFL And Hiring A Certified Plan Writer”

A Look At Forestry Certification: Education 101 And Industry Insight

NOTE: This article originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association Magazine and is reprinted here with permission.

By Taylor Dorsey, Wood Sourcing Specialist with Ahlstrom

Forest products have become an increasingly important part of the global economy.  In the past couple of decades, forest certification has increased in popularity. Forest certification is a voluntary process in which the forest management practices and fiber tracking methods of an organization, or individual, are evaluated and certified according to a set of environmental, social and economic standards.

Forest certification began in the early 1990s, when a number of environmental organizations and companies began to recognize the need for improved forest management practices. The concept was to create a system in which companies and individuals could demonstrate their commitment to responsible forest management. The goal was to create a system that would provide a standard of environmental, social and economic best practices and would be recognized and accepted globally. Continue reading “A Look At Forestry Certification: Education 101 And Industry Insight”

Results Of 2023 MFL Group Internal Certification Audit

The annual internal audit of the Managed Forest Law (MFL) Certified Group took place during the week of April 10 with visits to 40 certified MFL properties and completed timber harvests in southern Wisconsin – specifically in Columbia, Dane, Iowa, Juneau, Marquette, Monroe, Richland, Sauk, Vernon and Waushara counties.

We were fortunate to have sunny skies and warm weather, witness a lot of superb forest management, engage in thoughtful discussions with landowners, foresters, and loggers, and identify a couple more opportunities for improvement. In sum, we are challenged to improve our pesticide reporting by group members and transportation system maintenance outside of forestry operations.

An internal audit is required every year for both Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) and American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) standards, under which the MFL Certified Group is dually certified. The audit reviews a selection of MFL properties where timber harvesting was completed within the previous three years. All indicators under the FSC and ATFS standards are eligible for evaluation during the audit, but the focus is on indicators that where the MFL Group has been out of conformance in recent audits and on issues identified through routine harvest monitoring. Continue reading “Results Of 2023 MFL Group Internal Certification Audit”

Medford Couple Invests Elbow Grease

By Art Kabelowsky, Wisconsin DNR Division of Forestry

Lori and Jim Livingston manage a species-diverse, 401-acre property outside Medford and adjacent to the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Lori and Jim Livingston manage a species-diverse, 401-acre property outside Medford and adjacent to the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

What’s one of the most underrated factors behind successful forest stewardship?

Good old-fashioned elbow grease.

“There used to be a time we’d both get up in the morning and work until it got dark,” Lori Livingston said with a laugh. “We don’t do that anymore.”

Still, elbow grease remains the not-so-secret ingredient behind the vast and diverse beauty of Jim and Lori Livingston’s 401-acre property, located adjacent to the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in the Town of Hammel, near Medford in Taylor County.

“The north end is hilly, with a lot of rocks. The south end levels out but gets wet,” Jim Livingston said. “For this part of Wisconsin, we have a lot of diversity.”

“When we first saw this (property), it was just a rockpile,” Lori Livingston said. “Lots and lots of rocks. But we have so many resources here, we’ve been able to make it work.” Continue reading “Medford Couple Invests Elbow Grease”

Changes Proposed To Public Forest Lands Handbook

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking public input on proposed changes to the Public Forest Lands Handbook, which covers program guidance for all DNR and county land management procedures in addition to program management for the DNR’s Good Neighbor Authority process. The Public Forest Lands Handbook is updated every 2 years to incorporate and codify any approved policies and guidance that have occurred since the previous update.  See a summary of proposed changes on this page. You can see the full handbook with proposed changes highlighted here. Submit comments by August 22, 2023 to Doug Brown,

International Wood Buyers Visit Wisconsin

By Scott Lyon, DNR Forest Products Specialist

From May 30 to June 2, 2023, eight wood buyers from Mexico, India, Thailand and Taiwan participated in an inbound trade mission that visited ten lumber manufacturers around the state. This event was hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and New North, Inc., and was sponsored by the Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

While visiting the Wisconsin manufacturers, the buyers learned about sustainable forest management practices, the wood species and types of forest products manufactured here in the state, and how the products could meet their existing market demand in their own country. In addition to visiting Wisconsin lumber manufacturers, the buyers were treated to a reception at the Menominee Casino in Keshena where additional lumber manufacturers from around the state were able to meet them and market their products. Menominee Tribal Enterprises was the host company during this event and provided the attendees with an overview of their tribal history, sawmill and forest management practices.  Continue reading “International Wood Buyers Visit Wisconsin”

Timber Prices: Supply and Demand

By Ram Dahal, DNR Forest Economist

Timber prices are the dollar values paid to a landowner for the right to harvest by loggers or timber buyers. Timber pricing is important as it not only defines the value of the timberland but also as a driving factor for timberland investments. Therefore, an understanding of how timber prices are set is foundational for both buyers and sellers of stumpage.

In principle, the price offered for timber depends on the interaction between the supply and demand components of a market. In the context of a timber sale, demand refers to a logger or timber buyer’s desire to purchase timber and willingness to pay for it. In most circumstances, wood-consuming mills are the primary drivers of timber demand. On the other hand, supply refers to the total amount of a timber that is available to the marketplace. Forestland owners are the primary drivers of timber supply. Continue reading “Timber Prices: Supply and Demand”

Wisconsin DNR Begins State Nursery Biochar Trial

By Brian Zweifel, DNR Forest Products Specialist

What is Biochar?

Biochar is basically just charcoal with a special mission, to be used in the soil. The U.S. 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.” 

Microscopic structure of biochar.

Microscopic structure of biochar. / Photo Credit: U.K. Biochar Research Centre

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. 

The former vessels and pores in the plant material are now able to adsorb nutrients and water before they can move below the rooting zone. This helps reduce nutrient leaching into groundwater and plant water stress by keeping them available in the rooting zone. This structure also has a high cation exchange capacity, making biochar very effective at binding pollutants like mercury and other heavy metals found in urban/industrial areas. 

An added benefit of using biochar in degraded soils is that it is great at providing protected spaces for beneficial soil microbes. Fungal hyphae and bacteria readily colonize biochar particles, which provides protection from adverse conditions and helps improve soil health. Another very promising attribute of biochar is that it is a very stable and long-lived form of soil carbon. Studies in the Amazon Basin have found evidence of charcoal (biochar) used by indigenous groups to improve the heavily leached soils that date back several hundred to thousands of years ago. The discovery of this “terra preta,” or literally “black soil” in Portuguese, was the spark that started researchers looking into the long-lived nature of biochar, its ability to improve soil health, and the possibility of using it to sequester carbon in soils for centuries. A wide variety of scientific trials are underway across the globe, including right here in Wisconsin. Continue reading “Wisconsin DNR Begins State Nursery Biochar Trial”

Forest Products Training and Events

Lake States Lumber Association (LSLA) – Railroad Tie Manufacturing Workshop

Tuesday, Sept. 12
Stony Creek Resort, Onalaska, WI
The workshop will cover the basics of tie grading, log selection, log and tie processing, and sawmill considerations. A hands-on grading exercise and discussion will also be included. For more information and to register, visit the LSLA education webpage.

LSLA Hardwood Lumber Grading

Oct. 24-26
Northcentral Technical College, Antigo, WI
The course is open to everyone interested in lumber grading. For complete details, including the topics that will be covered in the course, list of area hotels and registration link, please see the following website:

LSLA Sawing, Edging And Trimming

Oct. 27
Menominee Tribal Enterprises, Neopit, WI
This course will cover the basics of NHLA grading rules, sawing for recovery, and edging and trimming requirements. To register for the course, please see the following website: