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New Chief State Forester Named

Heather Berklund, Chief State Forester, Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Preston Cole announced that the department’s new Chief State Forester will be Heather Berklund, effective October 12. Her office will continue to be in Rhinelander and her contact information will remain the same (phone: 608-598-9068; email: Heather.Berklund@Wisconsin.gov).

Heather brings years of on-the-ground Wisconsin forest management and fire control experience to her new position.  She began her forestry career with the Wisconsin DNR in 2000, serving as a field forester in Merrill, Crandon and Mercer for more than a decade before becoming the Ashland-Iron team leader and then the Woodruff area leader in 2016.  In her role as the Deputy Division Administrator of Field Operations for the past three years, Heather led the public and private lands programs, Good Neighbor Authority partnership coordination, forest certification, tax law, and fire protection programs.

Continue reading “New Chief State Forester Named”

Spotlight on Wisconsin Forests during Forest Products Week

What do wood products research, urban wood products and school forests have in common? They are among the many engaging Wisconsin stories shared in new episodes of the national TV program America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell

While he may be best known as the keyboardist and musical director for The Rolling Stones, Chuck Leavell is also an educated and enthusiastic forestry advocate, conservationist and woodland owner and he explores Wisconsin forests in these new episodes. The two-part Wisconsin series will be featured in a virtual premeire event during Forest Products Week on Wednesday, October 21 at 6:30 p.m. 

This free, online gathering, hosted by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison, will bring together thought leaders to engage in a rousing conversation on the critical importance and value of well-managed public and private forest lands in Wisconsin. And you are invited to participate!

Registration for the virtual premiere and screening of the episodes is available online at go.wisc.edu/talesfilmseries2020. Links to attend the virtual premiere event and to view the episodes in advance will be emailed to all who register.

At the October 21 virtual premiere event, Leavell will be joined by Heather Berklund (Forestry Division Administrator with the Wisconsin DNR), Tony Ferguson (Director of the Forest Products Laboratory for the USDA Forest Service), Buddy Huffaker (Executive Director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation),  Henry Schienebeck (Executive Director of Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association) and Adena Rissman (Associate Professor at UW-Madison, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology). The panel will be moderated by James Edward Mills of the Nelson Institute at UW-Madison.  Don’t miss this chance to hear from the panelists about the importance of Wisconsin forests to the ecological, social, cultural and economic well-being of our state and local communities.

Leavell serves as the on-camera guide for the TV show, interviewing people who are passionate about the gifts we get from our woods and exploring creative solutions to complex problems impacting this important natural resource. Other topics Leavell explores in the Wisconsin episodes include ruffed grouse, the sustainable forestry practices on the Menominee Tribal forests, and the biodiversity of the Baraboo Hills.

Celebrate Wisconsin’s Working Forests

Forest Products Week (celebrated on October 18-24, 2020) recognizes the people who work in and care for our forests, the businesses that create forest products and the many ways forest products contribute to our lives. In addition to celebrating the positive impact of Wisconsin’s forest products sector on the state’s economy, Forest Products Week recognizes the myriad forest products ingrained in our daily lives.

Facts to celebrate:

  • Forest products contribute $24.4 billion annually to the state’s economy.
  • Forests directly provide more than 60,000 jobs for Wisconsin residents with a payroll of $4.2 billion.
  • Forestry is the number one employer in 7 counties.
  • Every forestry job supports 1.7 additional jobs in the state.
  • More than 1,200 forest products companies in Wisconsin make products we use every day – from paper products such as food packaging, fine writing paper and tissue paper, to lumber used for homes and furniture.
  • Emerging forest products such as mass timber, nanocellulose and biochemicals are beginning to unlock innovative uses for wood that may help the state’s industry further diversify in the future.

The Wisconsin DNR-Division of Forestry is proud to help Wisconsin’s forest industry build and maintain strong markets while ensuring that forests remain a vital part of the state’s economy and culture for future generations. To learn more, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for “forest businesses.”

Forest products session for educators

Forest Products Specialist Logan Wells  will visit with Wisconsin educators at noon on October 8, 2020 on the theme of “Celebrating Wisconsin’s Forest Products.”  The webinar, offered by LEAF (Wisconsin’s K-12 Forestry Education Program), is open to anyone but advance registration is required (registration link).

In his presentation, Logan will explore products made from forests in Wisconsin and the importance of markets to sustainable forestry. He will also discuss global marketplace impacts and other changes impacting the industry, how Wisconsin producers are adapting to change, and share information about innovative products on the horizon.

Forest Products Week is the third week of October, so start planning now to showcase how vital forest products are to Wisconsin.

Forest Products Services Program Hosts Webinars

In June 2020, the Wisconsin DNR Forest Products Services program hosted two webinars related to forest products utilization and the sustainability of Wisconsin wood products. Overall, these webinars were targeted to educate attendees on Wisconsin’s forest products industry and the benefits of using wood and were aimed at promoting new and emerging technologies and products. 

The first webinar – “Wood: Sustainably Grown, Locally Available” – was hosted on June 16. The primary objective of this webinar was to promote the diverse application of Wisconsin’s oldest grown, locally available, and environmentally friendly material – wood. Architects, designers, consumers, and other interested individuals participated in the webinar.

The second webinar was held on June 24 and was titled, “Biochar Production Technologies.” During the webinar, speakers provided information on biochar production systems and technological solutions that can help manage wood residue issues in storm-damaged areas, municipal wood yards, and at wood-manufacturing facilities, while also generating value-added biochar. The webinar expanded on previous outreach, which highlighted the basics of biochar and its potential applications in Wisconsin.

To view recordings of these webinars, visit https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestManagement/videos.asp and select “Forest products utilization and marketing” from the drop-down menu.

Opportunities for US softwood lumber in Pakistan

In early September, the Wisconsin Wood Marketing Team and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Products Services program partnered with the Softwood Export Council and Northeastern Lumber Manufacturer’s Association to host a virtual trade seminar with US softwood manufacturers, US building material brokers, and Pakistani wood buyers. The seminar had 28 people in attendance, with the majority being lumber purchasers from Pakistan. Participants from Pakistan gained valuable information about the benefits of using US softwood products and current market trends for wood products in Pakistan.

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Seedling sales begin October 5

Are you planning to plant trees next spring? The DNR-Division of Forestry’s reforestation program will be accepting orders from Wisconsin forest landowners for tree and shrub seedlings starting October 5, 2020. The high-quality seedlings are native species appropriate for planting throughout Wisconsin.

Seedlings grown by the state nurseries are used for reforestation and conservation plantings on private, industrial, state and county forest lands. They can provide future forest products and revenue, wildlife habitat and fodder, soil erosion control, living snow fences and other benefits. Continue reading “Seedling sales begin October 5”

Forestry operations in response to COVID-19

The Division of Forestry offers the following update regarding our operations in response to the ongoing pandemic.

Most employees have been working remotely since mid-March to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to employees, their families and our external partners during this global pandemic.

While the goal is to gradually increase in-person activities that support our mission and Wisconsin’s economy, safety remains a top concern. Therefore, state office buildings, including DNR facilities, remain closed to the public. Although a limited number of gatherings may be approved, virtual meetings continue to be the preferred method for DNR staff and travel remains limited to essential and high-priority work. The majority of DNR staff continue to work remotely, although forestry fieldwork has fully resumed.

If you are planning to meet with a DNR forestry employee in person, such as a site visit for a forest management plan, they will be maintaining a distance of at least six feet, traveling to sites individually to maintain the required social distancing, wearing a mask and following diligent cleaning and disinfecting guidelines.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to safeguard the health of our customers, partners and employees.

Seeking feedback on draft chapters of bat HCP

Cave-dwelling bat populations in Wisconsin are rapidly declining due to a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome. Some species may soon be listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In preparation for this listing, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is teaming up with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to develop a large-scale Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP).

The purpose of this HCP is to obtain a federal incidental take permit under ESA section 10 requesting authorization for the incidental take of bats during forest management activities. The goal of this project is the protection of federally endangered bat species and the continuation of forest management activities in the Lake States.

The Wisconsin DNR will use the HCP to guide forest management activities on DNR-administered land. County, municipal and private landowners may also choose to participate in the plan as a way to continue forest management activities while remaining in compliance with the ESA. Continue reading “Seeking feedback on draft chapters of bat HCP”

DNR hosting June 16th wood products webinar

The DNR Forest Products Service Team will host a webinar titled “Wood: Sustainably Grown, Locally Available on June 16, 2020. This webinar is intended to promote the diverse application of Wisconsin’s oldest grown, locally available, and environmentally friendly material—wood. Architects, designers, consumers and anyone interested in learning about Wisconsin wood products should consider attending.

Following these two presentations, there will be time for questions with the presenters:

  • A New Age of Wood: New Products Create New Opportunities by Jim Bowyer, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, and a specialist in wood-based bio-products and environmental life-cycle assessment.
  • Wisconsin Wood Resources and Wood Products by Scott Bowe, Professor and Wood Products Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  

Event Date: June 16, 2020

Time: 10:30 a.m. Central Time (US and Canada)

Registration: Please register in advance for this meeting using following link:
https://uwextension.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwkfuqtrToqH9T3xTpRI8qg1jGc7BsShW0H