Archives

Celebrating a forestry centennial

By Kirsten Held, Division of Forestry Outreach Specialist

For more than a century, partnerships have been at the heart of our work to conserve and protect Wisconsin forests.  One of those valued partnerships is with the National Association of State Foresters (NASF).  Established in 1920, NASF is a non-profit organization composed of the directors of forestry agencies in the states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.  To celebrate the centennial of this national partner, the Wisconsin DNR-Division of Forestry will be posting 100 articles on this site throughout 2020 noted with #NASF100.

While Wisconsin may be best known for leading the nation in the production of specialty cheeses, the Wisconsin DNR-Division of Forestry is most proud of the many ways that forests make our state such a great place to live and visit as well as Wisconsin’s leadership in sustainable forestry.

Processor Cutting Red Oak

For example, Wisconsin leads the nation in the value of forest product shipments, and for more than six decades, has led the nation in paper production. Wisconsin leads the nation in implementing third-party certification standards and nearly 7.5 million acres of forest land in Wisconsin are third-party certified today, providing independent assurance that the forests are being managed sustainably.  We’re also among the top states with communities earning Tree City USA status in recognition for investments in their urban forests.

Throughout the year, these 100 posts will explore various Wisconsin forestry programs, projects and partnerships working together to keep Wisconsin forests working.  Each month we’ll showcase a forestry career, property and one of Wisconsin’s common trees.  We’re starting this year-long Wisconsin forestry journey with water-related posts as Wisconsin wraps up the Year of Clean Drinking Water and begins the 25th year of our Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality.  After we explore the relationship between forests and water in January, in February we’ll look at the current status of Wisconsin forests (spoiler alert: our forests are growing in volume every year).

We hope you enjoy journeying with us as we explore Wisconsin’s rich forest resources – from the expansive Northwoods to the tree-lined avenues of Milwaukee – and the wealth of benefits they provide.

Forests and water go together in rural and urban Wisconsin

By Robert Godfrey

Think about all the forests you ever enjoyed in your life. Their natural beauty, the wildlife that inhabit them, the

Sky and trees reflected in tranquil lake water within Flambeau River State Forest.

calming break they give us all from our hectic lives. Forests are important for a lot of reasons and serve a great many purposes. But have you ever stopped to think about all the things forests do to help our environment?

For example, forests are like lungs. They are critical in absorbing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from our atmosphere and helping us to fight climate change.

But have you ever thought of our forests as a water sponge?

It’s true. What they do is truly amazing. They collect and filter rainwater. Then they release it slowly into our streams and rivers. At the same time, these “forest sponges” – trees are made up of more than 50 percent water – are doing some purifying magic, taking out all kinds of pollutants from water before it reaches a stream or river. Continue reading “Forests and water go together in rural and urban Wisconsin”

Two natural resources – One goal

By Robert Godfrey

Wisconsin has an incredible variety of lakes, wetlands, rivers and streams, from the shores of Lakes Michigan and Superior to the Mississippi River. It also has a lot of forest lands. Over the past 100 years, Wisconsin’s public and private land managers have restored our forests and managed them with an eye on future generations.  In fact, 46 percent of our state is now covered with trees and more than half our woodlands are family owned.

Photo by Rena Johnson, courtesy of NASF

Earlier in our state’s history, the forests were heavily harvested with little regard for the environmental damage to our streams, rivers and lakes. Since the hiring of Wisconsin’s first state forester in 1904, Wisconsin’s state forestry program has been dedicated to restoring, maintaining and improving the health and quality of Wisconsin’s forests for today – and for future generations.

These two natural resources – forests and water – are both important to Wisconsin today. They provide income from forest products. They are also home for Wisconsin’s fish and wildlife. Each of them defines the character of the state. Both are vital for recreation and tourism. How do we ensure these two natural resources can co-exist and benefit each other? Continue reading “Two natural resources – One goal”

Meet a Forest Hydrologist

By Robert Godfrey

Forest lands provide a clean and dependable supply of water and a handful of professionals – known as forest hydrologists – monitor our state’s water quality before, during and after forests are harvested. One is Nolan Kriegel. Through his work in safeguarding one of our major sources of clean water, he serves us all in this important job.

He has three major responsibilities. One of the most critical ones is monitoring what is known as Wisconsin’s Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Water Quality where his focus is on timber harvesting and its effects on water quality. Continue reading “Meet a Forest Hydrologist”

White spruce seedlings available

Good news for forest landowners who want to plant white spruce this spring; we now have some 3-year-old white spruce seedlings available!

When the DNR reforestation program’s seedlings went on sale this past October, there was a smaller quantity of white spruce seedlings available for purchase than usual. A long, cold, snowy winter in 2018 at our seedling nursery in Boscobel and a cool, wet spring combined to adversely impact our newly germinating and young white spruce seedlings. White spruce is also one of our best sellers, as landowners enjoy the white spruce’s resistance to deer browse, moderate growth, tolerance to some shade and ability to grow in many soil types. This combination of low supply and high demand meant the available trees sold out quickly.

However, we recently learned that Minnesota DNR has a surplus of white spruce, so we were able to acquire some of their extra inventory for our customers. Wisconsin statutes allow for the exchange of seedlings between other state and USDA Forest Service nurseries as long as the seed used to grow the seedlings is appropriate for Wisconsin. In this case, the white spruce seed was from southern Minnesota and the seedlings are very appropriate for planting in Wisconsin.

The only caveat is that the Minnesota nursery is quite far north so the spruce seedlings will be available later in the spring, probably early May. If you would like to purchase white spruce or any other tree or shrub seedlings, please visit us at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/TreePlanting/ or contact our nursery staff at (715) 424-3700.

Biochar 101 and potential applications

By Sabina Dhungana, forest products specialist, Madison, 608-220-4531

The Forest Products Services program in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service hosted a webinar highlighting the fundamentals of biochar.  Biochar is an emerging forest product that is derived from woody biomass and other organic feedstocks. The use of biochar has gained considerable interest in the agricultural field, and it presents opportunities for utilizing available biomass sources. Topics covered in the webinar included: Biochar markets and uses, biochar production systems, and applications in vegetable growing.  The webinar has been archived and can be viewed here.

Wood energy assistance for Wisconsin businesses

By Sabina Dhungana, forest products specialist, Madison, 608-220-4531

The Wisconsin Statewide Wood Energy Team (SWET) is a public-private partnership that aims to expand markets for converting woody biomass into energy while advancing installation of commercially viable wood energy systems in both public and private facilities. These efforts support forest restoration, wildfire mitigation, urban wood utilization and other sustainable forest management goals. The WI DNR Forest Products Services program is a member of SWET and currently coordinates the team’s efforts across Wisconsin.

SWET was initially established in 2015 by a USDA Forest Service grant. During the grant period, the team completed seven wood energy analysis projects in Wisconsin for a wide range of entities such as wood industries, hospitals, cheese factories, and schools. Facilities sought out this free assistance to better utilize locally available wood residues while understanding potential cost savings of wood energy. SWET members worked with interested facilities by collecting essential information such as facility energy needs, utility costs, woody biomass availability, and any potential future energy demands. The cost/benefit analysis was then conducted in cooperation with an engineering firm contracted by USDA Forest Service.

With the continuation of wood energy efforts across Wisconsin, your facility can take advantage of this free assistance from SWET. If you are interested in a free wood energy analysis, please contact Sabina Dhungana via email at Sabina.Dhungana@wisconsin.gov or call her at 608-220-4531.

Three perspectives on wood seminar

By Scott Lyon, forest products specialist, Green Bay, 920-360-3722

The Forest Products Services program has partnered with Madison College’s Cabinetmaking and Millwork Program to sponsor an event titled, “Three Perspectives on Wood.”

Speakers will highlight recommendations for sourcing and using wood properly for best performance. This event is part of the college’s annual seminar series that is geared toward educating students, builders, designers, wood product manufacturers, and woodworkers.

“Three Perspectives on Wood” will be held on December 3, 2019 at Madison College, Truax Campus. For more information or to attend, please visit the event website.

Forest inventory analyst joins the Forestry Division

By Collin Buntrock, forest products team leader, Rhinelander, 608-286-9083

I am very pleased to announce that Brian Anderson has accepted the Forest Inventory Analyst position with the Forest Products Services team. This position leads Wisconsin’s statewide forest inventory and analysis (FIA) programs for the Division of Forestry and serves as a key consultant for both internal and external customers, providing data analysis and reporting for both urban and rural FIA, forest regeneration monitoring (FRM), and state forest lands (WisCFI). His first day was October 14, and he is based in Rhinelander.

Recently, Brian worked at the University of Minnesota as a researcher on various silviculture and growth and yield studies, in addition to part time work as a biometrician focusing on forest carbon projects. Brian received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in forestry from the University of Minnesota, focusing his studies on quantitative silviculture, forest inventory, and biometrics. Outside of work, he enjoys running, Nordic skiing, camping, hunting, and playing and listening to music.

Brian can be reached at BrianD.Anderson@wisconsin.gov and 715-499-3291.