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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 FSCConsultation@scsglobalservices.com.  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.

Continue reading “SCS Global Services Seeks Stakeholder Input”

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”

Forest Tax Law Handbook Forest Certification Chapter Updated

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 Continue reading “Forest Tax Law Handbook Forest Certification Chapter Updated”

Following The Right Path

Note: This is the first in a series of articles featuring Managed Forest Law landowners.  This feature of Jim Schiller was written by Art Kabelowsky, a communications specialist in the Division of Forestry.  Kabelowsky took the photos as well.
Managed Forest Law forest landowner Jim Schiller walks down a path in his woodland.

Forest landowner Jim Schiller teams up with DNR’s Managed Forest Law program on his successful woodland property near New Glarus.

Not even a chilly, overcast Monday afternoon could dampen the enthusiasm of Jim Schiller as he showed off his favorite place.

While taking a visitor on a tour of his 29-acre woodlot west of New Glarus in Green County, Schiller paused frequently to explain the past, present and future of each section of the property.

A few red oak trees here, some walnut trees there, a group of white oak trees planned on the other side of the path … spots where he’ll plant conifer seedlings to help protect his deciduous trees … areas where he has begun work to control invasive species such garlic mustard … his thoughts on when and what to harvest.

“You’ve always got to be thinking ahead,” Schiller said. “That’s the main thing I’ve gotten out of all of this.” Continue reading “Following The Right Path”

Seedlings Still Available For Spring 2023 Planting

Winter hasn’t quite let loose its snowy grip from the Wilson State Nursery fields in Boscobel, but spring will soon be here, and the reforestation program staff are readying themselves to harvest seedlings from the cool, moist soil. It won’t take long for the frost to leave the ground.

For those who have spent parts of the winter planning to improve their properties, the Wisconsin DNR’s reforestation program has plenty of seedlings available to create and enhance wildlife habitat, stabilize the soil, block winter wind and snow and provide a future shady spot to sit. Continue reading “Seedlings Still Available For Spring 2023 Planting”

Seeking Comments on Forest Tax Law Handbook

The DNR Division of Forestry is committed to informing and involving our stakeholders in the development and review of materials that guide our programs. The following document with revisions is available for review and comment through 3/10/2023:

Forest Tax Law Handbook Chapter 221, Forest Tax Law Handbook Chapter 221, Managed Forest Law Certified Group, containing procedures required to conform with third party forest certification. Serving to inform group participants and other interested parties of how the MFL certified group works, the chapter describes how Tax Law administration accomplishes the roles and responsibilities of certified group management, including entry and deactivation of group members, records maintenance, monitoring, and reporting. Revisions to the chapter incorporate updates to Tax Law procedures and program guidance and contribute to implementing forest certification within the MFL Certified Group. Recent updates to third-party forest certification group standards are also reflected in the revisions to this chapter. To review and provide feedback on a document, go to the DNR Forestry Public Comment Page. Email your comments to the staff member listed in the “Contact Person” column. Clicking on their name will take you to the staff directory, where you’ll find their contact information.

The Forest Tax Law Handbook serves to digest the law relating to the forest tax programs and provide guidance for the administration and implementation of the Tax Law programs. The Handbook embodies statute and rule and provides greater procedural detail to ensure consistency in their application. As such, the chapters provided for your review have been updated to reflect changing regulations and operational efficiencies, as summarized above and detailed on the Stakeholder Input Page.

The MFL Certified Group is a voluntary opportunity offered to small account MFL landowners to participate in forest certification. The DNR Division of Forestry facilitates participation in the Certified Group to support our vital Wisconsin forest industries by building a credible supply of certified raw materials while further optimizing the added social and ecological benefits certified forests provide. Generally speaking forest certification requirements will exceed landowner obligations under MFL, but it can also provide access to timber markets for certified wood, and certified MFL landowners typically take great pride knowing that their stewardship of the forest holds up to rigorous third-party sustainability standards. More information can be found on the MFL Certified Group page.

Documents available for stakeholder input:
Document Title: Forest Tax Law Handbook HB2450.5
Contact Person: Skya Rose Murphy
Due Date: 3/10/2023
For detailed description of document updates see: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/forestplanning/publiccomment

USDA Forest Service Accepting Grant Applications For Wood Innovations Projects, Community Wood Energy Facilities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced it will offer $41 million through the 2023 Wood Innovations Grant and 2023 Community Wood Grant programs to spark innovation and create new markets for wood products and renewable wood energy.

These grants expand wood products use and strengthen emerging wood energy markets, supporting sustainable forest management – particularly in areas of high wildfire risk.

The application deadline for both grant programs is Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 5 p.m. local time. Applications may be submitted via email to the Forest Service Regional Wood Innovations coordinator listed in the application instructions. Continue reading “USDA Forest Service Accepting Grant Applications For Wood Innovations Projects, Community Wood Energy Facilities”

Forest Products Training/Event Calendar

Sustainable Forestry Conference
Wednesday, April 19

Keyes Peak Ski Lodge, Florence, WI
For additional information about the conference and registration details, please visit this website. 

Wisconsin Local Use Dimension Lumber Grading
Thursday, May 11

Kemp Natural Resources Station, Woodruff, WI
To register for this course, please visit this site

Wisconsin Local Use Dimension Lumber Grading
Tuesday, August 15

Kemp Natural Resources Station, Woodruff, WI
To register for this course, please visit this site

Welcome New MFL Owners

Each year on January 1, new Managed Forest Law (MFL) enrollments become active. This new year brings us more than 1,400 new MFL enrollments. Many of these are re-enrollments, but nearly one-third are for brand-new landowners to the MFL Program. The DNR is grateful to the landowners that re-enrolled, humbled by their renewed commitment to sound forestry, and extends a hearty welcome to all the newcomers. Continue reading “Welcome New MFL Owners”