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Timber Product Output Project

By Alex Anderson, Forest Products Specialist

In April 2019, the Forest Products Services program mailed surveys to the majority of primary wood-using firms in Wisconsin. Historically, this survey was colloquially termed the “drain survey,” but it is now generally referred to as the Timber Product Output (TPO) survey. The survey captures information on Wisconsin’s forest products industries, including the total number of firms and employees in the sector, roundwood consumption, and the utilization of residues. Data collected during the survey remains completely confidential and is compiled only at the county and state levels.

The TPO survey is conducted for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the data allows for a direct comparison to previous years’ surveys, which grants us an opportunity to analyze the forest products industry’s performance over time. Additionally, the survey data paints a vivid picture of just how valuable the forest products industry is to the overall well-being of Wisconsin’s economy, including its central role in driving sustainable forest management in the state. The TPO results are also utilized in conjunction with Forest Inventory Analysis data to assist firms in making informed business decisions, such as forecasting resource availability or evaluating procurement strategies.

We hope to have the data compiled by end of 2019. Once the data is available, we will publicize it here.

Seedlings still available for spring 2019 planting

DNR employees at the Wilson Nursery have been busy harvesting, grading and packaging our native trees and shrubs for distribution across the state. For landowners interested in creating wildlife habitat, starting a plantation for future wood production, stabilizing an erodible bank or field or adding to the aesthetic beauty of the landscape, the Wisconsin DNR reforestation program may be able to help.

We still have white pine, red pine, silver maple, black cherry, aspen and American plum seedlings available for sale. All are well suited for the soils of Wisconsin. Contact our nursery hotline at (715) 424-3700 for up-to-date information on seedling availability and to place an order.

To determine how many seedlings we have available to sell, we sample a portion of our rows, place that data into some formulas and then estimate inventories. Sometimes we underestimate and sometimes we overestimate. Most of the time we are close. We don’t know how accurate we were until the seedlings are lifted out of the fields, graded and counted. This year, we have some species that had much healthier volumes than we anticipated.

Seedlings sold by the Wisconsin State nurseries can only be used for reforestation, wildlife habitat and windbreak and erosion control purposes and must be planted in Wisconsin. Answers to the most common questions are available on our “Frequently Asked Questions” page.

Written by Jeremiah Auer, Regeneration Specialist,  Jeremiah.Auer@wisconsin.gov, (715) 459-1999

Annual work plans available for state forests

Annual Property Implementation Plans now offer the ability to see planned management actions on state forests and other state-owned properties. The plans, including a searchable tool, can be found on the DNR website (dnr.wi.gov – keyword “APIP”).

State forests are governed by property master plans, which are developed with significant input from the public, but these plans cover long periods of time (up to 15 years) and do not describe annual activities.

Annual plans, developed by the forester, wildlife biologist, property manager, ecologist and others, identify the major work during the next year to implement the master plan for that property. These activities encompass a variety of forest and habitat management work, including timber sales, tree plantings, prescribed burns and invasive species control. In addition, plans are shared for recreation and infrastructure improvements, including trails, campgrounds, buildings, boat landings, roads or expanded parking. APIPs do not include routine maintenance or minor actions including mowing, building maintenance, inventory or field surveys.

If you are interested in planned work on one of our northern state forests (Black River, Peshtigo River, Governor Knowles, Northern Highland-American Legion, Flambeau River or Brule River State Forest), visit the Annual Property Implementation Plan webpage. Direct questions or comments to the state forest property managers listed in the plan.

2019 Spring Awakening

Written by Jeremiah Auer, Forest Regeneration Specialist

Spring has arrived, and, in the small southwestern Wisconsin community of Boscobel, the Wilson State Nursery has sprung into action. As soon as the frost leaves, it is the task of these dedicated employees to shake off the cold, start up the tractors and prepare to harvest 2.4 million tree and shrub seedlings for their journey from these fields to pine forests in Brule, wind breaks in Montello, wildlife plots in Merrill, erodible hill sides in Pepin and everywhere in-between. Wisconsin nursery seedlings provide future forest products, wildlife food and habitat, erosion protection and erosion control throughout the state. Continue reading “2019 Spring Awakening”

Applications for Forest Legacy Program due June 14

Landowners interested in participating in the Forest Legacy Program are invited to submit a completed application by June 14, 2019.

The Forest Legacy Program is a federal program that provides grants funds to states for the protection of environmentally important forest land from conversion to non-forest uses. Wisconsin’s implementation strategy focuses on keeping forests as forests by protecting large (> 1,000 acres) unfragmented blocks of forest land that provide the highest conservation value and public benefit through the purchase of conservation easements. Conservation easements convey a ‘purchased’ set of negotiated property rights, while allowing landowners to continue to own and manage their land, including the right to sell.

To request an application and more information about the Forest Legacy Program, contact Ron Gropp at ron.gropp@wisconsin.gov or 715-281-6253.  Only lands within one of Wisconsin’s Forest Legacy Areas are eligible.

2020 Forest Action Plan development begins

Development of Wisconsin’s 2020 Forest Action Plan is beginning now. Over the next year and a half, the Division of Forestry, along with Wisconsin’s greater forestry community, will be working collaboratively to review trends in the current state of forestry and identify future strategies that can help the forestry community refine how we collectively invest resources to address major management and landscape priorities. Engaging with all members of the forestry community is important to the success of the Forest Action Plan.

Here is more information on the Forest Action Plan, the timeline, and how the forestry community will be engaged.

To get updates on the process and progress of the 2020 Forest Action Plan, please sign up for the Forest Action Plan GovDelivery list.

Find up-to-date information on the 2020 Forest Action Plan online here.

If you have questions about your involvement or the Forest Action Plan in general, please contact Amanda Koch at AmandaA.Koch@wisconsin.gov  or at (608) 576-8146.

NR 46 available for public comment

By R.J. Wickham, Tax Law Section Chief – Forestry Field Operation Bureau, Division of Forestry
Contact info: (920) 369-6248, Richard.Wickham@wisconsin.gov

The proposed rules affecting Chapter NR 46 of Wisconsin’s Administrative Code related to Forest Tax Programs, including the Forest Crop Law (FCL) program and the Managed Forest Law (MFL) program, are available for public review and comment.

Signed into law on April 2016, 2015 Wisconsin Act 358 made a number of significant changes to the administration of the FCL and MFL programs requiring a comprehensive update to NR 46. The Forest Tax Section is proposing amendments to NR 46 to become consistent with statutory changes made to Ch.77, Wis. Stats. The proposed updates also include additional changes to NR 46 to incorporate long standing policy and streamline administration of the programs. Our sincere thanks go to the many individuals and partners, including the Wisconsin Private Forestry Advisory Committee, whose review and feedback helped shape these proposed amendments.

Here is the Notice of Public Hearing FR-23-16 document which includes hearing information and explains the process of submitting comments:
https://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/documents/rules/FR2316PublicHearing.pdf

The proposed rule can be accessed here:
https://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/documents/rules/FR2316DraftRule.pdf

Biochar: An Emerging Market for Underutilized Woody Biomass

By Sabina Dhungana, Forest Products Specialist

biochar sample

This is a sample of biochar produced from coarse woody biomass.

What is Biochar?
Biochar is a pure carbon product made from organic material that is generally produced through a process called pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is the decomposition of organic matter at elevated temperatures in an environment with limited oxygen.

Biochar Production and Opportunities for Wood Businesses
Biochar can be produced using woody biomass such as wood chips, sawdust, shavings or bark that is generated from timber harvesting or as a by-product of wood products manufacturing.

Biochar production systems can be classified as either pyrolysis or gasification systems. The pyrolysis of biomass results in three main products: a solid (bio-char), a liquid (bio-oil), and a gas (syngas). Furthermore, pyrolysis becomes self-sustaining as syngas that is produced combusts, generating additional heat for the production process. Gasification on the other hand produces smaller quantities of biochar in a directly-heated reaction vessel with introduced air. Although pyrolysis systems result in higher concentrations of biochar, both production systems can be developed as mobile or stationary units as per the need and availability of the feedstock. Continue reading “Biochar: An Emerging Market for Underutilized Woody Biomass”

Primary mill mapping tool released

By Collin Buntrock, Forest Products Team Leader

The Forest Products Services program recently worked with the Technology Services Section in the Division of Forestry to develop an interactive mapping tool highlighting Wisconsin’s primary wood-using mills.

The new mill mapping tool highlights Wisconsin’s primary mills.

The goal of the mapping tool is to facilitate better marketing of forest products by connecting value-added industries with Wisconsin’s primary mills and by assisting forest managers and loggers with identifying markets for harvested timber. Mill data can be refined by county, species processed, products utilized, and products sold and then downloaded for later reference.

Wisconsin’s primary forest products industry consists of firms that manufacture logs and pulpwood into wood and paper products. Specific examples include sawmills, veneer plants, pulp mills and firewood processors, as well as companies that manufacture products such as composite panels (e.g. oriented strand board, particleboard), shavings, utility poles, wood pellets, and log buildings.

Mill data featured in this tool is collected by Forest Products Services staff as part of the USDA Timber Product Output survey. The FPS program will refine this dataset beginning in early 2019. It should be noted that a subset of mills opted-out of the mill dataset. Therefore, you may be aware of additional mills that are not included in the mapping tool.

If you know of a business that would like to be included in this mapping tool, please send an email to a staff member on the Forest Products Services team and include their contact information, species and products utilized, and products produced.