Division of Forestry News

What does the DNR do to advance urban and community forestry in Wisconsin?

The Urban Forestry Team provides guidance, training, information, funding and professional connection opportunities to municipal foresters and other professionals to achieve sustainable urban forestry management. In a (hickory) nutshell, our work falls into the following five categories:

  • We bring people together. Our role in the urban and community forestry program is that of a convener, bringing together interests and building partnerships to advance urban forestry as practiced by local communities, private sector specialists, and community organizations.
  • We provide funding to Wisconsin communities. Our role is to provide funding to cities, villages, towns, counties, tribes and non-profit organizations in Wisconsin through a competitive grant program. Grants support new and innovative projects that will develop sustainable urban and community forestry programs.

Continue reading “What does the DNR do to advance urban and community forestry in Wisconsin?”

Reflections from my travels in India: the health benefits of trees

By Patricia Lindquist, DNR urban forestry communications specialist, Madison, Patricia.Lindquist@wisconsin.gov, 608-843-6248

“What is it about this place?” I wondered. “Why does this city feel so harsh, so disheartening?”

Two hours earlier I had stepped off a train in Patna, India, and I’d been stuck in a massive traffic jam ever since. Honking cars, motorcycles, buses, bicycles, rickshaws, and livestock hemmed me in, but after nearly two months in India, this was nothing new.

Rup, my husband at the time (we are now divorced) is from Calcutta, and I’d grown to love his hometown. Despite the massive cultural differences and sheer size of the city (population: 14 million), I’d warmed up to the place immediately. Calcutta felt welcoming from the moment I arrived; Patna did not. After only two hours in Patna, my nerves were frazzled, I had a headache, and I just wanted to escape.

Continue reading “Reflections from my travels in India: the health benefits of trees”

What is the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council?

Forest Action Plan meeting, September 2019

We’re glad you asked! The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council is an advisory committee to the Wisconsin DNR Division of Forestry, currently comprised of 29 members appointed by the Secretary of the WDNR. Members represent the diverse groups and interests that impact our state’s urban and community forests, including representatives from professional organizations, private business owners, educators, green industry employees, nonprofit/service organizations, governmental agencies, municipalities of various sizes, utilities, concerned and active citizens and trade organizations throughout the state. The Council addresses strategies to help the WDNR implement, monitor, and revise the state’s urban forestry initiatives and to lend support to activities that further the understanding, appreciation and practice of urban forestry in Wisconsin. Members strive to aid all entities involved in urban forestry matters and to help coordinate activities to avoid duplication, inefficiency and conflict. The Council addresses a diversity of local, state, and national issues that can affect Wisconsin’s urban forests.

Continue reading “What is the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council?”

Tree City USA: Greening Wisconsin communities for over 40 years

Since 1976, Tree City USA has been a catalyst for community tree care and a powerful force for promoting urban forestry. This program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation (ADF) and administered in Wisconsin by the DNR, provides communities with a tangible goal and national recognition for their community forestry efforts. Today, over 3,400 communities fly Tree City USA flags over areas that house more than 143 million Americans. Wisconsin has over 190 Tree City USAs, ranking it second in the nation!

At the heart of the Tree City USA program are four basic requirements. The community must have: a tree board or department, an annual community forestry program backed by an expenditure of at least $2 per capita for trees and tree care, an annual Arbor Day proclamation and observance, and a tree care ordinance. In addition, communities that have achieved Tree City USA certification can strive for a growth award that recognizes effort over and above the four standards. Typically around 25 Wisconsin communities achieve this commendation each year.

Continue reading “Tree City USA: Greening Wisconsin communities for over 40 years”

Feature species: Kentucky coffeetree

Credit: Jason Sharman, Vitalitree, Bugwood.org

Scientific name: Gymnocladus dioicus

Native to: Hardwood region west of the Appalachians (includes Wisconsin)

Mature Height*: 50’-70’

Spread*: 30’-50’

Form: large upright oval to rounded tree, has irregular course outline in winter

Growth Rate*: slow to medium

Foliage: very large bipinnately compound leaves 17”-36”, individual leaflets are 1”-2” long and pointed

Fall color: yellow

Continue reading “Feature species: Kentucky coffeetree”

Wisconsin Forest Action Plan Review Period Extended

In this previous post we invited you to comment on the draft Forest Action Plan.  The purpose of the Forest Action Plan is to provide long‐term, comprehensive, coordinated strategies to help the forestry community refine how it collectively invests state, federal and leveraged partner resources to address major management and landscape priorities. The Forest Action Plan should be useful for all interested parties, so we value your input. The comment deadline has been extended to April 6, 2020. 

Please provide your feedback about the draft 2020 Wisconsin Forest Action Plan to Amanda Koch (AmandaA.Koch@wisconsin.gov) by April 6. Thank you for your continued engagement with the development of this plan.

Comments on draft Forest Action Plan due March 23

Wisconsin’s forestry community worked together over the past year to draft Wisconsin’s 2020 Forest Action Plan. The purpose of the Forest Action Plan is to provide long‐term, comprehensive, coordinated strategies to help the forestry community refine how it collectively invests state, federal and leveraged partner resources to address major management and landscape priorities. The Forest Action Plan should be useful for all interested parties, so we value your input.  This effort is a complete redesign of Wisconsin’s 2010 Forest Action Plan.

We are now sharing the entire draft 2020 plan for final review. The Forest Action Plan has multiple parts. We have incorporated the feedback received through prior review periods and worked with operational partner groups to develop draft strategies. The final Wisconsin Forest Action Plan is due to the U.S. Forest Service in June 2020.

At this time, we are requesting input on the draft 2020 WI Forest Action Plan. You can find the draft here: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestPlanning/documents/WI_2020ForestActionPlan_Draft_032020.pdf

Please provide feedback to Amanda Koch (AmandaA.Koch@wisconsin.gov) by March 23.

You can find more information on the 2020 Forest Action Plan, and what has been done so far by visiting dnr.wi.gov and searching keywords: Forest Action Plan

If you have any questions, please reach out to Amanda Koch (AmandaA.Koch@wisconsin.gov).

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”