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.
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”
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”
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”