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Forest Management

Quick Reference         

Management Practices  |   Climate Change Impact on Forest Management    Manage Forest Species  Forest Soils   

Management Practices          


What is Sustainable Forestry? by Ron Eckstein: Sustainable Forest Management is the practice of managing dynamic forest ecosystems to provide ecological, economic, social, and cultural benefits for present and future generations. 2) The practice of meeting the forest resource needs and values of the present without compromising the similar capability of future generations. 3) The stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity,

Principles of Ecological Forestry: New forestry within an ecological context: Forests managed for wholeness and complexity, rather than efficiency and simplicity; Emphasis on structure and function, rather than a particular product; Silviculture is a working hypotheses with uncertain outcomes; Adaptive management approaches are monitored and continually refined.

Wisconsin Managed Forest Law Details:  MFL is a landowner incentive program that encourages sustainable forestry on private woodlands in Wisconsin. Together with landowner objectives, the law incorporates timber harvesting, wildlife management, water quality and recreation to maintain a healthy and productive forest. Sustainable forest management benefits Wisconsinís economy, hunting, fishing, wildlife, recreation, soils, waterways, and air quality, and renews our beautiful forests for everyone to enjoy.
WDNR  Division of Forestry: Links to the Wisconsin DNR forest news and information concerning the sustainable management and protection of this precious resource so that it continues to provide a host of ecological, economic and social benefits for years to come. These resources are available to help landowners, loggers and natural resource managers understand and implement forestry best management practices (BMPs).

Best Management Practices Landowner Guides:  These resources are available to help landowners, loggers and natural resource managers understand and implement forestry best management practices (BMPs).
Wisconsin Forest Management Guidelines - WDNR:  The Wisconsin Forest Management Guidelines (FMG) celebrates the wealth of our forest resources and emphasizes our responsibility to care for them. It outlines practical, site-specific considerations that land managers need to take into account when they plan and carry out forestry operations.
University of Wisconsin Forestry Facts:  University of Wisconsin has issued over 100 fact sheets documenting forestry practices.  Sample subjects are: Best practices; Hiring a consulting Forester; How to manage red pine; Understanding the sample timber sale contract; Filling out a cutting Notice (MFL).
University of Wisconsin Forestry  Extension Programs
Information is provided on a variety of topics from hands-on information to successfully manage for recreation, wildlife, and timber harvest to the history of Wisconsinís forests. A very comprehensive web site offering detailed information on forest management and a series of educational opportunities for the woodland owner.
Forest* A *Syst: Tools to Manage your Private Forest Land: 
Trees take a long time to grow, so today's decisions have long-term impacts on forests and water quality. Forest*A*Syst helps you plan what you want your forest and wooded acreage to be and set out the steps you need to take to get there.
Forest ImagesImage categories: Forest Pests: Trees, Plants, and Stand Types; Silvicultural Practices; Urban Forestry; Wildlife; People, Places and Scenes.
Wisconsin Forests: The Private Landowner's Handbook:  Of the stateís nearly 17 million acres of forested land, private landowners and their families own over 50 percent. Those very woodlands are the source of Wisconsinís wildlife habitat, clean air and water, recreational opportunities, and the timber and wood products that build our communities, heat our homes, and provide for a diverse forest products industry with economic returns. All of us share in the responsibility to ensure the health and vitality of those forests Ė not only for today, but also for the generations of citizens of the future. It is a very large responsibility, and not one to be taken lightly.

Caring for Wisconsin Woodlands:  Current woodland topics, Learn About Your Land classes, webinars, publications and information that will help you meet your goals.
Sign up for Wisconsin Forestry Newsletters:  Sign up for Wisconsin Division of Forestry Newsletters
through e-mail by clicking here.
Wisconsin Forest Inventory and Industry Trends:  This site contains information on current conditions and trends in the forest products industry and in the forest resources of Wisconsin. These reports are produced annually or periodically by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, Forest Products Services Program. Some reports are developed through the use of data from or in collaboration with the U.S.D.A. Forest Service.
Wisconsin Urban Forest:  Like electricity and water, an urban tree canopy is part of a community's infrastructure. Well-managed urban forests provide services such as energy conservation, economic vitality, improved air quality, reduced stormwater runoff, carbon sequestration and enhanced beautification.

Forest Health News Updates:  Wisconsin's forests are generally in good health, yet numerous native and exotic insects and diseases and extreme weather events threaten their health annually.  The Forest Health Protection staff provides insect and disease management assistance on 16 million acres of state, private, industrial and county forest lands.

Wisconsin Forestry:  Wisconsin's 17 million acres of forestlands and millions of urban trees significantly enhance the quality of life in our state. The Wisconsin DNR dedicates itself to the sustainable management and protection of this precious resource so that it continues to provide a host of ecological, economic and social benefits for years to come. Learn about Wisconsin forestry by exploring the topics below and by visiting the Division of Forestry publications catalog, external news site and forestry videos.

Forest Fire Danger and Burning Permits It is important to have your written and signed annual burning permit available while burning and follow all restrictions listed on both sides of the permit.

Livin' by the LakeMelanie B. Fullman, District Ranger, US Forest Service, Ottawa NF, discusses important shoreline standards and guidelines for a natural shoreline that minimizes pollution, provides greater protection from erosion, and supports a greater number and diversity of wildlife.

DNR Division of Forestry Operations Plan and Strategic Direction:  The Operations Plan allocates staff and fiscal resources to produce the intent of the Division's Strategic Direction.   

Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association:  WWOA has many publications, references and website links available to woodland owners.  

Woodland Stewardship: The Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) of the U.S. Forest Service works in partnership with state forestry agencies, cooperative extension, and conservation districts to connect private landowners with the information and tools they need to manage their forests and woodlands.

Argonne Experimental Forest: The Argonne was one of the locations where experiments were done to evaluate the impacts of forest management activities on growth and yield and this data was used to create growth and yield models for most northern hardwood timber types in Wisconsin and it was these models and these experiments that gave us the stocking charts we use to guide management. It is located just south of Three Lakes on highway 32 and has a very nice interpretive trail that takes about two hours to walk.

Forest Stewardship Council: The Forest Stewardship Council sets standards for responsible forest management. A voluntary program, FSC uses the power of the marketplace to protect forests for future generations. Some people feel the best way to prevent deforestation is to stop using forest products. In reality, people use forest products every day. For example, the average American uses nearly six trees worth of paper each year. So FSC harnesses market demand to ensure forests are responsibly managed. Because FSC is the gold standard in forest certification, it is the only system supported by groups such as WWF, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council and National Wildlife Federation.

More trees best way to fix climate, study says: The most effective way to fight global warming is to plant lots of trees, a study says. A trillion of them, maybe more.

Wisconsin initiative on Climate Change:  The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) is a statewide collaboration of scientists and stakeholders formed as a partnership between UW-Madisonís Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. WICCIís goals are to evaluate climate change impacts on Wisconsin and foster solutions.

Forest Products Labratory: For almost 100 years, our mission has been to use our Nation's wood resources wisely and efficiently, while at the same time keeping our forests healthy. Our research began with preserving railroad ties, and now we are venturing into nanotechnology and finding ways that our research can contribute to mitigating the impacts of climate change. The FPL research staff has the experience and expertise needed to make us world renowned among forest products research organizations and an unbiased source of information. FPL researchers have longevity, with an average of 20 years of experience in their related fields.

THE TRAINING OF A FORESTER BY GIFFORD PINCHOT 1914 book. "To the men whom it really suits, forestry offers a career more attractive, it may be said in all fairness, than any other career whatsoever. I doubt if any other profession can show a membership so uniformly and enthusiastically in love with the work. The men who have taken it up, practised it, and left it for other work are few. But to the man not fully adapted for it, forestry must be punishment, pure and simple. Those who have begun the study of forestry, and then have learned that it was not for them, have doubtless been more in number than those who have followed it through."  Click here to read the book.

Drone 1 Technology to plant vast forest areas. Tree planting drones! Good idea.

Climate Change Field Guide For Wisconsin Forests:  Climate change is a growing concern for Wisconsinís forests. Foresters and landowners are considering how to prepare for future conditions and evaluate risks in the woods. This field guide is a quick reference on climate change for northern Wisconsin forests. We hope it will help foresters consider climate change risks together with local site characteristics, and also that it will help people design adaptation actions that help meet management goals.

Michigan Forest Health Highlights 2020:   From verdant upland hardwood forests to cool cedar swamps to sun-drenched oak savannas, Michiganís 19.3 million acres of forestland, about 4 million of which the DNRís Forest Resources Division manages, play an important role in the Michigan way of life. Michiganís forests are the heart of a $20 billion forest products industry and a $34 billion outdoor recreation industry (learn more at Most of the stateís large forests are in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. Monitoring and protecting this resource from the effects of forest pests and diseases is an important part of ensuring that we can enjoy the benefits of forests today and into the future.

Glossary of Terms Relevant to the Identification of Trees and Shrubs:   Learn about alternative leaves, ament, armament, axillary bud ans muh, muh more.

Considering Framing and Construction Lumber:  Given the crisis in softwood lumber, extreme pricing and short supply, it is our hope to help readers wade through it all. PIF sees no shortage of raw log-bolt material in our area, however the poor pulpwood markets likely hold up sales that have a strong mix of log and pulpwood. Also see A guide to American softwood species   and   A visual guide to Softwoods Species and Grades 


Climate Change Impact on Forest Management

FOREST CARBON: An essential natural solution for climate change: Your forest has always provided tremendous personal and public benefits, including clean water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and forest products. Recently, an additional forest benefit has been recognized: forests as an essential natural solution for climate change.


Look to the Land: Carbon Management in Forests and Grasslands:  Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science Michigan Technological University Presentation



Manage Forest Species


How to look for white pine bast scale and Caliciopsis canker:  The association between a tiny insect and an inconspicuous fungus is causing branch and sapling mortality. White pine bast scale (WPBS; Matsucoccus macrocicatrices) and Caliciopsis canker (caused by Caliciopsis spp.) are agents in an insect/disease complex impacting white pines. WPBS seems to cause minimal damage by itself. However, trees weakened and stressed by WPBS appear to be more susceptible to infection by Caliciopsis spp., which may infect trees through the tiny feeding wounds left by WPBS.
The causal fungus of Caliciopsis canker is considered native to North America. In Wisconsin, it has been identified in multiple northern counties (Bayfield, Iron, Price, Vilas, Oneida, Forest, Marinette, and Menominee) and two west central counties (Jackson and Eau Claire) (Figure 2). It is likely that the fungus is present in other Wisconsin counties as well. Click here to read more on the canker.

Red Pine Pocket Mortality:  Red pine pocket mortality, caused by a complex of insects and the fungi Leptographium terrebrantis and L. procerum was first identified in Wisconsin in 1975. National distribution of this syndrome is unknown. Thinned, plantation-grown red pines between the ages of 30-45 are most likely to show symptoms of this syndrome.

Heterobasidion root rot:  Planning to cut pine trees on your property? Then you need to know how to protect your woodlands against the ďcircles of deathĒ of Heterobasidion root rot, the most damaging disease in temperate conifer forests of the world which has become an epidemic in Wisconsin. Thinning of pine plantations or cutting of conifer trees can expose your woodland to this deadly disease. Failure to aggressively respond to the discovery of this lethal pathogen has threatened sustainable management of Wisconsin's pines and other conifers in commercial forests, and also endangers trees in recreational woodlands and in wooded residential and vacation properties.

Jack Pine Budworm:  There has recently been incidence of the jack pine budworm, a cyclic insect pine pest, in many parts of PIFís membership area.  Jack pine is the preferred host of this pest, which attacks primarily those trees 20 years and older, but budworm will also spread into stands of red pine in areas that are heavily infested.

Armillaria Root Rot:  This fungus is common throughout the Lake States in red pine plantations. Damage is especially severe on trees under stress and trees growing in cutover hard-wood stands. Armillaria causes a decay, seldom extending more than a few feet above ground. It kills trees by girdling at the root collar.


Wisconsin Oak Wilt:  Oak wilt kills thousands of trees each year in forests, woodlots and urban areas. Oak wilt can even attack and kill healthy trees. The disease is a particularly serious problem for species in the red oak group such as northern red, northern pin and black oaks.  In addition, click here for the results of a study of oak wilt detection in Wisconsin as of December 7, 2021.

Wisconsin Oak Wilt:  Learn if your property is at risk, how to reduce the spread of oak wilt in a forested area, how to know if a tree has oak wilt and much more.

Oak Wilt Management - What are the Options: Thousands of Oaks in woodlands and urban settings die from oak wilt every year. Widespread in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, the disease is caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum. Because trees in the red oak group fall prey to the disease most often, the publication focuses on the red oak group.

Twolined chestnut borer: Adult twolined chestnut borers primarily attack oaks that are damaged by drought or trees that are suppressed or declining. Urban oaks that suffer stress from trunk and root injury, soil compaction, and changes in soil depth are equally vulnerable to attack by this pest.

Collapsing foundations: The ecology of the British oak, implications of its decline and mitigation options:  Oak (Quercus spp.) is declining globally due to a variety of pests, pathogens and climate change. Assessments of the impact of losing keystone species such as oak, should include the impact on associated biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and consider mitigation options. Here, we assess the potential ecological implications of a decline in Quercus petraea/robur within the UK. We collated a database of 2300 species associated with Q. petraea/robur of which 326 were found to be obligate associates (only found on Q. petraea/robur).

Preparing for life after peak oak:  Itís no coincidence that oaks appear so prominently in premodern European mythology. Thousands of species are known to live among their branches and in their bark; their nuts are foundational to forest food webs. A centuries-old oak is practically an ecosystem unto itself, and though people no longer worship beneath their boughs, oaks remain appreciated and even beloved.


Spruce decline in Wisconsin:  Spruce decline has been advancing in Northcentral Wisconsin since about 1988, with symptoms progressing from the ground up, and from the inside of the crown outward.  Symptoms included very poor live crown ratios and loss of needles throughout the crown, but significantly worse on the lower portions of the crown.


Sugar Maples Trouble?: As many readers know, sugar maple is one of the most important timber species in the North Woods.Unfortunately, for the past several years, reports of dieback have been coming from multiple locations across the UP, northern Minnesota, and northern Wisconsin.

Evidence of damage from exotic invasive earthworm activity was highly correlated to sugar maple dieback in the Upper Great Lakes region.  Sugar maple in the western Upper Great Lakes region has recently been reported with increased crown dieback symptoms, prompting investigation of the dieback etiology across the region. Evaluation of sugar maple dieback from 2009 to 2012 across a 120 plot network in Upper Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and eastern Minnesota has indicated that forest floor disturbance impacts from exotic invasive earthworms was significantly related to maple dieback. Click here to read the full article.

Sugar Maple Syrup: Hey Maple Syrup producers and lovers...perhaps you are already aware of the science behind maple sap flow, but I found this 1 hour webinar fascinating. It was this week's lecture put on by the Urban Forestry Today website that offers monthly lectures on various forestry related topics. It also shows some commercial, high tech operations in Vermont. Amazing.

North American Maple Producers Manual - Third Edition: North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual is now available for download! Send a blank email to and you will receive a link to view and download the 434-page Manual.


Emerald Ash Borer: Emerald ash borer was found in southeast Wisconsin in August of 2008. The purpose of this website is to provide clear and timely information about EAB to those affected by, or potentially affected by, the insect's presence in our state.


Woolly Adelgid: The two hemlock species found in eastern North America, eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana), are susceptible and seem to have little resistance to hemlock woolly adelgid damage. Heavy infestations can lead to the death of the tree within 4 - 10 years, and trees are also weakened and made vulnerable to attack by other insects and diseases.

   Balsam Fir

Dead Foliage: Symptoms: wilting (wilted) new foliage, mostly in the lower 1/2 of crown (looks like frost damage; or dead mature foliage on branches that are oftentimes still with green cambium, mostly in the lower 3/4 of crown; or dead tips (only distal few inches) scattered around crown; or tied foliage with pupal cases and lots of moths fluttering.

   Butternut (Black Walnut) Fir

Butternut Canker: Butternut is being killed throughout its range by Sirococcus clavigignentijuglandacearum, a fungus most likely introduced from outside of North America. The fungus initially infects trees through buds, leaf scars, and possibly insect wounds and other openings in the bark, rapidly killing small branches.


Basswood Thrips: Defoliation of basswood trees caused by introduced basswood thrips. The introduced basswood thrips, thrips calcaratus, is a recently recognized defoliator of American basswood in the Lake States.

   Birch (help us provide more detail)



   Evergreen Schrub

Death and Taxes: the high cost of palatability for a declining evergreen schrub. In forest ecosystems woody shrubs face many challenges in the struggle for survival and growth. In addition to coping with the high-shade environment of the forest floor, in many systems shrubs have to contend with the presence of mammalian herbivores. Since these understory inhabitants spend their entire existence within the reach of browsers, they must carefully balance the allocation of limited resources among maintenance, growth, and defense. When nutrients and light are readily available, fast-growing species rapidly regrow tissues to compensate for herbivore consumption, but if resources are limited, investment in defense may be the preferred option. Click here to continue to read article.

Extensive Canada Yew on Pilgrim River property


Articles on the ecology, distribution, conservation and management of large old trees:  2017 Conserving large old trees as small natural features - BiolCons;  2016 The unique challenges of conserving large old trees - TrendsEcolEvol;  2016 The ecology, distribution, conservation and management of large old trees - BiolRev DOI;  2014 New Policies for Old Trees: Averting a Global Crisis in a Keystone Ecological Structure - ConsLett

In many areas of the United States, the population density of white-tailed deer has dramatically increased over the past century to levels that are significantly greater than presettlement estimates.  Prolonged and selective overbrowsing by deer has strong impacts on population-and community-level processes. Here are several "Deer browse impact research papers":   "The legacy of deer overabundance: long-term delays in herbaceous understory recovery";    "Historic disturbance regimes promote tree diversity only under low browsing regimes in eastern deciduous forest";    "Chronic over browsing and biodiversity collapse in a forest understory in Pennsylvania:  Results from a 60 year-old deer exclusion plot";    "Deer herbivory reduces web-building spider abundance by simplifying forest vegetation structure";    "On the formation of dense understory layers in forests worldwide: consequences and implications for forest dynamics, biodiversity, and succession"


Forest Soils

NRCS Soils:  Soils and Moisture are fundamental elements in having a healthy forest. Soils is part of the National Cooperative Soil Survey, an effort of Federal and State agencies, universities, and professional societies to deliver science-based soil information.