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DNR Forest Stewardship Program policy changes

By Gary Michael, MN DNR – Division of Forestry

The Department of Natural Resource Division of Forestry’s Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) is undertaking a major shift in how it operates. For decades the FSP has been delivering free forest management plans to non-industrial private forest landowners.  A recent change in funding will require the FSP to be a more self sufficient program.  To achieve greater self sufficiency, the FSP is moving to a fee for service based program.

Stewardship eligible lands are any forestland with existing tree cover and other woody vegetation or lands suitable, and likely, for growing trees and other woody vegetation or land which has significant effect (e.g., streams within a wooded type, wetlands, fields to be planted for wildlife or timber, etc.) on the forested acres.

The minimum acreage necessary to receive a stewardship plan is twenty acres of tree or other woody vegetation after the plan has been implemented.  Exemptions may be applied for on either a county or individual basis.

A couple of examples to help clarify the twenty-acre minimum are as follows:

  • If a landowner owns 40 total acres with only 11 acres of woodland, and he or she is interested in planting 9 more acres of trees, they would be eligible to receive a Stewardship Plan and would be eligible for cost share assistance.
  • If a landowner owns 18 acres total, and all the acres are wooded, he or she would need an exemption to receive a Stewardship Plan, as they could not meet the minimum 20 wooded acre criteria.
  • If a landowner has 30 total acres with only 11 acres of woodland and the landowner does not have any interest in establishing additional acres of trees or other woody vegetation, he or she would not be eligible to receive a plan unless an exemption has been granted

The fee will be a minimum of $230 for a 20 acre plan and a maximum of $1,000 for all plans over 260 acres (up to 1,000 acres).  The plan writing fee will be rounded to the nearest whole dollar.  All stewardship plan requests over 1,000 acres should be turned over to a FSP partner (consultant forester) so that they can negotiate with the landowner a fee for service (cash plan).

Formula to calculate Stewardship Plan fees:

Formula to calculate the fee for a new or revising an outdated stewardship plan [(stewardship acres – 20 acres)*$3.21)+$230 = plan writing fee

A few examples:

43 acre stewardship plan:  [(43 acres – 20 acres)*$3.21] + $230 = $304

178 acre stewardship plan:  [(178 acres – 20 acres)*$3.21] + $230 = $737

271 acre stewardship plan:  This request is over 260 acres, so the cost is $1,000
Many times only a portion of the land is eligible for a stewardship plan.  The fee only reflects the acres included in the plan.  The forester will determine the plan acres.  All plans will need to be registered with the DNR Division of Forestry.


November 20, 2009 at 6:50 am 3 comments

November monthly email update

This month’s update from is now available.

This month’s features:

  • 09november-230pxResponse: Dauerwald, ecological forestry, and late-successional structure
  • North Central Forest Management Guides: Bottomland hardwoods
  • John Latimer’s Northern Minnesota phenology report
  • Meet a Minnesota Logger: Tom Kruschek
  • Protecting tree seedlings from deer
  • Featured link: Tree ID resources from
  • And, as always, discussion board, upcoming events, news, poem of the month, and a quiz.

Read this month’s update here.

November 10, 2009 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

Northern Minnesota phenology report: November 2009

By John Latimer, KAXE Radio, Grand Rapids

Ruby meadowhawk by Jim FrazierThe last of the meadowhawk dragonflies will put in an appearance in early November. These small, bright red, insects are among the last to fly about in the fall. A warm day or two in the early part of the month will send them out in a last and probably fruitless search for other flying insects.

Flickr photo “Ruby Meadowhawk” by Jim Frazier. Original.

If you have been observing them throughout the fall you may have noticed them flying in tandem with the female periodically touching her abdomen to the grass. She is depositing eggs. Her strategy is to place her eggs on stalks of grass that will be inundated in the spring. Once awash the eggs will begin to develop and the larval stages will terrorize the shallow ponds and lake edges until late summer when they will emerge and terrorize the flying insects.

Dragonfly by Chris CoomberThose eggs mistakenly laid in the grass that may be your lawn will likely never develop. No one is perfect and least of all the meadowhawk dragonflies, but what they lack in foresight about those areas likely to flood they make up for in sheer numbers of eggs laid. Some of them will end up underwater and the species will survive.

Flickr photo “Dragonfly” by Chris Coomber. Original.

In the case of the meadowhawk dragonflies they survive the winter as eggs or larvae, but what about the Compton’s tortoiseshell or Mourning cloak butterflies? How do they survive the cold? They over-winter as adults and without an approach to overcome the cold they would freeze and die. For many insects the strategy is freeze avoidance.

There are three elements to freeze avoidance. First, the insect produces an anti-freeze which circulates in the blood. These special proteins bind with any ice crystals that may form keeping them small and preventing them from doing damage.

Chionea species by C WoodSecond, they produce sugars and sugar based alcohols which act to lower the freezing point of any water in the body. These typically take the form of glycerols that by mid-winter may constitute 20 to 25% of the insect’s total body weight.

Flickr photo “Chionea species” by C Wood. Original.

The final part of a freeze avoidance strategy involves finding a dry location. Staying away from water and the resulting ice is imperative. Ice can act as a nucleator for the development of further ice crystals. The butterflies must find secure dry locations, other insects might construct waterproof cocoons or some other personal protection, but the butterflies lack this ability. This perhaps explains why I find so many of them in my garage.

John Latimer is well known throughout northern Minnesota for his phenology work. He appears weekly on KAXE radio in Grand Rapids, and audio and twitter archives are available here. His work is a frequent feature on MyMinnesotaWoods.  This article also appeared in the Duluth Senior Reporter.  It is printed with the author’s permission.

November 9, 2009 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

October 2009 email update

The October 2009 update from is now available at

This month’s features include the following:

Video: EAB and your Woodland
John Latimer’s Northern Minnesota phenology report
Meet a Minnesota Logger AND an MFA member
North Central Forest Management Guides: Aspen
Minnesota moose population status: How you can help

Discussion board
Upcoming events
News stories
Poem of the month
Quiz of the month

To see this month’s update, visit

October 13, 2009 at 5:03 am Leave a comment

October 2009 Woody Biomass Forage Harvester Demo


New Holland forage harvester with SRC header. Click image for source.

Update October 19: This event has been rescheduled from October 21 to October 28, 2009.  The text below reflects the change.

The University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center (SROC) will be hosting a New Holland FR9000 Forage Harvester with an 130FB Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) Woody Crop Header on Wednesday, October 28, 2009, from 12:00pm to 3:00pm.  When utilizing the 130FB SRC Woody Crop Header, the New Holland FR9000 is capable of cutting and chipping woody biomass as if it was corn silage.

Questions and conversation regarding woody biomass for renewable energy and the New Holland FR9000 / 130FB Header will be conducted at 12:00pm and 2:00pm.  The Woody Biomass Forage Harvester Demonstration Field Day will be held in the willow trials at SROC’s Argicultural Ecology Research Farm.

Woody biomass is being proposed as a feedstock for a number of bio-industrial and renewable energy applications.  The State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry has been working with Cornell University and Case New Holland to develop a harvest system for short rotation coppice woody biomass crops.

The New Holland FR9000 with a 130FB Header attachment is a harvest system using a conventional forage harvester equipped with a specialty cutting attachment for woody crop harvest.  This self-propelled harvester can cut and chip standing short rotation woody biomass in the field in a single pass operation while providing wood chips of a uniform length and size.

Partners for this event include:
Case New Holland; University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center; Rural Advantage; University of Minnesota Extension; Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management; University of Minnesota College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences; and University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources.

Directions to SROC’s Agricultural Ecology Research Farm:
From State Hwy 14, follow signage for State Hwy 14 West.  Immediately look for Co. Rd. 27.  It will take you past the Waseca Airport.  Follow to Co. Rd. 57 and the road construction.  Travel east about 1.0 mile to Agricultural Ecology Research Farm.

Questions or concerns?  Contact:
Dr. Gregg Johnson – SROC –, 507-837-5617
Jill Sackett – UM Extension and Rural Advantage –, 507-238-5449

October 12, 2009 at 9:15 am 1 comment

Poem of the month: Woods


I wish to grow dumber,
to slip deep into woods that grow blinder
with each step I take,
until the fingers let go of their numbers
and the hands are finally ignorant as paws.
Unable to count the petals,
I will not know who loves me,
who loves me not.
Nothing to remember,
nothing to forgive,
I will stumble into the juice of the berry, the shag of bark,
I will be dense and happy as fur.

— Noelle Oxenhandler

Noelle Oxenhandler’s most recent book is The Eros of Parenthood. (Source)

October 12, 2009 at 8:45 am Leave a comment

Emerald ash borer and your Minnesota woodlands

A few months ago, we heard from a frustrated reader.  Noting the abundant info about emerald ash borer (EAB) in urban environments, he could find almost nothing on managing ash in woodland stands.  Philip Potyondy created this video to begin to answer that question.

The video has four sections:

  • First Extension’s Jeff Hahn reviews basic EAB biology, dispersal, and impacts on host trees.
  • Second, Keith Jacobson of the MN DNR’s Utilization & Marketing unit briefly reviews markets for ash wood in Minnesota.
  • Third, we head to the woods for brief comments from Paul Dickson, president of the Minnesota Association of Consulting Foresters.
  • We close with a summary of research and management recommendations for woodland ash stands from Extension’s Angela Gupta.

Special thanks to Jeff Hahn, Keith Jacobson, Paul Dickson, and Angela Gupta for their contributions to this video.  You can learn much more about EAB in Minnesota at the UMN Extension EAB page.

What are you doing to prepare your woods for EAB?  Leave a comment to let us know.

October 12, 2009 at 8:02 am 5 comments

The Minnesota moose population

There’s been a lot of news lately about declining moose populations in Minnesota.  According to NRRI, the northwest Minnesota population has declined from over 4,000 to fewer than 100 over the past 20 years.  There’s some concern now about a decline in northeastern Minnesota as well.

The following announcement is from the KAXE radio website:

MooseCalfWe talked with Mark Johnson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, about what he learned as a member of theMinnesota Moose Advisory Committee. The Minnesota moose population is facing a lot of biological and natural threats, and has seen sharp declines in the Northwestern part of the state.

While the decline has not been as dramatic in Northeastern Minnesota, biologists and others interested in moose populations are still concerned. Mark indicated that we have a lot to learn about what is affecting the population, and one of the ways that you can help is to report your moose sightings on a special website.Please report your moose sighting(s) here, or read why it’s important to report what you see.

Read more about what’s happening to moose in Northeastern Minnesota on NRRI’s Moose in Minnesota website.

October 9, 2009 at 5:37 am 3 comments

Northern Minnesota phenology report: October 2009

By John Latimer, KAXE Radio, Grand Rapids

Fall color from Oberg Mtn. Allison Eklund photo.

Fall color from Oberg Mtn. Allison Eklund photo.

The arrival of fall is best announced by the leaves of the trees turning color. For many years it was assumed that these colors were in the leaves from the beginning and that as the tree prepared for winter it stopped producing chlorophyll and the intrinsic colors were revealed. Recent studies have shown that the colors are not in the leaves and must be produced by the tree.

From an evolutionary perspective simply turning color would be a waste of energy because the pigments produced are lost when the leaves fall. There must be a reason why the trees would invest in the color change. Two theories have emerged as possible explanations.

One theory is that the color is a signal to insects to stay away. Many insects approach trees in the fall to lay their eggs and in the spring these eggs will hatch and begin an attack on the tree. There is some evidence that insects avoid the most colorful trees. The trees with the brightest colors will self select because they will experience the least insult from pests. Ultimately these trees should come to dominate the forest. That they don’t is the source of much conjecture.

The problem is that some trees do not turn color in the fall. Rather they just drop their leaves while still green. Scientists that support this protectionist theory contend that there is always going to be some natural variation within the plant community. Research indicates that those trees under the greatest pressure were the ones that evolved to have the brightest colors.

Jack pine needles about to drop in fall. Esagor photo.

Jack pine needles about to drop in fall. Esagor photo.

Other scientists have noted, especially here in the far north, that by the time trees begin to turn color the majority of their insect pests have perished.  Where then is the pressure to turn color for defense? They contend that the trees turn color to mitigate the effects of sunlight on the leaf as it shuts down.

The entire photosynthetic process must be shut down in the fall. The tree needs to carefully dismantle the chemicals used in the process, nitrogen, and phosphorus among others will be maintained in the tree to be used again in the spring. All this housekeeping requires energy that comes from photosynthesis, yet this is the process that is shutting down.

Leaves cannot use all the energy striking their surfaces in the fall and the excess can cause damage. Anthocyanins, those molecules that cause leaves to turn red, act as a sunscreen allowing the leaf to get its work done without destroying the chemicals the tree is trying to extract.

Scientists produced trees in the laboratory that were unable to produce the colors associated with fall. While these trees prospered in the greenhouse they were unable to ship nutrients to the tree for storage in the fall. This supports the sunscreen theory, but the sunscreen is only present in those trees that produce anthocyanins. The trees that turn yellow manufacture a chemical called carotenoid and this has no effect on sunlight. Currently they are arguing that there is another, as yet undiscovered, chemical doing the screening.

So it goes, the two sides concede that the other may be partly correct. Possibly the leaves turning color may accomplish more than one task. I am just glad that they do turn color in the fall. Whatever the reason it is a time of stunning beauty.

John Latimer is well known throughout northern Minnesota for his phenology work. He appears weekly on KAXE radio in Grand Rapids, and audio and twitter archives are available here. His work is a frequent feature on MyMinnesotaWoods.  This article also appeared in the Duluth Senior Reporter.  It is printed with the author’s permission.

October 5, 2009 at 9:01 am 3 comments

New Itasca County Private Woodland Committee website

By Julie Miedtke, University of Minnesota Extension, Itasca County

Looking for local northern Minnesota woodlands information?  The Itasca County Private Woodland Committee has a brand new website that features:

  • a calendar of upcoming classes & events in and around Itasca County.
  • landowner resources with information to order trees etc.
  • a local ‘forum’ section for questions and answers about Itasca County woodlands.
  • photos of landowners, woods, wildlife and more.

Perhaps the nicest feature on this site is the opportunity for you to share information about your land.  If you want to, you’ll be able to upload photos, tell us about your hike in the woods, pruning your trees or deer milling around the food plot.

The site will also be your hub for new Minnesota woodlands info:  Towards the bottom you’ll notice headlines and links to new content from MyMinnesotaWoods.

Take a quick surf, join the site as a member (it’s optional and free) get involved!  If you have questions, send them to

Check out the new site now.

October 5, 2009 at 8:36 am Leave a comment

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