Posts tagged ‘family forest’

Two videos: Natural disturbance-based silviculture and restoring late-successional structure

Back in June 2009, someone named Tom posted a great question about applying the Dauerwald concept in Minnesota.  In a nutshell, the Dauerwald approach involves intensive management designed to maintain a high diversity of tree species and ages.  This approach can be attractive to those interested in active management but less comfortable with more extensive harvests such as clearcuts or shelterwood treatments.

This month we feature a two-part video response to Tom’s question and the ensuing discussion from Tony D’Amato, silviculturist at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Forest Resources.  Tony’s first video addresses the concept of natural disturbance-based silviculture.  His second video addresses a somewhat related concept, of active management to restore late-successional structure. Tony discusses how ecological forestry can complement other approaches like production forestry and multiple use sustained yield forestry on the landscape.

Ecological forestry: Natural disturbance-based silviculture


Ecological forestry: Restoring late-successional forest structure


Your turn

How does (or doesn’t) ecological forestry fit into your woodland plans?  Why or why not?  Leave a comment below or add to the initial discussion begun by Tom.

November 10, 2009 at 6:05 am Leave a comment

Traditional approaches and the future of Minnesota’s forests: The Thirteen Moons project

By David Wilsey
University of Minnesota Extension, Cloquet

What future for the forested landscapes of our region? We inhabit a region known for abundant forest resources, a region situated within a state nationally known for its forests. It is a special place and our people have special connections with our surroundings. Meanwhile, families grow, children move away and back, communities change in size and composition, the economy cycles, and the climate influences our habitat. We know these things and thus recognize that our future landscape could take many forms, and for these reasons we continuously revisit the question of how people connect with natural resources and the forested landscape?

There is no single answer to this question. Economic benefits of the wood and paper industries are felt directly and indirectly throughout the region. Forested landscapes also offer recreational opportunities and contribute to our vital tourism industry. Many of us work in these industries. We know families that generate seasonal income or other benefits from non-timber forest resources, such as maple syrup and balsam boughs. Forests provide habitat for many animals that feed our families, such as deer, bear, and moose.

Forests contribute to our individual and collective identity and to our individual and common culture. We are northern Minnesotans: independent and resourceful. We are loggers, mill workers, trappers, hunters, harvesters, jam-makers. We have fun making a few bucks in the woods even if we don’t really, once we run the numbers.

There is no certain future for our region’s forested landscapes but we have a hunch that understanding people connections to natural resources and the forested landscape will help us to ensure that future resources align with our collective needs and wants. To learn more about these connections Extension is making a concerted effort to learn about the full array of forest resources, both timber and non-timber, used and appreciated by people within and around the region. The Thirteen Moons program is one example of this effort.

Thirteen Moons addresses an identified need to fortify connections between Fond du Lac (FDL) community members and traditional natural resources. This program emerged from a 2008 listening session and needs assessment that focused on Band members’ perspectives on natural resources and their use. The traditional Ojibwe calendar year follows the 13-moon lunar cycle. Each moon is named for a natural phenomenon – the activity of a seasonally active animal, an important cultural practice or belief, or a prevalent environmental condition. Thirteen Moons taps into this cycle, providing educational content relevant to the community’s interests through partnerships with knowledgeable community members.

There are two components to the program. The first component is a monthly feature in the Fond du Lac tribal newspaper running under the Thirteen Moons banner. Each feature centers thematically on the month’s moon and contains educational content related to culture, ecology, and management. The second component is a thirteen-workshop series, each workshop based upon the corresponding Ojibwe moon and offered as closely as possible to its cycle. The workshops both feature and target FDL community members. Upcoming workshop announcements and highlights can be found at

September 4, 2009 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

New book available: Woodland Stewardship, 2nd Edition

Woodland Stewardship: A Practical Guide for Midwestern Landowners, 2nd Edition was published by the University of Minnesota Extension for use by private woodland owners in the Upper Midwest.

This revised 2nd edition builds on the highly successful first edition in 1993, which was distributed to tens of thousands of landowners throughout the Midwest.  This new book is designed to help family forest landowners identify goals for their woodlands and work with professional foresters to choose management practices that will help meet those goals. The new book provides an overview of the field of forestry and includes new or expanded chapters on:

  • Managing important forest types.
  • Developing nontimber forest products.
  • Managing forests to benefit wildlife.
  • Designing and building recreational trails.
  • Handling the financial considerations of forest ownership.

Decisions by family forest landowners have the potential to affect a woodland for a century or more.  Reading Woodland Stewardship: A Practical Guide for Midwestern Landowners, 2nd Edition can help ensure their decisions are the right ones for the family and the woodland.

You can order the book here.  Volume discounts apply:  1 – 24 copies cost $16 + shipping.  25 – 999 copies: $10 + shipping, and 1,000 or more are only $7 each. Prices exclude shipping.

The University of Minnesota also was recently approved to receive a grant from the U.S. Forest Service, through the Minnesota DNR, to place this book on the Web, create a Web-based shortcourse around its content, and to evaluate the book and shortcourse.  Providing the book in alternative formats will help ensure that its content is available to landowners in a variety of formats that meet their different learning styles.  These other formats will be available in a year, but a printed book will meet the needs of most landowners.

Click here to order a copy now.

September 3, 2009 at 8:44 am 2 comments

MN Women’s Woodland Network

By Angela Gupta, University of Minnesota Extension, Rochester

There’s been some exciting activity around engaging female forest landowners in Minnesota. For years there’s been anecdotal information about the lack of women participants in forestry learning. Indeed far more men than women attend Woodland Advisor classes. Why? There are more women in the United States. Research tells us women live longer. During the Intergenerational Land Transfer class we learn about how important it is to get the whole family involved in forest management and ownership to ensure the desired long-term outcomes. So where are the ladies? Why aren’t they attending classes? Are they participating in forest management decisions?

Photo by Julie Miedtke

Photo by Julie Miedtke

The University of Minnesota Extension provided seed money to create a steering committee to address this issue. As a result of 15 engaged women learning about female forest landowner education programs in Maine and Oregon, studying what little research is available on forest landowners and gender, and reviewing the literature on how men and women learn different the Minnesota Women’s Woodland Network was born. As I type work is being done to get an informational brochure together, work on the Network’s new website, and plan eight kitchen-table-gatherings across the state to try and engage these elusive ladies. The mission of this network is sustaining privately owned woodlands through education.

So how, you ask, is the MN Women’s Woodland Network different from the Woodland Advisor program- the Extension program that teaches forest landowners about forest management? Excellent question. Network organizers plan to nurture this network of active forest landowners through women friendly, low-key, learning activities that increase their comfort level enough to join the traditional Woodland Advisor classes and participate completely. This Network will not parallel Woodland Advisor classes, but rather help feed ladies into those classes and help get a more equal gender representation (and equal lines for the bathrooms). Also, hopefully this network will form into active groups of women that regularly meet and discuss forestry topics together; the more synergy a group can form the more sustainable and active they’re likely to be.

Photo by Julie Miedtke

Photo by Julie Miedtke

Now you’re wondering: How can the University of Minnesota, an equal opportunity employer and provider, offer classes only for women? Another great question. First, anyone can attend these gatherings but they will be very women friendly. Organizers plan to create a safe environment for women to ask questions, explore topics they’ve never thought about before, and stretch their wings by flying through their forests.

Are you getting excited about this Network? Do you know of women who might be interested in joining? I hope so! Extension has provided funds to start the ball rolling. We plan to offer gatherings and get folks energized in three to four regions across the state in the next few months. The Network will be involved in the Minnesota Forestry Association’s annual meeting January 8th and 9th in Cloquet. We will be advertising these meetings but if you would like to get involved or know someone we should contact directly, please get a hold of either me: Angela Gupta, 507-280-2869, or Julie Miedtke, 218-327-7365,  We’d love to hear from you!

August 28, 2009 at 10:23 am 1 comment

Book review: Timber Tax Management for Family Forest Owners

By Mike Reichenbach, University of Minnesota Extension Forester

Timber Tax Management for Family Forest Owners
2009 Edition for Filing 2008 Tax Returns
William L. Hoover and Mark Koontz

Timber Tax Management for Family Forest Owners is written for woodland owners and tax professionals.  It provides more than a description of how to file after you have a timber sale.  It provides an overview of the tax code that pertains to timber sales and the operation of a woodland as a business.  It covers acquisitions, how to structure the acquisition, record keeping, reforestation expenses, management and operating expenses, timber sales, casualty losses, land sales, and exchanges.  The conclusion is an in-depth treatment of Form T.  The book will help landowners answer questions about the legal and financial aspects of ownership.

Landowners and those who are likely to purchase or inherit woodland should read this book.  It provides a step by step decision process for operation of the land as a business.  The authors state on page 27 that one of the differences between a personal use activity and a business is, “The willingness of an owner to undertake an activity for profit.  Owners not willing to do the record keeping should treat their activity as a personal use activity.”  This clear statement and others throughout the book will help landowners, accountants and other tax professionals make decisions regarding the operation of their forestland.

The book is self published and is available in a 3 ring binder format.  It may be ordered through

July 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment

Infuenced by Stewardship: the Danson family

By Julie Miedtke, UMN Extension Itasca County

I often wonder what motivates people to work on their land.  Sometimes a conversation with a friend or neighbor may spark an interest.  People can be inspired by a motivational speaker, a book with glossy images or filled with facts.  Recently I had a conversation with Oren and Andrea Danson and learned that they were inspired by a postcard from the Itasca Soil and Water Conservation District.  The little postcard asked if they were interested in improving wildlife habitat and managing their land.   The landowner survey card led to a conversation and a Woodland SteOren and Andrea Dansonwardship Management Plan.  In a recent conversation Oren said “Our Woodland Stewardship Management Plan has definitely influenced our lives.”

Oren grew up on the family farm south of Grand Rapids that was purchased by his father in the 1920’s.  In 1974, Oren was able to purchased 40 acres from his Mom.  At that time, the Danson’s were absentee landowners and the small field was used for hay production for a number of years.  The land idled until the management plan was written in 1998.

Stewardship Activities

In 2001, the Dansons harvested over mature Aspen and Balsam Fir working with a consulting forester.  Reiger Logging harvested the timber that generated substantial income. In 2002, the land was enrolled in the Sustainable Forest Incentive Act (SFIA) which has helped ease the burden of property taxes.

Oren commented on the positive aspects of having a Woodland Stewardship Plan and the opportunity to network with natural resource professionals and that he has enjoyed learning from them.  He shared his experience of working with the District Conservationist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) about planting a couple of rows of trees in the field.  He was then connected to Quintin Legler who helps folks with management activities.

Quintin and Oren spent time walking the land and talking about planting trees.  Oren shared his conversation with Quintin stating “Why should I plant trees?  I am sixty four years old!!  Quintin simply told me that it was a chance for me to leave my legacy and because taking care of your land is the right thing to do.  That little conversation hit the nail right on the head for me.”

In 2004 the entire field was machine planted with 14,000 Norway Pine.  The seedlings were monitored and many were lost during recent droughts and the field was replanted twice.  Oren eliminated competing grass, investing in a three wheeler to literally run up and down the rows applying a herbicide.


Danson's chest

The Danson’s enjoy working with their hands.  Andrea creates fanciful quilts and artful handwork, and Oren is a woodworker.   Oren has crafted many projects with wood harvested from his parents land that has been sawn, planed to create heirlooms for his children and grand children.  Oren said, “That way the kids can have a piece of the land even if they are living in distant places.”

Reprinted with permission from the January 2009 Itasca Woodlands newsletter. To learn more about the Itasca Woodlands Committee, which publishes the newsletter, call Sheila at (218) 327-7486.

March 8, 2009 at 10:15 am 1 comment

National Timber Tax webinar rescheduled for March 13

An upcoming web-based presentation (webinar) may be of interest to some MyMinnesotaWoods readers.  This one is rescheduled for Friday, March 13, 2009 at 11am Central.  The presentation is by Linda Wang of the US Forest Service.

This tax session highlights key timber tax issues faced by private landowners in time for the 2009 filing season. It is intended to provide a snapshot and basic understanding of the timber tax matters in a concise manner for forest and natural resource agency staff, directors, extension agents and program leaders, and foresters.

Click here for complete event details, including how to connect. The event is free and pre-registration is not required.  Note:  At the time of this writing, that link does not reflect the new date. The actual rescheduled date is Friday, March 13, 2009 at 11am Central.

March 6, 2009 at 10:12 am Leave a comment

Tomorrow’s Wisconsin Woodland Owners

(c) Wisconsin DNR. Source

(c) Wisconsin DNR.

Yesterday, Wisconsin State Forester Paul DeLong announced the results of an important study on the future of Wisconsin’s 16 million acres of woodland.  As noted in DeLong’s letter, 60% of the individuals who own Wisconsin’s forests are 55 years of age or older, and 10% of Wisconsin’s private woodland is expected to change ownership in the next 5 years.

The Pinchot Institute‘s Catherine Mater led the study, which interviewed 260 children of current Wisconsin family forest owners.  The findings clearly point to a need for innovation to engage and meet the needs of new woodland owners.

Here are some highlights from the study’s Key Findings page:

  • Male and female offspring interact differently in the Wisconsin family structure when it comes to participation in the management of family forests.
  • No matter the gender, Wisconsin offspring expect to inherit the family forestlands and they expect that they will be required to manage the lands jointly with their siblings.
  • Depending on gender, income generation may or may not be important for the next generation.
  • Sibling disagreement may already be more advanced than one might think.  Fifty percent or more families with multiple children had siblings who disagreed in three critical areas:  wanting to be involved in the management of the family forest, knowing how the family forestlands will be transferred, and identifying what conditions would force them to sell the family forest.
  • Forest health and human health: no longer disconnected.
  • If you want to really connect with the next generation of landowners, figure out what they tune into and what they tune out.
  • Offspring look to the DNR and extension.

The study’s website includes much more detail about study background, methods, results, and how to talk to your family about the future of your land.  (An additional, excellent resource on this topic is the Oregon State University Ties to the Land program.)  This is required reading for not only woodland owners, but also Extension and other professionals serving them.

October 8, 2008 at 9:37 am 1 comment

Cost-sharing for Minnesota woodlands

A variety of cost-share programs are available from year to year for woodland owners. These programs can help defray the costs of wildlife habitat improvement, soil erosion mitigation, tree planting, and many other woodland activities.

Both the amount of funding available and the specific activities for which funding is available vary from year to year. Most of these funds are passed through from the Federal or State governments, so appropriations depend on the legislative process.

Continue Reading April 29, 2007 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment

Minnesota woodland stewardship classes and workshops

There are a variety of different kinds of classes available to woodland owners. These classes cover topics from forest ecology to general forest stewardship planning to the nuts and bolts of timber sales, and everything in between. To find out about upcoming classes, check out Woodland Advisor, Tree Care Advisor, Minnesota Master Naturalist, and the Woodland School.

Continue Reading April 29, 2007 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

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