Posts tagged ‘forestry’

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Formula to calculate the fee for a new or revising an outdated stewardship plan [(stewardship acres – 20 acres)*$3.21)+$230 = plan writing fee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

 

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November 20, 2009 at 6:50 am 3 comments

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

Links:

Ecological forestry: Restoring late-successional forest structure

Links:

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

Thinning Minnesota conifer stands

Thinnings, or intermediate treatments, can improve the health, safety, and productivity of conifer plantations and natural stands.  In our new video, Minnesota DNR forester Art Widerstrom and discusses and how to plan your thinning, where to find help, and how to get it done.

Be sure to leave your comments below.  If you like this video, you may also be interested in a recent video by Dovetail Partners from a 2009 field tour on intermediate treatments in Aitkin County, MN.

September 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm 5 comments

Community Supported Forestry

Like the idea of Community Supported Agriculture?  Looking for ways to make a few bucks from your woodland?  A Wisconsin family is trying Community Supported Forestry.

Source: Whole Trees Architecture

Source: Whole Trees Architecture

This is a pretty interesting idea:  For an annual payment of $550, Roald Gundersen and Amelia Baxter of Hamburg, WI are offering unlimited access to their 140-acre wooded valley south of LaCrosse.  Four of 20 spots have already sold.  Read more about their operation on their website.  More information is available on the Worldchanging blog and in this story from the LaCrosse Tribune.

As noted in a comment on this post, the concept is not entirely new:  Woodland owners have been selling hunting leases, particularly in the southern US, for many years.  But this is a new twist on the concept.  The Community Supported Forestry concept is best described here by Vermont Family Forests.

(Thanks to the Community Forestry Resource Center, Vicky Sturdevant, and Pam Jakes for passing this along.)

July 21, 2009 at 10:06 am Leave a comment

New web resource: Caring for deer and forests

By Susan L. Stout, US Forest Service

A Resource Center for Eastern North America
Deer, forests, and people are connected. Forests provide food, cover, and clean water that deer need.  Forests growing on nutrient-rich soils with many food plants can support many more deer than forests with poor soils and few forest floor plants. That is, they have a higher carrying capacity. Deer add grace and beauty to the forest. What they eat affects how forests grow, how many deer they can support, and habitat for other wildlife.  Hunters seek deer for meat and for the love of the hunt as they have for hundreds of years.  Peoples’ understanding and choices about deer and forests shape all these connections.

This new site has two main goals:

You are invited to share your stories, pictures, and resources that show deer and forests in eastern North America.

Click here to visit http://www.deerandforests.org

The site was developed by a team of scientists and extension educators with input from a broad-based advisory team, and funding from the USDA Forest Service Electronic Commons project and Northern Initiatives. It is maintained by the University of Georgia, Penn State University, and US Forest Service Research & Development.

June 2, 2009 at 8:41 am Leave a comment

Carbon trading and forests: Background and overview

By John DuPlissis, University of Wisconsin Extension

Recently you may have heard people talking about “carbon credits,” “carbon trading,” “carbon sequestration,” and possibly even the “Kyoto Protocols.” These phrases and other similar terms have become increasingly part of our language as energy companies, paper mills, factories, and other industrial manufacturers are looking for opportunities to offset their greenhouse gas emissions through a market-based mechanism that would pay woodland owners to grow trees.

Sounds simple and the idea is certainly very interesting to many woodland owners who are looking for opportunities to generate income from their lands. But what are the opportunities and how can you get involved? I hope to cover the issue, the opportunities and the commonly asked questions that many people have as a series of articles here. I thought that I would start with the Kyoto protocols and the basis for “trading” carbon credits.

So where did this start? The United National Framework Convention on Climate Change, commonly known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 was where it all started. Article 2 of the convention directly addressed the need to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human caused) interference with the climate system.”

One of the main greenhouse gases of concern is carbon dioxide. The burning of fossil fuels for energy, heating, and transportation has led to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Through the process of photosynthesis trees remove and use carbon dioxide to create roots, branches, trunks and leaves. Therefore, trees and other green plants are seen as a potential solution to help slow down global climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing (sequestering) it as part of the permanent structure of the tree.

Photo: Flickr/mhaithaca

Photo: Flickr/mhaithaca

As a part of United National Framework Convention on Climate Change the “Kyoto Protocol” was established to create policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol requires industrialized nations (the United States has not ratified these protocols and is not bound by them) to reduce their greenhouse gas emission to approximately 95 percent of their 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Countries that are unable to achieve this goal through direct reduction of emissions are allowed to “compensate” by buying credits from countries that have under used their emission allowance, by investing in “cleaner” energy technology abroad or by putting money into forestry or soil conservation.

Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol provides an option to account for increases in carbon storage through forest management. Essentially, under these rules, companies can offset the amount of carbon dioxide they release into the air through industrial processes by purchasing credits from individuals or organizations who can show they are decreasing atmospheric carbon dioxide through forest management or soil conservation activities. This is often referred to as Carbon Trading.

This article is reprinted with permission from Woodland Leaders News, published by the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. This is the first in a series. John’s future posts will address how carbon credits are traded on the Chicago Climate Exchange.  For more on this issue, check our carbon credits page and John’s April 2009 post called Carbon Credits and Managed Family Forests: How it works.

May 8, 2009 at 11:23 am Leave a comment

DNR Releases 2008 Minnesota’s Forest Resources Report

From Minnesota DNR U&M staff

This report is compiled annually by the Minnesota DNR – Forestry Division Utilization & Marketing staff. Special thanks to Mohammed Iddrisu, who did a fine job as lead author for the 2008 report. He will continue authorship in the future.

The report is intended to answer frequently asked questions about Minnesota’s forest resources and forest industry. Hard copies will be available upon request to Mohammed Iddrisu after they’re printed in late April.

Many thanks to those who cooperated in providing information and helpful input for this report, including many of Minnesota’s wood product companies, and the U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) unit.

Highlights of the 2008 report:

  • Ainsworth’s Grand Rapids Oriented Strand Board (OSB) mill has announced a permanent closure in September of 2008. The mill has not been in operation since September 2006. The Cook and Bemidji mills have been shutdown permanently as well, announced in early January 2009. Weyerhaeuser’s Trust Joist mill in Deerwood has been in what has been termed an indefinite shutdown since September 2007. These and other slowdowns and curtailments continue to have a large impact on timber markets in Minnesota. Harvest levels of 2006 are down by over 500,000 cords from 2005 harvest levels. It is likely that a downward trend has continued through 2007 and 2008, resulting in opportunities and need for additional utilization and management of Minnesota’s forest resources.
  • Timber imports of pulpwood into the state as well exports out of the state saw declines in 2006, and it is likely that this continued into 2007 and 2008. The change has been due to several factors, most notably reduced demand from mill closures and slowdowns. It is likely that Minnesota is still a net importer of raw wood as of December 2008, but by a greatly reduced margin.
  • Overall net growth for all species continued to outpace harvest levels. According to 2007 FIA figures, annual net growth of growing stock on timberland was approximately 5.8 million cords and net mortality of approximately 3.10 million cords. According to mill and fuelwood survey data, the volume of wood harvested & utilized by industry and fuelwood users was approximately 3.2 million cords.
  • Woody biomass use for energy markets and forest carbon credits are significant emerging issues that will have an impact on forest management in the future. An update pertaining to woody biomass use for energy and carbon credits are included in this report.

If you have questions about Minnesota’s forest resources or this publication, you can direct them to the DNR Forest Products Utilization & Marketing staff listed below.

Lead author: Mohammed Iddrisu, RC&D Forestry Coordinator, Mora
Keith Jacobson, Program Supervisor, St. Paul
Rick Dahlman, St. Paul
Mimi Barzen, Northern MN U&M Staff, Grand Rapids
Lance Sorensen, Southern/Central Region U&M Staff, Rochester

Download the full report here (PDF, 1MB) or visit the DNR Utilization & Marketing site for past reports and related information.

April 10, 2009 at 10:31 am Leave a comment

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News and information of interest to Minnesota woodland owners. Sister site to MyMinnesotaWoods.org.

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