Posts tagged ‘MN’

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Formula to calculate the fee for a new or revising an outdated stewardship plan [(stewardship acres – 20 acres)*$3.21)+$230 = plan writing fee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

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

Goods from the Woods UpNorth Marketplace & Green Living Celebration

[Passing along an announcement from the folks organizing this great annual event:]

Scores of incredible artisans will offer one-of-a-kind products made from the bounty of Minnesota’s northern forests

The seventh annual Goods from the Woods marketplace and celebration, featuring 70 high-quality regional artists and craftspersons offering unique, handcrafted items produced from the bounty of our northern forests.


Saturday, September 19, 2009.
Goods from the Woods: From 9:00am to 6:00pm.
Northwoods Dinner: At 7:00pm.

Ruttger’s Sugar Lake Lodge, Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
Shuttle bus service will run hourly from Grand Rapids to Goods from the Woods with stops at Central School (highways 2 and 169) on the hour, Shops of Distinction, L&M Fleet Supply, Timberlake Lodge & Hotel, and Sawmill Inn.

Outstanding craftsmanship will be on display throughout the event.  Some examples include Bent Willow Furniture, Walter Grittner’s “chip carved” boxes, Nature & Judi Carlson’s flower-pounded pillows and home decor, Andrew Kringen Designs’ original design wood inlay cutting boards and other items, and Timber Farm Canoes. Many of the artists and craftspeople will be doing live demonstrations of their work.

The purpose of Goods from the Woods and the related programs of the Minnesota Wood Education Project is to increase the awareness of the value of sustainable management of our forests and improve the economies of our Minnesota forests communities. The organization is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) tax exempt group.

Link to Full Media Release

For additional information visit

July 30, 2009 at 5:06 am Leave a comment

Northern Minnesota phenology report: June 2009

By John Latimer, KAXE radio, Grand Rapids

White-faced meadowhawk. Photo by Anita363

White-faced meadowhawk. Photo by Anita363

6/4/2007        I watch as a small unidentified dragonfly shelters behind some trees and shrubs, suddenly, an insect is swept from the cover and the dragonfly as quick as a shortstop on a line drive shifts and grabs.  This was a day for dragonflies. I was on the shores of Deer Lake in central Itasca County and spent part of the day wandering through a black spruce swamp. The dragonflies were omnipresent. I saw the white-faced meadowhawk, the four spotted skimmer, several black saddlebags and the unidentified specimen referred to above. Dragonflies are becoming as popular as the birds when it comes to observing them. They are easy to find, colorful, and field guides are becoming readily available.

6/16/2001       There are two great crested flycatchers in the garden with a phoebe and an oriole. This is the first time I have seen so many flycatchers in one place. Toss in the oriole and you have a pretty good day in the garden, unless you are a flying insect. The great crested flycatchers are more common than you might suspect. Listen for their loud “Wheeep! ” call. Once you learn that sound you’ll find it easy to spot one. They are not shy, and like many of the flycatchers they often sit on an exposed perch and sally out to hawk insects. The great crested flycatchers are gorgeous,  pale yellow on the belly, gray below the beak, with an olive green back and cinnamon red tail. It is well worth the trouble to learn their call and search them out.

Spreading dogbane. Flickr photo by edgeplot

Spreading dogbane. Flickr photo by edgeplot

6/24/1997       Spreading dogbane has begun to flower. The beautiful white bell shaped blossoms are streaked with pink. These are a favorite plant for many of the summer butterflies. On one spectacular day I found ten species of butterflies and one moth. Off the high ground down in the swamp the pitcher plants are blooming. They augment their energy requirements by capturing insects. Many of the plants in the nutrient poor swamps have made one or more adaptations to survive.

A warm sunny day can be a perfect time to observe butterfly behavior. The males of many species are quite territorial. The sulfur butterflies are a good species to watch defend their area. A male will spend a good deal of energy and time flying after other males that attempt to infringe upon his space. These skirmishes usually involve a spiraling flight that begins low near the ground and can climb to fifty feet or more.

Puddling is another behavior that can be seen without great effort. Sometimes just driving around after a rain storm will afford a chance to watch as males gather and share a drink at the edge of a puddle. Or if you have ever seen butterflies congregate on feces and wondered just what was going on, both of these activities are related. Typically these are male butterflies and they are attracted to these spots in search of trace minerals.

One of the current hypotheses about this behavior is that the males, by concentrating these trace minerals; make themselves more desirable to the females. The females need these minerals as well and can get them from the male during copulation. This transfer, think of it as a dowry, allows the female to spend more time and energy developing the eggs that will be the next generation of the species.

One hot July day I spent an afternoon moving a pile of bricks that had been salvaged from some demolished building. I was re-acquainted with a world I had left behind as a child. There was an entire ecosystem living in there. Ants, salamanders, spiders, millipedes, beetles of unknown names, were all living in the crevices surrounding the bricks. It was a menagerie of the miniscule.

Some of these insects are remarkably well defended. Ants carry chemicals which alert one another to the presence of danger. The millipedes secrete hydrogen cyanide through pores located near the legs. This poison is strong enough to deter almost all of the predators they are likely to encounter. Among the beetles are the bombardiers whose scalding hot spray can be selectively shot in any direction. And the spiders, those wolves of the insect world, stand ready to attack anything that crawls or flies into their range. They use chemicals to subdue and liquefy their chosen prey. For all of the innocence of its appearance it is a dangerous world down there among the rocks, bricks, and leaves.

Bluebead lily. Flickr photo by manual crank.

Bluebead lily. Flickr photo by manual crank.

If you are one of those people who like to tramp the woods all year around then in July keep a look out for the blue bead lily or yellow clintonia. This lily is quite common across the eastern half of the United States and can be found as far south as Alabama. The bright blue berries are a most tempting sight but close observation will reveal few if any attempts at eating them. That is because they contain calcium oxalate crystals. Sharp microscopic needles, these crystals imbed themselves in the flesh of the mouth and throat and cause pain and swelling. Look for a cluster of two to five or six berries at the top of a single stalk above a pair of lily-like leaves. And then avoid the temptation to taste them.

As July comes to a close there will be several tasty fruits ripe and ready to tempt you. The blueberries will be ready, though much depends on the weather leading up to the end of July. A frost at the wrong time or the wrong amount of moisture can wipe out a crop. Pin cherries ripen in July. Some find these a bit tart, but if you can wait and the birds don’t eat them all, they become quite sweet. And if you are a wine maker you should be watching the chokecherries. They are a bit too astringent for my palate, but they make a wonderful wine.

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. We hope his work will be a frequent feature on MyMinnesotaWoods.  This article also appeared in the Duluth Senior Reporter.  It is printed with the author’s permission.

June 8, 2009 at 9:08 pm Leave a 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

Organizations assisting Minnesota woodland owners

Information about organizations serving Minnesota woodland owners: Minnesota DNR Division of Forestry, Minnesota Forestry Association, Minnesota Association of Consulting Foresters, Minnesota Logger Education Program, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Minnesota Forest Industries.

Continue Reading April 29, 2007 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

Finding help: Minnesota woodland professionals

About the many different kinds of Minnesota forestry and natural resource professionals, including public and private sector foresters and loggers. This page will help you choose the right source of professional assistance for your woodland project.

Continue Reading April 29, 2007 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

Minnesota woodland stewardship plans

About Woodland Stewardship Plans in Minnesota. Many cost-share programs require written forest management plans, and woodland stewardship plans are one very common option.

Continue Reading April 29, 2007 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

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