Posts tagged ‘wisconsin’

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

WI COVERTS project signup deadline: June 15, 2009

Applications Due by June 15th

Building on its success, the Wisconsin Coverts Project will be expanding to two workshops in 2009. Both workshops will be held at the beautiful Kemp Natural Resources Station near Woodruff, WI. The first one will be from August 13 – 16 with a second one planned for August 27 – 30. These 3-day sessions have had rave reviews from past attendees that have become Covert Cooperators through past workshops. Now starting its 16th year, 374 cooperators have attended these workshops. Sharing with others what they have learned these Coverts Cooperators have influenced the management of over 434,000 acres of land in Wisconsin. This workshop is highly recommended for those landowners interested in better understanding their role as stewards of their property.

For additional information on the workshop contact Jamie Nack at 608-265-8264 or by email. Attendance is limited. More information is available on the Coverts Project website.

[Looking for workshops in Minnesota?  Check the Woodland Advisor class calendar. -ed.]

June 10, 2009 at 12:11 pm 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

EAB discovered in Wisconsin, a mile from Minnesota

The following information was sent out by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) on April 7.  We’re developing information to help Minnesota woodland owners plan for the expected widespread ash mortality. Meantime, see the many links below and post your thoughts here or on the discussion board.

Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been discovered in Victory, Wisconsin. Victory is approximately 1 mile south of the Minnesota border along the Mississippi River.

This discovery was made only last week and confirmation was made on Monday, April 6. The Wisconsin Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources have released the news of this find today, April 7. Although Wisconsin has not had much opportunity to evaluate the scale of this infestation, their initial assessment was that this was a significant infestation.

Due to the proximity of this infestation to Minnesota and Iowa, it is possible that the infestation extends into one or both states. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, along with our partners at the Department of Natural Resources, USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine and USDA Forest Service are already investigating the southeastern portion of Houston County to determine if the infestation extends into Minnesota. We expect these initial surveys to last up to four weeks. If emerald ash borer is found in Minnesota, we will activate our EAB Response Plan (PDF).

Whether or not this initial round of survey discovers EAB in Minnesota, we will be intensifying survey and outreach efforts in southeastern Minnesota during 2009.

The complete press release that is being issued in Minnesota is here. Some key points to remember about the situation are:

  1. EAB has not yet been found in Minnesota, but state and federal authorities are investigating the area.
  2. No quarantines have been established in Minnesota. A federal quarantine will be imposed in Wisconsin on the infested area.
  3. At this time we are asking the public to voluntarily not move ash wood out of Houston County. A quarantine could be placed on Houston County by Minnesota Department of Agriculture in the coming weeks.
  4. For Minnesota beyond Houston County the situation has not changed. People should be vigilant as to the condition of their trees and report suspected infestations to MDA. Movement of untreated firewood over long distances should be avoided in any part of the state.

If you have questions, please direct them to MDA’s Arrest the Pest hotline.

“Arrest the Pest” Hotline:  651-201-6684 – Metro Area or 1-888-545-6684 – Greater Minnesota. Or email

Watch MDA’s new 6-minute video on EAB:

More about Emerald Ash Borer:

April 7, 2009 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Carbon credits and managed family forests: How it works

By John DuPlissis, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.

As markets for Carbon Credits have emerged most of the focus for woodland owners has been on afforestation projects, the conversion of unforested or degraded lands to forests by planting trees.  I have discussed this type of project in past articles and by now I am sure that many of you are familiar with the process to enroll plantations under this option and the potential financial returns from these types of projects.

The other option available to woodland owners to participate in the Carbon Credits market is the Managed Forest Projects option.  The Managed Forest option recognizes that woodland owners engaged in sustainable forest management are increasing the amount of carbon sequestered through active forest management practices including silvicultural treatments, thinning, and harvesting.  However, there has been a great deal of debate over these types of projects and the rules governing how this option would be implemented were not clear.  As aggregators have looked at how to measure, monitor, and verify the carbon sequestered by Managed Forest projects there were always more questions than answers.  However, over the past year the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) has developed new rules and guidelines that have established a process for enrollment and verification of Managed Forest Projects.

How can you participate?

The process to enroll lands under the managed forest option isn’t really all that different from the afforestation option.  CCX requires that all Managed Forest projects show a net gain in sequestered carbon over the contract period.  Which means that the total amount of CO2 (timber) removed during a harvest cannot exceed what you have sequestered over the contract period.  Also, you must provide evidence that your woodland is sustainably managed.

CCX requires that land enrolled in the Managed Forest option also be enrolled in a forest certification scheme.  Woodland owners enrolled in Wisconsin’s Managed Forest Law Program or the American Tree Farm System meet this requirement.  Depending on which aggregator you choose to work with, you are going to need to file the appropriate paperwork, provide proof of ownership, sign a letter of intent to maintain forest carbon stocks beyond 2010, and identify if your management plan requires you to perform a harvest during the contract period.

However, this is where the similarities end.  Afforestation projects use carbon accumulation tables or direct measurement process to estimate annual carbon sequestration per acre.  Determining the amount of carbon sequestered under the Managed Forest option is more complex.

Just how complex is it?

Eli Sagor photo

To enroll lands under the Managed Forest Project option you will need to contract with a consulting forester to perform a baseline inventory of your woodlands.  This inventory is different from the reconnaissance that is performed as part of the process of writing a management plan for your property.  That inventory is designed to identify and describe all of the resources on your property.  The baseline inventory completed as a part of the enrollment process for a Managed Forest Project is designed to quantify the carbon stocks on your land in sufficient depth and detail to allow for statistically accurate modeling of current stocks and future growth.

How are your credits determined?

The Managed Forest Project option calculates carbon credits based on net average annual carbon sequestered.  As the term net implies, you are given credit for carbon sequestered but must subtract any removals due to management activities (thinning or harvest).  The first step in the process is to estimate the amount of carbon that will be sequestered during the contract period.  A computer simulation, using the information gathered in your baseline inventory, estimates the amount of carbon sequestered during the contract period.

Depending on whether you will have a harvest during the contract period a computer simulation will also be run to determine the amount of carbon removed from your woods.  If you do have a harvest then you may be eligible to receive a long-lived wood products credit.  This credit acknowledges that “wood products have appreciable carbon mitigation benefits by displacing fossil-fuel intensive construction materials and that durable wood products, such as houses and furniture, have the potential to retain carbon for centuries.”  Once this total is estimated for your woodlands it is divided by the number of years in your contract and your annual payment is based on the net average annual carbon sequestered.

A word about the long-lived wood products credit…

The CCX protocols for long-lived wood products require that you show that you have retained the rights to claim this credit as part of the timber sale contract.  You will also want to make sure that the aggregator you are working with has the necessary reporting and monitoring process in place so you can take advantage of this credit.

It is important to understand that, although your contract and initial payments are based on the estimated net annual average carbon sequestered, you will be required to have an inventory completed after any harvest and again at the end of the contract period to determine the actual volume of carbon sequestered during the contract period.  Your final payment will be adjusted to reflect any over or under-payment made due to the difference between the actual carbon sequestered and the original estimate of carbon sequestered during the contract period.

How are your annual payments determined?

Your annual payments are based on the net average annual carbon sequestered by the annual average price for a metric ton of carbon for that year.  You do not lock into a price based on what carbon was trading for on the day you signed your contract.  Daily price quotes in 2008 ranged from $1.20 to $7.40 for a metric ton of sequestered CO2 from a forestry offset project.  However, the average price for a forest offset contract in 2008 was $4.26.

What is your potential income?

The potential income from enrolling your woodlands in Managed Forest option is reduced by the cost of the inventories you will be required to perform during the life of the contract.  The cost of the baseline, post-harvest, and end of contract inventory are the responsibility of the landowner.  As you think about whether or not to enroll your lands you will need to consider the cost of these inventories against the income you will receive when evaluating if this is right for you.

The next article in this series will provide a breakdown of the costs to enroll in the Managed Forest Project option and the income that you can expect to receive over the life of your contract.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Spring 2009 issue of Woodland Leaders News, published by the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.  We will also reprint the next article in the series,  on costs and expected financial returns based on analysis of two Wisconsin properties. Readers of this article may also be interested in this field tour summary: Silviculture and Carbon in the Cloquet Woods.

April 7, 2009 at 11:06 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

The four basic needs of Minnesota woodland wildlife

All wildlife have four basic needs: Food, water, cover (shelter), and space. As a woodland owner, planning your woodland stewardship activities with an eye to these general requirements, and to the species you’re most interested in, can make a big difference. Woodland management directly impacts wildlife habitat, and your decisions will have an impact on how much, and what kinds of, wildlife you see on your land.

Continue Reading April 30, 2007 at 4:38 am Leave a comment

Minnesota woodlands and wildlife: strategies and species

Remember the four basic needs of wildlife: food, water, cover, and space. Think about your landscape, including your neighbors’ properties and beyond. What is missing that your target species need? Let these needs guide your planning. Some strategies to improve woodland wildlife habitat. Links & info for individual wildlife species.

Continue Reading April 30, 2007 at 4:26 am Leave a comment

About this blog

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

In the news...